Whenever you are clicking a YouTube video or using your new Android Phone, you are using Apache Flex, formerly Adobe Flex. Flex Application was the brainchild of Macromedia and later acquired by Adobe Systems which in turn donated it to Apache Software Foundation in 2011. Keeping aside these ownership details let's have a look into the Application itself.
Why Is Flex The Right Choice?
Flex is a powerful open-source software development kit with remarkable benefits for web developers as well as end users. It is the perfect alternative to those cumbersome heavy restrictions of HTML. With the concept of Flex or Rich Internet Applications RIA, Flex has revolutionized the Web Application Development sector through its ease of use, streamlined workflow, and real time interactivity. Cross-platform Internet Applications had never been so popular before the entry of Flex into the market.
Rich Internet Applications- What Is So Rich About Them?
Everything is rich about them! Flex Applications (Rich Internet Applications) are live applications that react to every move of the mouse with sound, animation, and other visual cues. HTML applications on the other hand, have all the logic in the server and require the user to commit an action that sends data from the webpage back to the server for processing and this happens every time there is a change in the query.
How To Flex Your Flex Muscles?
Everything just sounds perfect but how long does it take to learn all the stuff? Well, Flex uses a special combination of a tagged based language called MXML, and an object-oriented language called Actionscript 2.0 that can be termed as the language of Flex. Main files are built in .mxml format while custom components in the Actionscript. Then you use the Flex Application Server to compile the codes into a .swf (Flash file) that is finally loaded by the browser. If you are wondering about the text editor to develop then FlexBuilder is the answer and on the debugging front, you can take help of components such as XMLObject that comes with Flex.
At the end of the day, you must keep in mind that Flex Applications are more into real-time interactivity and rich workflow than RAD (Rapid Application Development). You can try out Flex 3.0 currently in public beta at labs.adobe.com