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Clear Toolkit Authors: Yakov Fain, Victor Rasputnis, Anatole Tartakovsky, Shashank Tiwari

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RIA & Ajax: Article

Hey, Wall Street, Flex Your Muscles!

I was really impressed by the endless number of presentations showing the use of Adobe Flex 2 technology

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 using Flex with Java (you can download this presentation at Farata Systems Web site), and our message was twofold: first we've shown how Flex on the front can help and work with Java on the back, and then we've shown a couple of our open source components where Java was used to automatically generate Flex code and a Flex business intelligent tool.

As of today, Java is the most adopted language in the world, and it'll stay this way on the server side and in the mobile devices arena for years. Java Swing is the most comprehensive but the most expensive tool available for developing the front-end for Rich Internet Applications. You can do everything with Swing... if you can afford it. While the software is free, the Swing professionals charge premiums for their working hours. And they'll need lots of hours to develop, debug and test these applications.

Regarding Wall Street... Adobe Flex 2 can work in a real time, has its own messaging and supports JMS, so it's about time to re-think the design of your trading applications. I can almost hear now the voices of the die-hard stock traders looking all day long at the black screen with constantly changing large numbers - price quotes. Some vendors came out with special keyboards/devices that allow making a trade with two successive hits of the finger and the bottom of their palms. They say, "We did it yesterday, and we'll be doing it tomorrow". They just did not know any better.

But Wall Street is seriously considering Flex 2. I know two Fortune 100 brokerage houses that purchased Flex 2 licenses while this software was still in Beta. If you are not impressed, this tells me that you did not work for these giants that may start considering any new software in a year after its official release.

Flex Data Services can be used as a gateway to your existing, powerful and scalable Java EE applications. Just replace the end-user facing part of your Web applications. Flex (as opposed to AJAX) supports the server push using the publish-subscribe mechanism. It supports binary sockets as well. Move the MVC pattern implementation to the client where it belongs in the RIA world. You had to maintain the session in the Web applications on the server only because HTTP is a stateless protocol, but now your compiled code runs in the Flash virtual machine on the client (by the way, raise your hand if your Java Swing Web application keeps the state on the server? Boo!).

Any pragmatic corporate development manager can say, "I like the way Flex applications look, but who else is doing this? Are there Flex developers available? Are there Flex components available? We have all this in Java". The answer is yes, there are people now and there will be plenty of those in 2007.

Still unsure how to get familiar with this technology before making this decision? Sign up for my evening Flex 2 class at New York University (it's five sessions over five weeks). It's a hands-on class where we'll start from the basics and will move toward the creation of business applications.

You know better than me that competition is real tough in the financial IT sector. This technology will give you an edge over your competition, and most importantly, will make your business users happy.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

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