Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flex / Adobe AIR == Ninja / Pirate

I didn't know, until I downloaded Tour De Flex, just how badass this technology was.

Browsing through the sample demos, I realized you could really build a regular desktop application using these technologies. I mean, I've hammered-out plenty of C# applications that could have easily been Flex + Adobe AIR applications if they had been around back then.

And the install badges for AIR applications? It is, literally, out of this world. I haven't seen an install system look and feel so fluid since 3-4 years ago when I was looking at mockups of web-based Linux package installers (Autopackage?).

The big "killer" is the lack of a freely available IDE. Since Flex's MXML can be done by hand, and ActionScript is basically Javascript with a few nice add-ons, you don't really need anything advanced -- a nice text editor can do wonders. But since Flex has to be combiled into a SWF, it makes web-style development harder: kiss the iterative "code, refresh page, repeat" process goodbye.

Still, all in all, it looks like a pretty solid set of technologies, and the development process is fairly similar to web design / programming. Could be an extremely valuable asset to pick up in the future.

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