I first heard of Adobe Flex from a friend through MSN chat. He told me it is one of many RIA technologies out there like Microsoft Silverlight, AJAX and JavaFX. Then it was during a team meeting my co workers started talking about Web 2.0, avatars and RIA. Since then, the words Adobe Flex have been stuck in my head so I have decided to take a look myself.
Adobe provides a getting started guide with Flex 3, the current version of Flex which you can take a look here. It covers from building a basic application to a more advanced application. And by the way, you need to get a copy of the SDK (software development kit) in order to compile the xml-based MXML source code into SWF file (basically Flex creates Flash content just like any other Flash contents you see on the net).
I won’t go too technical just like my other blogs as this is intended to be a overview. But I will write about the pros and cons.
- Easy to pick up, if you know HTML then you will find it even easier to pickup since Flex consists of tags similar to HTML.
- If you know java scripts, then you will also find Flex’s action scripts work similarly. But if you are no web designer, don’t panic as you can create a fairly attractive looking site using just Flex tags.
- Create attractive sites with minimal programming and/or web design knowledge (of course its good to have some and since you are interested in web design you should KNOW some).
- It is an open source framework so you can find many samples to use on your site.
- If you want to have even fancier and flashier effects for your site, the learning curve may get steeper. An example would be the Book Beta Demo, it supports transparency, page shadows and even page tearing! Honestly that demo opened my eyes, not just about Flex but RIA in general.
- Even though over 90% of desktops with internet connection today have installed Flash Player (to play SWF file). It might slow down or even freeze older PCs, something to keep in mind when designing a Flex website.
I love Flex so much I have decided to redesign my site using it as well, its not done yet but you should get the idea Project Mobius As usual any comments/feedbacks are welcome and I hope you enjoy this review!