Enterprise Flex and Java RIA with Clear Toolkit Framework

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When a couple of months back I told a fellow Flex developer that I’ll be speaking at CFUnited, conference he shrugged, “Why ColdFusion?” Little did he know that CFUnited is branded as a ColdFusion, Flex and AIR conference. And this was true – there were lots of quality presentations on Flex and AIR here. The venue selection was superb – a golf resort in Virginia with three swimming pools and helpful staff. ColdFusion conference was a new crowd for me, really. People are friendly, and you get a feeling of a small community where people know each other. Finally, I found a technical event with lots of female software developers. For some reason, ColdFusion developers try to maintain the status of endangered species. Did they learn it from PowerBuilder or Cobol folks? Why would an easy to use server side tool extinct? If you think I’m making things up, how do you like th... (more)

Open Source Alternatives to LiveCycle Data Services

Clear Tookit on Ulitzer Development of enterprise Flex/Java rich Internet applications benefits from using automated data integration solutions and productivity tools. Currently Adobe offers LiveCycle Data Services ES2 (LCDS) and open source BlazeDS 3. While LCDS is certainly a great piece of software for those who are looking to support thousands of concurrent users via the most efficient communication protocols, its high licensing cost makes LCDS unaffordable for the vast majority of the enterprise applications let alone small businesses and startups. If you are looking for an alternative solution for integrating Flex and Java EE layers, consider using GraniteDS, WebOrb, and Clear Toolkit. The first two products offer their own implementation of the AMF protocol, and Clear Toolkit uses the AMF libraries that come with BlazeDS . If you are looking for an open sour... (more)

Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex 2 and Java

A typical Java developer knows that when you need to develop a GUI for a Java application, Swing is the tool. Eclipse SWT also has a number of followers, but the majority of people use Java Swing. For the past 10 years, it was a given that Swing development wouldn't be easy; you have to master working with the event-dispatch thread, GridBaglayout, and the like. Recently, the NetBeans team created a nice GUI designer called Matisse, which was also ported to MyEclipse. Prior to Matisse, JBuilder had the best Swing designer, but it was too expensive. Now a good designer comes with NetBeans for free. Why even consider Flex for developing Rich Internet Applications (RIA)? First, we'll give the short answer. Just look at the code in Listing 1. This code compiles and runs in the Flash player and produces the output shown in Figure 1. Yes, it's a tree control with several no... (more)

Hey, Wall Street, Flex Your Muscles!

On August 14, I attended the seminar RealWorld Flex in New York City. I was really impressed by the endless number of presentations showing the use of Adobe Flex 2 technology in the real world applications. Real-time processing, vector graphics, collaboration, messaging, multimedia, shopping carts, geo maps, customer support, and more. This was a really interesting event about the technology that will become a hit of 2007. Each of the presenters was emphasizing that it does not take a rocket scientist to create these applications. This reminded me of the process of adoption of Java at the end of the nineties based on a similar premise that an average Java programmer could do things that only gurus could have done in C++. And now a similar story: an average Flex 2 developer will be able to do more that a Java Swing guru. I was co-presenting with Victor Rasputnis on u... (more)

Comparing the syntax of Java 5 and ActionScript 3

From Farata Systems flexblog Below is a short comparison table of major elements/concepts of these two languages for a quick reference. You can read this table either left-to-right or right-to-left, depending on what’s your primary programming language is today. This list is not complete, and your input is appreciated. Concept/Language Construct Java 5.0 ActionScript 3.0 Class library packaging .jar .swc Inheritance class Employee extends Person{…} class Employee extends Person{…}   Variable declaration and initialization String firstName=”John”; Date shipDate=new Date(); int i; int a, b=10; double salary; var firstName:String=”John”; var shipDate:Date=new Date(); var i:int; var a:int, b:int=10; var salary:Number; Undeclared variables n/a It’s an equivalent to the wild card type notation *. If you declare a... (more)

Creating PDF Documents from Flex Applications

There are three ways of creating PDF documents from Adobe Flex applications: (1) by using the forms/LiveCycle designer - this process is well documented and requires someone to create XDP form (an Acrobat XML Data Package file), the data model and establish a process of synchronizing Flex application with LiveCycle, (2) by treating PDF printing as one of the features of your Flex application, seamlessly providing printing functionality (with or without LiveCycle Designer), and (3) by using Snapshots available in LCDS, which uses bitmaps to represent Flash content While the first process provides guaranteed quality and predictable results, it also requires a double effort of developing XDP and Flex forms and introduces the model and communications that can be foreign to the application domain. The third type of printing is good for screen-only PDFs due to low DPI used ... (more)

A Complete Application with RPC Communications...

This is a book excerpt from the book RIch Internet applications with Adobe Flex and Java. Configuring the Server-Side Destination and Proxy For security reasons (similar to the Java sandbox concept), Flash clients can only access the domains they come from, unless other servers declare, explicitly or implicitly, trust to SWF files downloaded from our domain by a corresponding record in a crossdomain.xml file. But our portfolio SWF wasn't loaded from finance.yahoo.com, and we aren't allowed to install crossdomain.xml on the Yahoo! servers. We'll use another technique called Flex proxy. When the user clicks on the News link in the data grid, the portfolio client will connect to our FDS Web application deployed under Tomcat (JRun, WebLogic), which will proxy our communication with Yahoo!. To configure the Flex proxy service, use the following section of the proxy-confi... (more)

Flex Best Practices: DTO is the Horseshoe of your Flex Application

Remember this old little rhyme? For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; For want of the shoe, the horse was lost; For want of the horse, the rider was lost; For want of the rider, the battle was lost; For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost; And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. This little poem often comes to my mind as a see increasing number of amateurs perceiving Flex as yet another "library of controls".  The fact is, it is very easy to start coding in Flex. So much that hot-heads get on the coding spree before noticing that Flex is a beautifully crafted framework with profound cause and effect connections. If I could pass just one Flex advice that would be: Use Data Transfer Objects. Use custom Data Transfer Objects to pass data between server and Flash tiers of your Flex application. Do not use XML. Yes, I know that XML cool.  Do not use Objects. Yes, I know ... (more)

MuleSource Nominated for SYS-CON's "SOA World Magazine Readers' Choice Awards"

Mule is an open source Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). Designed to support high-performance, multi-protocol transactions between heterogeneous systems and services, Mule provides the basis for service oriented architecture (SOA). With a standards-based, zero intrusion approach to existing infrastructure and a simplified development model, Mule adapts to your environment and prevents vendor lock-in. The open source model allows organizations to achieve rapid ROI, and open access to source code enables developers to customize Mule to readily meet their needs. SOAWorld Magazine’s “SOA World Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards” SOA World Magazine announced that nominations are now open for the SOA World Magazine Readers' Choice Awards, which recognize excellence in the software, solutions, or services provided by the industry's top vendors. SYS-CON's Readers' Choice Awards, al... (more)

Generating Ext JS and Java CRUD Applications with CDB

Clear Data Builder for Ext JS (CDBExt) is an open source tool that automatically builds Ext JS/Java EE CRUD applications given one or more annotated Java interfaces. The generated JavaScript and Java code enforce best Ext JS and Java EE practices and is deployed on the development version of the Tomcat ready to run. A tiny library of Ext JS components accompanying CDBExt – Clear components – enables transactional data sync with the application server, including deeply nested hierarchical data transaction, features not supported in native Ext JS 4. This short video opens a series of demos that will describe various modes of generating CRUD applications with the JavaScript clients enriched by the Ext JS framework from Sencha. At the time of this writing, CDBExt is in public beta and your suggestions are welcome. Please post your suggestions and findings at the Clear... (more)

Don’t Listen to Your Business Analyst

I’m a partner in two companies – an IT consultancy Farata Systems,  and SuranceBay - a 3 year old startup where we’re creating a software for insurance industry. Brian Morton, my partner at SuranceBay who knows everything about insurance wrote a blog delivering a message that Steve Jobs formulated in one sentence: let’s give our clients not what they want, but what they need. The wording may not be 100% accurate, but the message is. When three years ago we created that startup our software engineers knew nothing about the insurance industry. Brian knew nothing about software. Actually this is not true. He knew how computers were used by the small insurance agencies. He knew intuitively that these processes could be improved, which he explained in a 200-page long business plan. We’ve created a partnership using a tiny initial amount of an investor’s capital, which w... (more)