Flex IMHO is underhyped! I like Ajax and think its great. I also like Flex because Flex solves many graphical representation problems in a more elegant fashion than Ajax.
Using REST principles and the Permutations pattern it does not matter if you are using Ajax or Flex because the server will generate the appropriate content! This is the strength of writing de-coupled Ajax applications in that for some content you use Ajax, other content uses Flex, and for yet other content you use plain vanilla XML or HTML. To me Ajax or Flex are not absolute technologies.
Author of Ajax Patterns and Best Practices
Joined: Dec 16, 2004
another big comparison would be price factor while evaluating Flex and Ajax. No investment for Ajax technique while Flex demands big bucks investment. If one can achieve everything with Ajax (whatever they can do with Flex).Plus Flex forces one to learn MXML whereas Ajax is just a combination of old technologies. Where does Flex stand?
Joined: Feb 20, 2006
Ah, you caught me... Gee how am I going to reconcile this because you mention points that are hard to debate against.
What's good about Ajax: Cost, uses old technologies in a new way, widely accepted, relatively easy to pick up. What's good about Flex: Awesome user interface
Flex has one good thing going for it and that is user experience. When I watch experienced Web developers create applications using Flex it is truly impressive. Users appreciate an entertaining and slick user experience. This is why I feel Flex is underhyped and could use more coverage. Of course the user interface experience is not a limitation of Ajax, but of the browser.
If Ajax solves all of your problems, yes you are right you have no need for Flex.
There will still be a server component ("Flex Data Services"), available for a fee. But for those wishing to use the Flex 2.0 framework (the components and classes) and compiler, through their text editor of choice, and rely HTTP, SOAP, XML-RPC, or XML for server-connectivity, Flex 2.0 won't cost a dime.
That being said, many might find Flex Builder 2, an Eclipse based product with a lot of useful stuff, a worthwhile investment at the "under $1000" pricepoint Adobe (Macromedia) announced last October, but the hardcore can write their Flex code in Notepad if they wish.
The Flex/Flash solution, while expensive, certainly does make for very flashy (pun intended), slick and elegant web-based products.
However, the place where Ajax shines is in the more mundane work-a-day world of enterprise applications, bringing the user experience and speed of the desktop client of the classical client-server solution to web-based solutions.
Poor user experience and excessive bandwidth usage can seriously hamper the migration of traditional client-server applications to web-based applications. If the user experience on the browser is elevated to at or very near that of a desktop client and the request-response through-put is close to that of the client-server, then the ease of delivery and updating of the web-based enterprise application has it all over the old-fashioned install-heavyweight-client-on-every-machine model.
This is where Ajax has the most to offer, since the enterprise application has much less need for the artistry, however nice, of Flash and Flex.
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