Flex and Apollo screencast May 30th, 2007
If you can spare the time (56 minutes) view this nice screencast by James Ward on Flash, Flex and Apollo he gave at Google.
He talks about the new Tamarin virtual machine for ECMAScript4 and its upcoming integration in Mozilla Firefox, the webkit integration into Apollo and showcases some of proof-of-concept Flex and Apollo applications.
Flash/Flex vs. AJAX May 15th, 2007
Dan Webb wrote a nice article comparing the Flash and Flex called Flash vs AJAX it's time to expand your toolbox.
I also like where Flash is headed (or more appropriately, Flex) and agree with Dan (and lots of others - read the comments) that the transformation of ActionScript into a more Java like language (primitive types, static typing etc.) is not necessarily a good thing - sigh. Look into the ActionScript3 overview if you want the details.
I can see Flex/Appollo front-ends in combination with RESTfull backends making a big splash in the future, but I'm not sure I would want to use it for e.g. an online shop. I like to wrap important data like that in nice semantic markup that's more accessible and more important: searchable! The Flexstore example looks nice, but can't quite convince me for such applications. download the sdk, extract it and run the build-samples script in the samples directory and open the index.html in the example to check it out for yourself. Here's a nice whitepaper overview on Flex in PDF
I recently saw a presentation on the new Adobe CS3 suite, and the presenter showed a demo of a rotatable 3D X-Wing running in Flash. The difference in performance between the old and new VM (AS2 vs. AS3) was stellar. I'm not sure if the difference in typing is responsible for this though.
So maybe we need to ban our dynamic languages if we want to rotate our X-Wings at 25fps instead of 10fps...
Flex your XML muscles into a '( ) May 15th, 2007
For some reason it seems today is all about XML. A nice post over on defmacro.org introduces non-Lispers to the infamous parenthesis by ways of comparing XML to Lisp code. So if you already expose yourself to the wonders of XML as a developer, you should be able to gradually come to love the parenthesis.
And then I come across a screencast about Adobe Flex development which strikes me as a another example for the article above. Flex is a combination of lots of XML, intermingled with ActionScript. It even has special binding expressions that refer to data/code. A real pity that halfway through the screencast they have to resort to a CDATA statement to mix-in some actual code (an event handler in the example). No wonder we don't find XML magic [anymore] after learning Lisp.
Flex looks great though. I can see it getting some traction soon, especially if you take technologies like Apollo in account.
But wouldn't it be bliss if we could Flex our muscles in Lisp instead ?