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What’s up with Flex 3

Posted by Charles | October 4, 2007 .

Adobe flex 3 (code name Moxie…hehehe) expected come out in early 2008. There is a interview conducted by InfoQ to Adobe’s James Ward, Technical Evangelist. The interview is about Flex 3. A very interesting topic in this interview is on the differences between Flex and Siliverlight. It’s a very good reading. Here are some of it.

“Some of the most noteworthy changes include:

  • A new memory and performance profiler in Flex Builder
  • Support for creating applications which utilize the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)
  • ActionScript class name refactoring
  • Significantly improved first-run application startup time when using the Persistent Framework Cache
  • Numerous improvements to the Design View in Flex Builder

  • “One of the best new features for Flex 3 is the Persistent Framework Cache. With the Persistent Framework Cache if a visitor to your RIA has already visited someone else’s Flex application then they will likely already have the 495KB Flex Framework in their Flash Player Cache. This will dramatically reduce the size of the application which the user would now need to download. In many applications this will reduce the initial application download to below 100k. Another great feature of Flex Builder 3 is the memory and performance profiler. This allows you to see exactly where your applications maybe leaking memory or where there might be performance bottlenecks. Along with new components like the Advanced DataGrid and improvements to the Charting Components there have been numerous foundational improvements to Flex. These include improvements to accessibility, runtime localization, and built-in deep linking support (browser back, bookmarking, etc).”

    a full list of the planned features for Flex 3, see the Roadmaps:
    The Flex 3 SDK Roadmap
    The Flex Builder 3 Roadmap

    On Silverlight, “one central aspect to RIA where Flex is a few years ahead of Silverlight is with our component library. With Silverlight you pretty much have to build your entire UI from scratch. The Flex community and Adobe provide hundreds of skinable, stylable and extensible components like DataGrids, Accordions, TabNavigators, and Charts. Other aspects where we are a few years ahead include built-in support for accessibility, internationalization, deep-linking, unit testing, automated testing, data-binding, effects, drag-and-drop management, and a ton more things that you really need when you build RIAs. To see what components are included in Flex you can browse the Flex Component Reference documentation, check out the Flex 2 Component Explorer, or the Flex 2 Style Explorer. For a list of other community components see flexbox and the Flex Component Exchange. With Silverlight you can use the Expression Blend technology which generates XAML markup which you can use directly in your Silverlight project. With Flex the designers use tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash CS3 and export their assets as binary objects (bitmaps or swfs) and then the developer uses those assets as skins or components within Flex. One of the biggest differences between Flex and Silverlight is with adoption. 90% of the PCs on the internet already have the runtime for Flex applications installed. Flash Player is the most quickly adopted and most installed piece of software in the world. It’s hard to compare Silverlight’s lack of adoption with that kind of momentum. For those building RIAs now there is really no better option than Flex. It is backed by a free and soon to be open source SDK, great Eclipse based developer tools, and a giant community. Clearly there is a lot of momentum behind Flex.”

    One thing he didn’t mention, which I think it’s Adobe’s the most important asset, is the designers. Without these designers sticking around Flash/Flex, there won’t be a good place for Flash/Flex/AIR in the future, considering the mighty power of Microsoft.

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