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Old 07-22-2006, 12:26 PM   #1
Selfminded
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Question What is Flex?

I'm currently looking at building some applications with Flex; however, I understand that its costly to do so. And from reading the Adobe docs on it I can't quite seem to grasp what Flex is.

From what I've read I take away that its component driven applications. Basically Flex components are supposed to be far better than Flash components overall. And I've seen the Sherman Williams store example. But I can't help thinking I could do this with Flash.

Please give me some examples of how you build a Flex application, how do you begin, where do you design it, where do you develop it, what database technologies can be used with it, just everything about it really. Anything that's different from what I'm doing now ...

Right now I develop my Flash applications with MySQL/PHP/XML and talk to Flash via the LoadVars() class using the SendAndLoad() method. What could I be doing better or different here to be more successful using Flex? Thanks.

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Old 07-23-2006, 04:31 PM   #2
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Use Flex for all RIA development. Period.

It is a vastly improved language and IDE for RIA development. I would recommend heading over to Adobe.com and checking out their wealth of Flex articles.

And you'll be thrilled to know this... Flex no longer costs a dime to develop in. You could easily just code in a text file and then use the FREE compiler provided by Adobe to create simple SWF files.

I know, it's fabulous isn't it?

Anyway, the only cost facing you is if you wanted to use Flex Builder for your development, which I highly recommend. And it's not ridiculous either. But go ahead and download a 30 day trial of it from Adobe and start.

I promise once you have a taste of Flex 2.0 and AS 3.0, you'll never want to develop an RIA in anything else again.
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Old 07-23-2006, 09:22 PM   #3
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How much freedom do you have developing with Flex? In Flash the sky is the limit you can do anything any number of ways. Is Flex basically Flash with better components. I'm still not grasping this here. Thanks.

I'm going to take a look at downloading the compiler from Adobe.

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Old 07-23-2006, 11:04 PM   #4
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Okay, I've downloaded it and created the tutorial app. Seeing the helicopter game on adobe.com helped but I'm not sure I would use flex specifically for that game, wouldn't you just use Flash?

I STILL have no clear definition of what Flex is. I have a lot of questions too like why wouldn't Macromedia/Adobe just make Flash components better and not make Flex? Where is the line between Flash and Flex and Flash Remoting? This is all so confusing to me. This is probably why it has not adpoted quicker? What's an example of an app you would build in Flex versus doing it in Flash?

If I can do the same thing in Flex as I can with just Flash/XML/PHP/MySQL then why ever deviate?

I'm really looking for someone to clear the confusion here, thanks.

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Old 03-11-2007, 10:18 PM   #5
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Although it is easy to devlop applications in Flash IDE, Many flash developers used techonolgies like haXe and laszlo to devlop applications in flash. Flex was Macromedia's (now Adobe's) way of competing with programs like haXe and laszlo. The Flash IDE can devlop applications but it still follows a traditional animaters model, Flex uses a traditonal progammers model. Basically, Flex 2 is a bunch of AS3 classes and componets simplified into idiot-proof xml tags.

You metioned you working with php and mysql. I find it is much easier to work with mysql and php in flex because of the <mx:HTTPService> and <mx:WebService> tags.

I use flex for creating websites that act like html but have cool flash effects.
I also use flex if i am working with data. <mxataGrid> is quite useful.
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Old 03-11-2007, 10:48 PM   #6
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Flex is basicly a massive suite of components written in as3 that you can use to make life easier when developing data driven applications. It also uses mxml which is basicly an easy way to layout the controls. the mxml is then compiled into swf the same way actionscript is.

If you are creating a website then Flex is probably not for you, but if you are creating a web application that will be sending and reciving data then Flex is there to help you out.

I tend to steer clear of Flex but thats just me, I like to do everything myself.

Using someone elses components can sometimes feel like things in your application are out of your control, but with flex this is not the case, all the controls are skinable through css and all the Flex source code is included in the Flex SDK so if you need to see how things work under the hood you can.

To sum up, use flex for anything that is going to be data driven, and use flash for everything else. I personaly would never use flex to develop a game or a website, but if the site was to be content managed I may make an administration area for it in flex.

I hope that help you understand what Flex is enjoy.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selfminded View Post
I'm currently looking at building some applications with Flex; however, I understand that its costly to do so.
The Flex 2 SDK is free. You can use the components and build great applications without paying a cent for the compiler and libraries. Flex Builder is around $500 for the IDE or about $750 if you also want the charting components. Flex Data Services is very expensive, but you may not need it. You can use PHP or any other technology you already know on the server side. Flex can handle plain XML just fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Selfminded View Post
How much freedom do you have developing with Flex? In Flash the sky is the limit you can do anything any number of ways.
Flex runs on the Flash Player, so you have the same freedom. You may have a little extra work to combine some Flash content with Flex components, or it may be super easy. It really depends on what you're looking to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Selfminded View Post
why wouldn't Macromedia/Adobe just make Flash components better and not make Flex?
They are making the Flash components better in Flash CS3. Flex serves different needs, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Selfminded View Post
What's an example of an app you would build in Flex versus doing it in Flash?
A Flash developer working for an advertising firm probably wants to make super light SWF files that are under 100KB for his or her product site. This developer won't need all the advanced functionality that Flex provides. In fact, many of these types of developers will write their own components that are super-optimized for their own personal needs.

On the other hand, a Flex developer looking to build an application for the HR department of a corporation will probably be okay with a larger SWF file because he wants a set of components that have a ton of great functionality built in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Selfminded View Post
This is probably why it has not adpoted quicker?
Actually, Flex is being adopted very quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Selfminded View Post
If I can do the same thing in Flex as I can with just Flash/XML/PHP/MySQL then why ever deviate?
If you don't think Flex is right for you, then you don't need to use it. Flex was designed with software engineers in mind. It doesn't use things like the timeline that Flash Authoring provides. Traditional developers don't like that sort of thing. They just want to write classes and compile them without the fancy stuff. Flex let's them write code and build applications the way they prefer.
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:34 PM   #8
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Thumbs up Great post this Lets explore a biit more.

I thought the use of the tags in flex makes things harder ? It was another thing to grasp for me..so I left it alone. But I obviously missed the point of it making things easier.

I'd like to know a bit more like haxe too, and why I might start to use that ? So I can create a swf without any .as files at all ! and I guess it has its own framework.

Back to the flex for the moment, does it have like components which are more powerful liike the following things which are difficult to build using flash

log in registration forgotten password forms etc, that whole little bundle of joy.

blogs , uploading images component, image gallerys etc, the things we seem to need for each and every website..

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Old 04-15-2008, 12:02 AM   #9
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Default Compiles AS3?

I am trying to get going on this now. It is my understanding that it compiles AS3 so you really don't 'need' to use flex commands right? But for someone like me who feels more comfortable programming as opposed to timeline, this is the best solution?

I found this link which is helping me get started, but I am still fumbling around right now.

http://www.wikihow.com/Set-up-a-Frie...obe-Flex-2-SDK
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:21 AM   #10
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Also I can not get a path set up correctly in XP for some reason. I've clicked on "My Computer", selected Advanced, clicked on Environment Variables and edited the system variable path to add the path to the compiler. But I continue to get an error message that it can't be found. I can only run it from the directory where it is located. Any ideas anyone?


Er, skip that, if I wasn't so dyslexic, it wouldn't be a problem.

Last edited by tiki33; 04-15-2008 at 12:36 AM.
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