Flash Flexed

I wasn’t totally clueless as to the basis of Flex, but what I didn’t know is that it had been opensourced by Adobe. Needless to say, that discovery prompted a discussion at work and we decided to move my current project from Flash to Flex. While this wasn’t a completely trivial task, it was quite simple and, two days later, it was done. More importantly, it was done in a basic text editor and that was the kicker. We have a Flash license, but that’s just it: a license. This makes it painful to assign work to different people on this project, so the beauty of Flex is that we don’t need a Flash development environment, the entire project is basically ActionScript and any old text editor will do (I personally use UltraEdit).

Net effect, I’m quite happy with the outcome, though the resulting SWF files are larger, even if you use the runtime shared libraries. However, my general opinion is that dialup users are already feeling the pains of long load times just about everywhere now, so a few extra kilobytes is really meaningless in that realm. After all, if you’re on dialup and you live someplace that has broadband, get a grip. So, yeah, expect a larger SWF and expect, if this is their first hit to a Flex application, an additional 500K hit as well. The dialup folks can go make dinner.

Along the lines of Flex, though, I have to say I’m much happier with it than with AS3 in Flash. The Flash stuff still had the baggage of the “movie” concept dragging around in it, but Flex discards that entirely. Oh yeah, you can still use it, but it’s not really the basis of Flex. I can see why my general readings on the subject show that longtime Flash folks are struggling and why software developers are saying it’s about time. Yep, it’s about time.

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