What Is Adobe/Macromedia Flex?

As a web developer you’ve often found yourself wishing there was a way to make web applications that weren’t limited to the heavy restrictions of HTML. You’ve used JavaScript to make your forms a little more intuitive with dynamic/context driven comboboxes, but to do anything more often requires heavy amounts of JavaScript and DHTML. Even if you are a pro at it, it’s extremely time consuming to make workflow interactive and user friendly. More importantly, why would you want to be spending so much time on core UI functionality when you’re getting paid to work on business logic and workflow.

Flex to Flash is like Ajax to Javascript. It’s another interface, tagg-based language, editor and approach meant to make the “Flash” people not think about Flash as a designer tool. It is Macromedia’s way of pushing Flash where the $$ are.

Adobe/Macromedia Flex takes you to the next level of web application development with the concept of Rich Internet Applications (aka RIAs). You may have seen applications developed natively in Flash itself and realized that it offers a much more robust experience for the user where productivity is bolstered by ease of use, streamlined workflow, and real time interactivity that is impossible to accomplish in HTML itself. However developing rich applications in Flash for those who are core developers is daunting and unintuitive. The Flash development tool is geared for designers, and developing on a timeline is a strange concept. Flex removes that barrier to entry by providing a programmatic way for developing these RIAs.

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