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AJAX vs. Flex, 2007
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AJAX vs. Flex, 2007

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  • 1. SKITSANOS.COM AJAX vs. FLEX raw technology comparison Evgenios Skitsanos 2007 HTTP://WWW.SKITSANOS.COM/
  • 2. AJAX Pros and Cons AJAX FLEXAdvantages Pre-built frameworks can be leveraged, familiar to The Flash Platform provides a true application platform those who know HTML, JavaScript, etc. no need for as a virtual machine that’s browser / platform additional software past an up-to-date browser, independent, including a JIT compiler and strong typing. open standard. The very intention for the Flash Player was to provide a container to perform operations like rendering complex animations and filter thousands of data sets at the same time, thus providing a desktop-like experience with comparable performance on the internet. Very capable IDE, Images are part of a flash movie and cant be downloaded directly, supported by Adobe, XML based language, ability to leverage flash components into the application, great speed increase over previous versions of flash (if that was even possible). Moreover the code only needs to be written once instead of several times for each browser as is the case with JavaScript/AJAX. Flex Builder has design mode for those non- programmers interested in building Flex appsDisadvantages No IDE, no browser standards (slight alterations per Needs the flash player, Need to learn and XML-based browser), hard to build components outside of language and possibly ActionScript to build real frameworks (in general), images and other data applications. open and available. Rare issue, but Flash 9 could be disabled or not JavaScript support might be disabled on end-user installed {There are some solutions for software 2 browser because of the security reasons. deployment, like MS SMS.} Skitsanos.com | http://www.skitsanos.com/
  • 3. Ajax / DHTML applications are subject to each browser’s implementation of the DOM and often require developers to provide workarounds for each variation thereof; this inherently creates additional, unnecessary code and ultimately adds to the development timeline. Large Ajax applications with rich user experience = large development effort. AJAX applications leverage the browser as the application platform something it was never intended to be used for. The browser is nothing more than a text-based rendering engine, and was never conceived as a container for client-side applications.Development Models AJAX is the mesh of several, common client-side The Flex workflow and programming model follow a technologies, overcoming the browser compatibility more traditional approach familiar to application issues often requires expert knowledge of each developers. Flex applications are implemented using a browsers interpretation of the DOM, and usually combination of declarative tags (MXML) for the user leads to hack-like workarounds. Even if you’re using interface / presentation and a scripting language an Ajax / DHTML toolkit, you’re still subject to the (ActionScript) for complex business / application logic. pains of cross browser issues. · MXML is an XML based, declarative language Ajax often entangles both HTML and JavaScript to that’s similar to HTML and is used for layout. create rich user interfaces where the end result is a · ActionScript is a strongly typed, classed based tightly coupled client application that’s often difficult OO language analogous to Java, but with the to maintain and extend. flexibility of a scripting language. While the MXML and AS aren’t native to most traditional app developers, the development paradigm is a similar model to that of JSP and Java development, making it an easy transition for seasoned developers. Flex Builder offers a professional IDE based on Eclipse, with the usual myriad of tools an application developer expects. 3 · Debugging is built on top of the Eclipse Skitsanos.com | http://www.skitsanos.com/
  • 4. Debugging Framework and provides common tools like setting breakpoints and watching variablesCost Some of them free, but AJAX frameworks that more Free or less can be considered as compete ones with Flex are quite expensive, the cheapest one is Backbase Flex 2 includes a number of free features, such as the with price starts from $6,000 per CPU. Flex SDK (software development kit). The real changes, though, are in pricing, where Adobe is looking to reduce the cost of simple Flex deployments. With Flex 2, Adobe is permitting free single CPU deployments of Flex applications using the Flex Data Services 2 Express or XML and Web Services. Previously, Flex users paid $15,000 per CPU to get started with the Flex SDK, which was part of the Flex Presentation Server.Bandwidth Sometimes requires transmitting application bits and Less bandwidth for data, since it passing just data, with pieces as well with actual data. no need to pass application bits and piecesPerformance Slow, bad code can affect performance of whole Flash is much faster than JavaScript and Flash will application and even freeze browser. improve in the future as the flash player gets faster. JavaScript however will not increase in speed much in the future as it is an interpreted language. The performance implications of running a complex Ajax application are subject to the browser’s ability to interpret JavaScript and determine the type at runtime is it a string, a number, an object? Whereas ActionScript 3 (AS3) eliminates type look-up because its strongly typed and compiled into bytecode rendered by the Flash Player VM this facilitates better responsiveness in your application.Expandability Hard to create custom components. Third-party Easy to create own custom components and re-use them components might not work with existed ones, within application. browse incompatibility issues. The Flex Framework provides a rich, robust, and extensible set of UI components that facilitate rapid UI 4 development with MXML, the declarative presentation layer. Furthermore, MXML is simply an abstraction to Skitsanos.com | http://www.skitsanos.com/
  • 5. ActionScript (MXML is compiled to it’s complimentary AS objects under the covers — it’s analogous to what JSTL is for Java), enabling developers to create complex, custom components with a blend of MXML and AS.Data Ajax support XML. With Ajax, and XML in Flex, you Flex supports XML (http or web services), AMF (a lot are creating and parsing xml on the client and smaller and faster), RTMP (push), data services, native server. In general xml parsing is slow, youll never data type support, Value Objects. notice it will small records. But a grid with a couple of hundred or more records and you will notice it. FDS (Flex Data Services) provides the ability to perform This is when AMF shines. data push from the server in the form of pub / sub messaging; there’s a Java adapter that allows Flex AJAX typically requires some type of data clients to subscribe to JMS topics and additional transformation in the middle layer and client side, adapters can be written to subscribe to legacy / other adding an unnecessary performance overhead on messaging systems. In addition, FDS provides data both sides of the wire, eg: synchronization, an API that abstracts the action of · Client makes an asynchronous HTTP request capturing all the data deltas on the client and persisting for data them to the server, thus enabling developers to focus · Request is mapped to a servlet / JSP that more on the application and business logic. FDS allows uses JDBC to query your database provides data paging for large data sets and handles · Data is transformed into an XML doc (or temporary disconnects transparently to the developer. JSON) and sent as an HTTP response · Client receives the XML and must parse it into useable data Flex can make calls directly to the back-end by invoking methods on Java objects, like POJOs or EJBs. These objects are transparently serialized and deserialized by the FDS application, mapping your client-side ActionScript objects to your back-end Java VOs, DTOs, or whatever other pattern(s) your architecture enlists; the developer is just left to expose the java objects to the flex client via a couple thin lines of xml in remoting-config.xml.XML Supports Supports 5Data pushing Not supports. AJAX is browser based, and therefore Supports limited by the “request/response” paradigm. Skitsanos.com | http://www.skitsanos.com/
  • 6. Somewhat functionality could be achieved with Adobe Spry Framework for example, that does let you hook up an XML feed to your front end and automatically refresh it at a certain interval.Streaming Not Supported SupportsAccess to media devices Not Supported Supports 6 Skitsanos.com | http://www.skitsanos.com/

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