Enterprise Flex and Java RIA with Clear Toolkit Framework

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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)

Hacking or Design Patterns?

Earlier this year, in an interview for Oracle, I made a statement defending hacking. Yesterday, I found a thread on theserverside.com where java developers were sharing their view on the subject. In this blog I’ll take the same two quotes that ignited some arguments and will try to explain my point of view. 1. "Recently, I've been running a seminar for a small group of Java developers. Several times they've asked me, 'Is this code an example of MVC pattern?' I got the impression that implementing MVC had become an end in itself. Using Design Patterns is not a dogma. Just write the code that makes sense. Not everything that makes sense has a named design pattern." 2. "Abusing design patterns is not always the fault of Java developers. I find the approach used in the enterprise software shops similar to medicine in the US. In my opinion, lots of doctors here practice ... (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)

Adobe Flex 2: Advanced DataGrid

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)

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)

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)

ClearBI Web Reporter For Flex and Java Applications Goes to Public Beta

An Eclipse plugin version of Web reporter ClearBI (a.k.a. FlexBI) is available for public Beta testing. ClearBI is a business intelligence engine that allows software developers automate report generation process, and end users can customize reports (grouping, filtering, export to Microsoft Excel et al.) in Flash Player. Other than Flash Player, ClearBI does not require any additional software install on the client side. ClearBI is available in two versions: ClearBI Plugin and ClearBI End-User: • ClearBI Plugin allows a software developer create and customize a new report in Eclipse IDE. This report can be integrated into any Flex application by including an extra MXML and recompiling the main application. The end users will be able to work with the report (sorting, filtering, grouping, export to Microsoft Excel, et al.), but won’t be able to save this cus... (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)

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)

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)

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)