Rey Bango

Web developer, honey badger

Adobe Flex Camp in Sunny Miami

My friend Brian Rinaldi of UniversalMind asked me to help him get the word out about the Adobe Flex Camp taking place in sunny Miami, FL. While I'm not a user of Flex, I do support my friends and hope that this event goes great for Brian and the team at UM.

From the site:

We have already lined up a list of some of the top speakers from the top companies in Flex and AIR development. We are still working on supplying more details for our agenda but you can see it is going to be a “can't miss” event for Flex and AIR developers from beginners to advanced.

The event will be held on March 6th, 2009 at the BankUnited Center on the campus of the University of Miami. Full details can be found on the event page.

Good luck Brian!!

Flex & Ajax in the Wild: Travel Site

Ajaxian picked up on new travel site which focuses on finding the best fares and schedules for international flights. It has a very cool interface and uses a combination of Ajax and Flex to provide a pretty slick interface. It looks like Flex is primarily used to display an interactive map to show the actual travel route and once you pull up fares, you can actually display multiple routes on the Flex map. Pretty cool!

There's still some quirks that need to be cleaned up such as saving the inputted travel info if you go to another page (oddly, the Flex map retains this when you move to another page).

Overall, its a nicely designed site which seems leverage the best of Ajax & Flex functionality.

My FLEX Journey Continues. Books on the Way

For all the doubters, I just wanted to say that the Flex books are in transit:

  • Programming Flex 2: The comprehensive guide to creating rich media applications with Adobe Flex

  • The Essential Guide to Flex 2 with ActionScript 3.0

Thus continues my trek on learning Flex! ;)

Diving into Flex; Ryan Stewart Still In Shock

Over the last year, I've had many conversations about Flex with the likes of Ryan Stewart and Rob Gonda. Now these are two guys that I REALLY respect and because of that, I've decided to take a serious look at Flex 2.
I don't have anything specific to build at the moment but I want to determine where I can fit it into future projects. The fact that ScrapBlog used it with much success really helped convince me that Flex is a great RIA platform.
I'm certainly not stopping my Ajax work as I think Ajax, JavaScript & DOM manipulation is still EXTREMELY important in building engaging web applications but I do want to explore additional options that will let me provide more of the client/server functionality that I used to build with PowerBuilder.
Wish me luck!

Adobe, Where are the ColdFusion Ads?

Earlier in November, I commented on Sean Corfield's Blog about how I felt the both MM & Adobe had, to date, failed miserably in promoting ColdFusion as the application server of choice for web development. Sean replied with:

“Rey, what would you like to see in terms of promotion? Give me some realistic, concrete examples of appropriate ColdFusion marketing…”

Definitely a good question to which I offered lengthy feedback. Part of my reply was about the complete lack of ColdFusion-related ads on sites that are *not* CF-specific. I mentioned the following:

“Why aren't there any CF ads on sites such Red Herring or SitePoint? Oh, wait I did notice the nice Macromedia Studio 8 ad that Adobe is running on SitePoint so I guess in a roundabout way, CF is in there. And I sure see quite a number of those nifty flash-based Flex ads floating around. I mean its great to know that I can go to Adobe's site and learn how to make “My Business Flow with Adobe Acrobat”. I guess I'll use that to build my intranet as well. :)”

Well, to further justify my comments about Flex getting more advertising monies than ColdFusion, I started collecting screen caps of ads that I see on various sites. Here are some screen captures that I found on a couple of prominent “Web 2.0″ type news sites:

(Same article just at different points in the ad transition)
TechCrunch Image 1 (11/28/06) (pic of guy with laptop)

TechCrunch Image 2 (11/28/06)

Read/Write Web:
(Same article just at different points in the ad transition)
R/W Web Image 1 (11/28/06) (red 125×125)

R/W Web Image 2 (11/28/06)

Tech Dirt:
(Two different articles)
TechDirt Image from Article 1 (11/21/06)

TechDirt Image from Article 2 (12/1/06)

Now let me clarify something. This is *NOT*, I repeat, this is *NOT* a dig at Flex in any way. Flex is an outstanding product.

This is to show some proof that what I said is actually true and that Flex is getting much more ad time than ColdFusion in ad spaces that are catering to general web development and/or IT content. I realize the Flex is a newer product in the Adobe line but I see plenty of ads for Flash, Photoshop and Acrobat. So thats not justification for completely neglecting any ColdFusion in terms of advertising & marketing.

So Adobe, how about showing some love to one of the best application servers out there? How about asking your marketing team to really give some thought on how to get more press for our beloved ColdFusion?

Flex vs. Ajax: Which is Better? Check this out

I knew this was coming down the pike and sure enough, I saw a posting today that outlines several other articles comparing Flex vs Ajax.

TechPoint – Flex Vs Ajax – Which one is better and why?

So which is better? Why?

I think Flex is an awesome development tool for controlled environments such as corporate applications where hardware and operating system requirements are specifically defined whereas Ajax is the sure winner for Internet-based RIAs.



Free Flex/AJAX Demo Application from Adobe

Adobe's Mike Potter has posted a VERY cool example of how to use Flex & Ajax together to build Google Finance-like site.

With all of the crap flying around about whether Flex is better than Ajax for RIA, its great to see Adobe take the lead and show a great example of integration between these two very important technologies.

Check it out here:

Mike Potter: AJAX & Flex Together.

Adobe Flex Price to Drop! Finally!

I was reading an article on about the declining costs of development tools when I came across this quote from Adobe's Jeff Whatcott:

“In another example, Adobe Systems on Wednesday is expected to revamp the pricing for its Flex Flash development tools.

The first version of its Flex tool set was about $15,000, but the price was throttling its adoption, said Jeff Whatcott, senior director of product marketing at Adobe's enterprise and developer business unit.

“The goal is to get to a million developers building rich Internet applications,” said Whatcott. “To do that, you need a good product line. But you also need a licensing model that supports viral, development-to-development marketing. That doesn't happen with a $15,000 product.”

Having had a chance to try it out in the early v1.5 days, I think Flex is absolutely awesome but I've always felt that MM priced themselves out of the market. This was definitely not a product for the typical small to medium size dotcom or brick-and-mortar business. This was a product specifically focused on the enterprise market and unless you consulted at that level, there was no need to even bother trying to sell this to your clients. Additionally, a plan for hosting providers was never clearly defined which essentially placed the nail in the coffin for the average web developer to use Flex.

Hopefully, Jeff can motivate Adobe to put it within a price range that makes selling solutions to smaller companies a true viable option. Otherwise, guys such as myself will stick to learning and using AJAX for RIA implementations.

Good work Jeff and I look forward to seeing the results!

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