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Flex versus Pilgrim

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Mark Pilgrim rants quite cogently about the evils of Flex, Apollo, and Silverlight.

I admit it. We’re using Flex at my day job. We need to build a whole huge pile of rich client interfaces to our existing production system. And you know what? Flex simply has the best designer tools of anything we’ve looked at. We’ve got some great designers who are able to build interfaces in Flex that have real navigation and real interaction behind them, without needing more than a few smatterings of Actionscript. Flex Builder is just a good tool for building interactive UIs. Then the developers take those designer prototypes and refactor them into the actual application.

Designer-developer roundtripping is what Adobe calls it, and it’s just not currently doable in the “web that works.”

Now, Joel Webber on the GWT team said at GDD07 (I would post a YouTube link, but no one has posted video of the GDD07 fireside chats yet, why the heck not?) that he really wants to build a declarative markup system for GWT. With such a system, and with a good UI construction tool (that could be built in GWT itself for all I know!), GWT and Javascript generally might catch up with Flex. But right now, for building rich clients really quickly and maximally leveraging skilled designers, I just don’t see how Flex doesn’t win.

None of that has anything to do with the things Pilgrim is ranting about, and yes, proprietary is bad. I think Pilgrim missed that Flex, which Apollo is based on, is open source now. Not sure how effective or real that is, but it is technically true. And, of course, my company is building intranet apps, with only limited customer exposure, which is pretty much the ideal case for Flex right now.

Anyway, there’s my stake in the ground: I’m not religious about open source, and I’m willing to use closed source tools when they’ve got compelling advantages. (But in my spare time, it’s open source all the way!)

Also, so Pilgrim can laugh at me: how in the world do you subscribe to his RSS / Atom feed? I CAN’T FIND IT ON HIS SITE. Which means I must clearly be very dumb in some really basic way.


Written by robjellinghaus

2007/06/08 at 07:05

Posted in Flex, GWT

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