DAT Stuff

Random thoughts and observations from DAT

Archive for the tag “Flash”

Let the Flexing Begin

In my last post about Flex, I mentioned that there was a non-commercial license available. Well, I took the time to apply, and after several weeks (after I had given up hope, really) I got an email that I had been granted a license. The email contained a one-time link to the adobe store where I could buy Flex 1.5 and Flex Builder for the cost of shipping & handling. The online store didn’t handle the transaction correctly, but after contacting customer service a totally free copy was on its way to my house.

The CDs arrived this week, and I installed Flex Builder last night. When I find time to experiment with it I’m excited to see what I can produce…

Flexing

One thing I love about blogs are sites like Technorati that make it easy for others to find blog entries. For example, John Dowdell found my post on Flex. He found my post using Technorati, and I found his the same way. I’m betting we used different search terms to find them, but the fact that one service connected us is pretty cool.

But what I really wanted to write about is Flex itself. I’ve always been intrigued by Flash, but could never justify the cost of the Flash development tools. I’ve looked at OpenLaszlo, which is great for the price (free) but lacks a good graphical development tool. If your idea of an IDE is Notepad, OpenLaszlo may be just what you need. They go one step further with their Eclipse plugin, but all it really provides is coding assistance, not graphical design tools.

I downloaded FlexBuilder 1.5, but haven’t had much time to work with it. With the little bit I have done, I’ve been impressed with the tools. What scares me is the price. What does it cost? Actually I have no idea. If you go to the Flex page and click on “Purchase Information“, you get a page that I interpret as “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”.

I did see information about a non-commercial license, but it was confusing. It’s actually a non-commercial deployment license, implying that you don’t need it until you are ready to deploy your application. However, the copy of FlexBuilder I downloaded requires a license after an initial trial period, so it may expire before I can build anything.

Maybe I should skip version 1.5 and check out Flex 2 at their Labs site.

Macromedia Flex

Macromedia has a Flash tool designed to work with web services and other Java technologies, called Flex. As it turns out, it’s been out a while, but I just became aware of it with the public alpha of Flex 2. Here are a few (probably old) reviews:

  • Infoworld
  • Java Boutique
  • The Open Sourcery
  • And if I’m reading the FAQ correctly, they have a non-commercial license with a free copy of the IDE. This warrants further investigation…

    Free Flash Tool

    I discovered what looks like a great free tool for developing Flash components and web sites, called OpenLaszlo. Based on my very cursory investigation, applications can be developed using just a text editor, but they create very nice Flash output. An eclipse plugin is also available from IBM.

    The OpenLaszlo SDK uses a servlet, which I couldn’t run at my current host, but I discovered EATJ, which offers free basic Tomcat hosting. Laszlo Systems also has a Developer Zone, with forums and free non-commercial hosting at mylaszlo.com.

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