Enterprise Flex and Java RIA with Clear Toolkit Framework

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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)

Working with Large Applications

In this excerpt from our book, Rich Internet Applications, we'll cover how to set up large applications intended for Web or, more broadly speaking, distributed deployment. As an example let's consider an enterprise application that consists of hundreds of screens, reports, forms, and dashboards. Accordingly, about a dozen engineers specializing in GUIs, frameworks, data layers, and business domains are working on this application in parallel. Every application "run" in Flex Builder as well as the invocation of the application's MXML file processed by the Web-tier Flex compiler requires an application build. Needless to say, this takes time. The bigger the application, the more time it takes. Developers need a fast process of building and deploying their applications. The application also has to be partitioned for team development both vertically (application screen... (more)

Picking the Right Technology for Enterprise Rich Internet Applications

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 or experiment with such newcomers as AJAX, Flex, Silverlight, or JavaFX. While Internet brings a lot of noise where "it's cool" is the most popular definition, this presentation is an overview of what's out there on the enterprise RIA market. We'll talk about pros and cons of using various techniques and technologies for development of the front end for complex distributed systems. Speaker Bio: Yakov Fain is a managing principal of Farata Systems, a consulting, training and product company. He's authored several Java books and dozens of technical articles. The latest book co-authored by Yakov is "Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex and Java: Secrets of the Masters." Sun Microsy... (more)

Adobe's Serious Move Towards Model-Driven Development

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Facelift Your SOA with Rich Internet Applications

We are entering an era of Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and enhancing the user experience of consumers of the services becomes an important part in designing and implementing SOA. But if you decide to develop rich clients, you'll be facing the dilemma - which way to go - remain with tried and true Java or .NET or experiment with such newcomers as AJAX, Flex, Silverlight, or JavaFX. While the Internet brings a lot of noise where "it's cool" is the most popular definition, this presentation is an overview of what's out there on the enterprise RIA market. We'll talk about the pros and cons of using various techniques and technologies for the development of the front end for complex SOA distributed systems. Speaker Bio: Yakov Fain is a managing principal of Farata Systems, a consulting, training and product company. He's authored several Java books and dozens of tec... (more)

LiveCycle ES 8.2 is a solid platform for business process management

I’d like to share with you my experience of working with LiveCycle ES 8.2. This version has been released in July of 2008. The letters ES stand for Enterprise Suite. And this suite can do a lot of things. LiveCycle ES server is deployed under a J2EE server of your choice utilizing EJB and Java servlet containers. Its metadata repository is stored in a DBMS. But all this is hidden from people developing business processes. It includes Eclipse based IDE called LiveCycle Workbench that allows them to create and configure business processes using graphic designer. For example, you can design a process of applying for a mortgage as shown below. You connect users and processes by dragging line between the boxes – these connections are called activities, i.e. Approve, Reject. Depending on the results of execution of each of the sub-processes hidden behind these boxes, the... (more)

Yakov Fain Launches Clear Toolkit Magazine on Ulitzer

Yakov Fain, one of the top 3 Ulitzer bloggers, launched a new magazine on Ulitzer as a one stop shop for all Flex/AIR/Java developers who decided to use open source Clear Toolkit framework for developing enterprise rich Internet applications. Yakov Fain is a Managing Director of Farata Systems, consulting, training and product company. He has authored several Java books, dozens of technical articles. SYS-CON Books released his latest co-authored book , Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex and Java: Secrets of the Masters in Spring 2007. Sun Microsystems has nominated and awarded Yakov with the title Java Champion. He leads the Princeton Java Users Group. He is an Adobe Certified Flex Instructor. Currently Yakov works on the book for O'Reilly "Enterprise Application Development with Flex". He twits at twitter.com/yfain. ... (more)