Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Automic Blog, Michael Kopp, AppDynamics Blog, Kaazing Blog, Steven Mandel

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.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
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...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
Tapping into blockchain revolution early enough translates into a substantial business competitiveness advantage. Codete comprehensively develops custom, blockchain-based business solutions, founded on the most advanced cryptographic innovations, and striking a balance point between complexity of the technologies used in quickly-changing stack building, business impact, and cost-effectiveness. Codete researches and provides business consultancy in the field of single most thrilling innovative te...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...