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Working with Adobe Flex

From idea to application in very short order

Adobe Flex is a software development approach and environment which enables the production of cross-platform Rich Internet Applications.

Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) is the cross-platform runtime environment used by Flex (as well as Flash, HTML, JavaScript and AJAX) for deployment of desktop applications.

I’ve long known the power of Flex and AIR, and have long respected the smart strategy of enabling developers and enterprises to decide when a solution should be one that will run in the browser or on the client.

But to really learn the power of Flex and AIR I decided to try coding a few examples.

After ordering and working my way through a few books (including David Gassner’s  Flex 3 Bible) and building a few sample programs, I decided to create an application designed to serve friends in the national security community. I thought doing so would force me to learn more details of the Flex AIR approaches and could also result in me producing an application of use to some military planners.

Some lessons:

  • Flex is easy to learn. If you know Visual Basic you will enjoy and appreciate the graphic design capabilities of Flex.   If you know object oriented languages you will feel right a home with Flex’s use of functions, objects and events.
  • Flex is easy to test and debug.  There are great visuals to help you spot mistakes. And it is easy to repeatedly run your work in progress.
  • Flex is easy to deploy, in both desktop and web editions.  Use of Flex and AIR makes preparation, packaging and deployment really fast.
  • Overall, creating an application is fast.  I went from idea to application in a matter of days.  Part of that is because this is a simple application, but part of it is because Flex is so easy and fast to work with.
  • I believe every enterprise should have AIR on every client.

Adobe Flex 3 BibleYou can download Flex for free from Adobe.  The download comes with a 60 day license.  Developers in between work can apply for an extended free license.  To download yours see: http://www.adobe.com/products/flex/

In a coming post I’ll provide links to the first version of my application.  I’ve sent it to a couple friends to let them beat it up before making it totally public.  And I am thinking of adding a few other features to make it a bit more polished before posting it.  But standby, it is coming soon.

Till then, please ensure your computer is running the most current version of AIR.  Do that by downloading:


Air runs on Windows, Mac and Linux OS’s, making it really cross-platform.

Related posts:

  1. Adobe MAX 2009: Explore, Learn, Contribute
  2. What CTOs Should Know About Adobe
  3. Enter My Office: Using Adobe Acrobat Connect

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com

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