Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What does Gartner say about Flex in banking?

Banks Eye Rich Internet Applications is an great article by Gartner about the business opportunity that RIA technologies represent for the finacial services industry. It clearly been written by someone who knows what they're talking about and is an excellent resource for building a business case for the adoption of Flex for hard-core applications. It's just a shame it's so well-hidden on the Adobe web site and a shame there's no link to it from the Flex product home page.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Don't you love it that O'Reilly Flash books are green?

We all learned uncle O'Reilly's color codes in kindergarden. Java books are purple, Microsoft books are blue, Oracle books are orange and Flash and ActionScript books are green, in the same color category as books on W3C standards such as HTML and CSS. Eh? It's as if Tim O'Reilly sees Flash and ActionScript as a W3C web standard. I'm not complaining but it's a little curious.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Has Flex given up on the enterprise?

One of the many benefits of adopting a SOA in the enterprise is the increased organizational agility that enterprises gain from a new type of desktop application that orchestrates the services exposed by the enterprise's legacy systems in a more joined-up way that better matches each business process.

This new type of application is called a composite application by IBM, Sun, SAP, BEA and many others including innovative ISVs such as Digital Harbor and Above All, who already strongly position their offerings as development environments for composite applications.

In reality Flex is the best tool I've seen for the rapid development of robust composite applications for the enterprise (and I include Windows.Forms in that) but Flex is also one of the industry's best kept secrets. There's no mention on Flex's Home Page of its capabilities as a development environment for composite applications. Instead Flex is positioned as a tool for developing RIAs. What are they? Websites with fancy graphics?

Right now IT departments in enterprises are pulling their hair out trying to work out how to deliver better smart clients to the business that compose the services exposed by their SOA and that can be easily deployed and reconfigured at low cost. "Flex can do that", I hear you say and you'd be right. The trouble is enterprises don't perceive themselves as building internet applications, rich or otherwise, so (wrongly) don't see Flex as the solution to their problem.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Why Flex Data SERVICES but Flash Media SERVER?

I can understand why Adobe wanted to find a wider market for Flex Enterprise Services and choose a new name as part of that rebranding. I don't understand however why one product is called Flash Media Server and the another product is called Flex Data Services. That seems inconsistent to me. To tell you the truth I've never been keen on the name Flex Data Services, not least because FES had a subcomponent called Data Services. What's that subcomponent called now I wonder? What's wrong with Flex Server as a name for the server product?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Podcast on the Challenges of Ajax Development

Steffen Meschkat of Google spoke at a conference in London recently about the technical challenges of developing rich web applications in Ajax. He has some humourous observations about the quirks of XMLHttpRequest, JavaScript and CSS. The audio of his talk is at