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Flex Early Evaluation: Assessing Flex and Your Project Needs by Anthony Franco

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Understanding Flex 2.0 Capabilities

Background

Flash

User interface designers and developers have been severely limited in their choice of tools for online applications since the Web’s inception. While backend developers could leverage the power of robust OO languages like Java and .NET, interface developers have struggled through the evolution of table-based designs in HTML to integration with JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets into meaningful applications. A lack of consistent support between browsers and the absence of powerful languages with which to design interfaces has hindered development.

To address these issues, Macromedia leveraged their animation tool, Flash, as an Internet-deployable way to make interactive movies. As Flash developed, developers were granted more and more freedom to create applications similar to those available on the desktop. Additionally, as the Flash player spread to every browser and device available, developers no longer needed to spend the arduous hours traditionally required to address incompatibility issues in HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

Flash, however, has always been geared more toward graphic designers than application coders, who are often initially confused by concepts like the timeline or the Flash development environment. To address these issues, Macromedia invented a new way to develop Flash applications using programming languages and metaphors developers were used to: Flex.

Flex 1.0

In early 2004, Macromedia (now Adobe) released Flex 1.0 ...

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