Flex and Java: A deadly combination for creating RIA applications
Posted Under: Adobe Flex and AIR
The Java platform arguably has made a name for itself as the platform of choice for server-side application development. But if you want to develop “rich” user interfaces Java has little to offer. Although Java applets have remained a RIA choice for 12 years , applets still look clunky, they still have funny fonts, they still take forever to load, as the browser has to load and run the complete JRE… these are some of the issues for which Java did not succeed as a RIA.
Use of Java as a client-side technology has been eclipsed in the RIA market by Flex. Flex is a mature technology and has the most mature component library for rich user interface development. That makes the use of flex as front-end and Java as back-end server side technology a deadly combination for developing RIA applications.
For Java developers, Action Script 3.0 is pretty comparable. So, it’s quick and easy to learn. BlazeDS and LCDS provide object marshalling between Flex and Java server-side. The Flex development tools offer the clearest link for current Java developers. The Flex IDE is built on Eclipse, which can be used as the stand-alone Flex Builder product or as an Eclipse plug-in. Virtually all Java developers have had some exposure to the Eclipse development environment. This is a huge benefit that speeds and enhances the learning process. Also, Flex .swf, .swc and other resource files can be placed into java .jar files for deployment alongside middle-tier bean code. This makes for a single deployment unit for a vertical-stack web application.
Flex is a robust, mature framework for building rich Internet applications. With the familiarity, tools support, and ease of integration with the Java platform, it brings opportunities for two very mature and stable technologies to come together and provide end users with “richer” experiences.
Adobe Flex and AIR is now the unparalleled best deployment platform for client-tier applications and Java remains the best server-side enterprise development platform. And combining the power of two results in creating the most interactive, feature rich and robust applications.