SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Courtney Abud

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, ColdFusion, Machine Learning , Release Management

Adobe Flex: Article

Three RIA Platforms Compared: Adobe Flex, Google Web Toolkit, and OpenLaszlo

Strengths and weaknesses evaluated in three Report Cards

Kevin Whinnery's 2.0 A Go-Go Blog

The defining characteristic of any RIA is that it has a stateful client that is (or should be) platform and browser independent. With the advent of new RIA platforms like Flex, GWT, and OpenLaszlo, developers now have all the reach of a traditional thin-client web application with many of the useful characteristics of thick-client applications, such as the ability to maintain state on the client. Is there a clear winner of the three, one toolkit that developers should focus on at the expense of the others? I don’t really think so. They each have their strengths and weaknesses.

Here  I thought I would dedicate a little web space to throwing in my two cents about what I think those strengths and weaknesses are. Is there a clear winner of the three, one toolkit that developers should focus on at the expense of the others? I don’t really think so. Much of that decision is based on the requirements for your project. But Flex, GWT, and LZX are certainly not created equal for all tasks, and I hope to give you a sense of what tool is going to be the best choice for your project.

In grade school teacher style, I have scored these three frameworks based on my own appraisal of their utility in the area specified:

Flex Report Card:

  • Language Syntax: B
  • Development Process: C+ (B+ with purchase of the 400 dollar Flex Builder Eclipse plugin)
  • Widgets/Features/Power of Toolkit: A
  • Ease of Deployment: B
  • Server-Side Data Integration: B+
  • Client-Side Performance: A-
  • Platform Flexibility: B-

    Notes:

    Adobe Flex, in my opinion, is the most powerful of the three frameworks in terms of what you can accomplish visually with the least amount of work. Native drag and drop support for many widgets, CSS-type styling for components, and fine-tuned control over component behaviors give the developer the most tools to do wild and crazy stuff with their user interface.

    The language syntax is based on XML and ActionScript, which coupled together provide an expressive means of composing a UI. MXML tags work well to nest components and easily create layouts that are human readable. In terms of client-side performance, Adobe Flex 2 stacks up pretty well, as version 9 of the Flash Player (required for Flex 2) offers some serious performance upgrades over previous versions. Flex is agnostic in where it retrieves server-side data and provides solid functionality for SOAP web services, REST web services, and Java/ColdFusion remote object functionality (though I’ve never personally used the remote object stuff).

    In the negative column, Flex is (ironically) the least flexible of the frameworks in terms of platform, as it can only run in version 9 of the Flash Player (and it can be compiled for Adobe AIR, but that is a topic outside of this conversation). The good news is that according to Adobe, over 90% of the web community in most developed markets already have Flash Player 9 installed, and that number increases all the time. And unless you purchase the spendy Flex Builder Eclipse plugin, the Flex development cycle can be a chore, as Flex files must be compiled via a script. Also, the command line debugger is not very user friendly when compared to most modern IDE debuggers.

    See next page for GWT Report Card and OpenLaszlo Report Card...

More Stories By Kevin Whinnery

Kevin Whinnery is a core contributor and Technical Evangelist for Appcelerator, an open source Rich Internet Application framework. Prior to joining Appcelerator, Kevin has been a web developer on both the client and server side for ERP vendor Lawson Software and technical consultancy Perficient, Inc. Kevin is also the author of the upcoming book "Appcelerator In Action" from Manning Publications.

Comments (2)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
Take advantage of autoscaling, and high availability for Kubernetes with no worry about infrastructure. Be the Rockstar and avoid all the hurdles of deploying Kubernetes. So Why not take Heat and automate the setup of your Kubernetes cluster? Why not give project owners a Heat Stack to deploy Kubernetes whenever they want to? Hoping to share how anyone can use Heat to deploy Kubernetes on OpenStack and customize to their liking. This is a tried and true method that I've used on my OpenSta...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, will discuss how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galer...
10ZiG Technology is a leading provider of endpoints for a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure environment. Our fast and reliable hardware is VMware, Citrix and Microsoft ready and designed to handle all ranges of usage - from task-based to sophisticated CAD/CAM users. 10ZiG prides itself in being one of the only companies whose sole focus is in Thin Clients and Zero Clients for VDI. This focus allows us to provide a truly unique level of personal service and customization that is a rare find in th...
Emil Sayegh is an early pioneer of cloud computing and is recognized as one of the industry's true veterans. A cloud visionary, he is credited with launching and leading the cloud computing and hosting businesses for HP, Rackspace, and Codero. Emil built the Rackspace cloud business while serving as the company's GM of the Cloud Computing Division. Earlier at Rackspace he served as VP of the Product Group and launched the company's private cloud and hosted exchange services. He later moved o...
92% of enterprises are using the public cloud today. As a result, simply being in the cloud is no longer enough to remain competitive. The benefit of reduced costs has normalized while the market forces are demanding more innovation at faster release cycles. Enter Cloud Native! Cloud Native enables a microservices driven architecture. The shift from monolithic to microservices yields a lot of benefits - but if not done right - can quickly outweigh the benefits. The effort required in monitoring,...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Signs of a shift in the usage of public clouds are everywhere. Previously, as organizations outgrew old IT methods, the natural answer was to try the public cloud approach; however, the public platform alone is not a complete solution. Complaints include unpredictable/escalating costs and mounting security concerns in the public cloud. Ultimately, public cloud adoption can ultimately mean a shift of IT pains instead of a resolution. That's why the move to hybrid, custom, and multi-cloud will ...
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get tailored market studies; and more.
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
The KCSP program is a pre-qualified tier of vetted service providers that offer Kubernetes support, consulting, professional services and training for organizations embarking on their Kubernetes journey. The KCSP program ensures that enterprises get the support they're looking for to roll out new applications more quickly and more efficiently than before, while feeling secure that there's a trusted and vetted partner that's available to support their production and operational needs.
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It's clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Th...
xMatters helps enterprises prevent, manage and resolve IT incidents. xMatters industry-leading Service Availability platform prevents IT issues from becoming big business problems. Large enterprises, small workgroups, and innovative DevOps teams rely on its proactive issue resolution service to maintain operational visibility and control in today's highly-fragmented IT environment. xMatters provides toolchain integrations to hundreds of IT management, security and DevOps tools. xMatters is the ...