Enterprise Flex and Java RIA with Clear Toolkit Framework

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In any GUI tool, one of the most popular components is the one that shows data in a table format like JTable in Java or Datawindow in PowerBuilder. The Adobe Flex 2 version of such a component is called DataGrid. In any UI framework, the robustness of such a component depends on formatting and validating utilities as well as a whole suite of data input controls: CheckBoxes, ComboBoxes, RadioButtons, all sorts of Inputs, Masks, and so on. Using theatrical terminology, the role of the king is played by his entourage. Practically speaking, touching up the DataGrid is touching up a large portion of the Flex framework. We'll start by upgrading the standard DataGrid to a "destination-aware" control capable of populating itself. Next, we'll look at the task of formatting DataGrid columns and that would naturally lead us to a hidden treasury of the Flex DataGrid - the Data... (more)

Rich Internet Applications - State of the Union

[This prescient article first appeared on SYS-CON.com nearly 12 months ago.] We are entering an era of Rich Internet Applications (RIA),  and many enterprise development managers are facing the dilemma - which way to go - remain with  tried and true Java or .Net technologies or less known yet AJAX, Flex, OpenLaszlo or a number of other vendors.  This article is an attempt to give a brief overview of what's out there on the RIA market. Historically there have been major shifts in the software industry. We moved from mainframes with dumb terminals to client/server. Users gained in convenience and productivity, and mainframe systems were patronizingly labeled as legacy. With the availability of the World Wide Web industry visionaries turned the tables: vendors and corporate IT had been eager to get rid of the complexity of client/server version management and technologist... (more)

Business Intelligence in the world of Rich Internet Applications

There were  a couple  major shifts in the software industry in the past: from Mainframe and dumb terminals to client-server desktop applications (fat client);  from client-server to Web-based plain looking applications (thin client again). With the last move we've sacrificed some speed and power for transparency of deployment and delivery. Currently, we are about to enter a new era of Rich Internet Applicatoins (RIA), when plain looking Web applications will gradually be replaced with  RIA delivered over the Web. RIA applications run in a virtual machine deliver over the Web (Adobe Flash Player) and have a potential of becoming full featured desktop applications  (remember the Java promise "Write once, run everywhere"). How this will affect  the evolution of Business Intelligence (BI) applications? As of today, the most popular and inexpensive BI tool is Microsoft Exc... (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)

Search Engines Still Can't Index Flash Sites with Dynamic Content

There are two types of Web applications: those that care about their discoverability and those that don’t. If you are developing a Web application in Flash or Flex for, say, financial advisers (FA) of a brokerage house or salesmen of an insurance company, discoverability is not a concern because FA’s or salesmen of your firm will be told, “Go to so-and-so URL and use so-and-so application”. We can happily say that both FA’s and salesmen have discover their RIA. If you are developing a consumer-oriented RIA , you want random people to discover their pizzeria, department store, medical office or a car dealership.  Why a doctor needs a Web site? Mainly to be discovered by people from the neighborhood if someone will google for a family physician. You can say that some doctors also use Web site to post some useful articles or medical form for their existing customers. Tru... (more)

Immersing into JavaScript Frameworks

During the last month my colleagues and I were immersing into the world of modern JavaScript frameworks. We didn’t start from scratch though. My business partners spent the first 5 years of this century porting PowerBuilder, a used-to-be-popular client server tool, to a JavaScript framework. That product was called XMLSP and you can still find its 5-year old version online. The word AJAX was not even invented back then. In 2006, a killer UI framework Adobe Flex 2 was released and we started using it. It was clearly better than any AJAX offering, and I was not shy in publishing blogs and articles explaining its superiority to any AJAX solution available at the time. Flex remains a great solution for developing UI for the enterprise Web applications, and our company,Farata Systems, is committed to support any client who decides to hire us for any Flex/AIR Web/Desktop... (more)

Enterprise HTML5: Desktop and Mobile

I’ve contacted a publisher regarding possible publication of our new book. We’ve been working with these publishers in the past and they seem to be interested, which means the publisher started asking certain questions to see if such a book will have a market value. This blog is our response to these questions. The question was caused by the proposed book title: “Enterprise HTML5: Desktop and Mobile”. What the word enterprise means in this title and is this book about HTML5? The title of the book can be changed to “Enterprise Web Development. From Desktop to Mobile”. IMO, HTML5 became a buzzword meaning a lot more than HTML. This book is more about Web development than HTML. The targeted audience is intermediate developers and the knowledge of HTML basics is assumed. This book is mostly about developing for desktop and mobile in JavaScript and related technologies... (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)

Our Flex Book Is Written!

From Farata Systems blog The book "RIA development with Adobe Flex and Java" is written. Check out the book site. Do you know why we are smiling? Because the writing is over! It took us longer than planned because we had to work for a living, and the time for writing this book was just stolen from our families and our sleep. The book is about 650 pages, and here's the brief TOC: Foreword by Bruce Eckel Foreword by Matt Chotin Chapter 1. Architecture of RIA Chapter 2. Introduction to Flex Framework Chapter 3. Flex Builder Development Environment Chapter 4. Learning Flex Through Applications Chapter 5. A Complete Application with RPC Communications Chapter 6. End-to-End Rapid Application Development Chapter 7. How to write your own data services Chapter 8. Enhancing and Extending Flex Controls Chapter 9. Trees with Dynamic Data Population Chapter 10. Working with Large Applicatio... (more)

Co-Authors of Bestselling RIA Book to Teach "Adobe Flex & Java" Public Workshop

The authors of the bestselling book "RIA with Adobe Flex and Java" will teach a one of a kind workshop that is aimed at Java developers with no or limited experience in developing enterprise-grade J2EE application with Adobe Flex front end. "Real-world Flex for Java programmers" is an intensive, five-day hands-on training program for Web developers who need to create and integrate rich Internet clients written in Adobe Flex with enterprise J2EE applications. This is one of a kind hands-on workshop because during this week attendees will create two fully functional Flex/Java applications,learn how to properly set up a Java/Flex enterprise projectstart using Flex Eclipse plugins that will turn your Java project into a Rapid Application Development (RAD) environmentstart working on their projects in the class under the guidance of two experts and certified Adobe Flex ... (more)

Boost Productivity of Your Flex-Java Project with Log4Fx Component

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of having a good logging facility when you develop distributed  applications. Did the client’s request reached the server-side component? What did the server send back?  Add to this the inability to use debuggers while processing GUI events like focus change, and you may   need to spend hours if not days trying to spot some sophisticated errors. That’s why a commercial-grade  logger is a must if you work with an application that is spread over the network and written in  different languages such as Adobe Flex and Java. Log4Fx is an advanced, yet very simple to use, logger component for Adobe Flex applications that use Java application servers. You can set up the logging on the client or server sides, and you can redirect the output of the log messages to local log windows or make the log output easily availabl... (more)