thebeebs | Why Silverlight is nailing Flex
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Why Silverlight is nailing Flex

by thebeebs 14. March 2008 03:53

Over the past year there has been a huge debate between web developers all over the globe about what will become the standard in rich Internet applications. In the past few months it's become apparent that Flex just doesn't have the same developer buzz that Silverlight is receiving.

To understand why Flex hasn't taken off we need to look at the history of the product. Flex grew out of Flash which was such a huge success as it enabled designers to create rich interactive interfaces for the web that could look great and operate more like applications. Most designers latched on to the technology since it's out of the box timeline support meant that even if you had no programming experience, with a few timeline tricks you could make an application do things that looked so much more impressive than what was happening in HTML at the time.

As designers got more experienced they moved away from timeline work and begin using the JavaScript like syntax of ActionScript with data provided in XML by either PHP or .net backends.

This history creates a problem for Adobe, since Flex is sophisticated development environment they have a product that pitches outside of their core users comfort zone. Most Flash developers have never dealt with concepts like  inheritance, encapsulation or polymorphism.

Flex and Silverlight are aimed more at the development market than at the the designer market; and this is where Microsoft are strongest. Ever since the release of ASP.net and more noticeably since the release of Visual Studio 2005 Microsoft have compounded their customers into a development community, a community that's willing to push boundaries and which are capable of higher level developing than their Flash counterparts. For most Microsoft developers Silverlight is easy to pick because it uses the same language and the same Object Orientated and tiered approach that most C# and Vb.Net developers are familiar with. For Flash developers Flex is a huge transition, not unlike the transition that Microsoft developers went through 4 or 5 years ago when they moved from asp to asp.net.

The simple reason that Silverlight has more buzz than Flex is because Flash developers aren't willing to become programmers.

To see Silverlight 2 in action check out the the latest Hardrock Cafe demo: http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/

To see the Buzz Trend i'm discussing view here: http://www.google.com/trends?q=%22Adobe+Flex%22%2C+%22Microsoft+silverlight%22&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

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Comments (71) -

Sebastien Arbogast
Sebastien Arbogast Belgium
3/14/2008 5:44:31 AM #

I guess you are a Microsoft-only developer yourself. Otherwise it's not possible to be that misinformed. Just your last sentence is symptomatic of that:
"The simple reason that Silverlight has more buzz than Flex is because Flash developers aren't willing to become programmers."
What you really didn't understand is that Adobe has never tried to transform Flash developers into programmers, their strategy is on the contrary to go find programmers where they are. That's why they are so present at events like Javapolis.
As for your free claim that Silverlight has more buzz than Flex, it's your word against the community: I follow a few very popular feeds every day, including digg, slashdot, dzone, del.icio.us/popular. And I have never seen the trend you're describing, quite the opposite actually. And one of the main reason for that is that so there are so many examples of applications using Flex (http://flex.org/showcase/), and so few using Silverlight.
Now I'm not comparing both technologies. I don't know enough about Silverlight itself. All I know is that I don't like the closed model of Microsoft, and I like the fact that with Flex, I can choose whatever backend technology I want, including .Net (http://flex.org/dotnet/). And I like the fact that it's fully Open Source. Those are facts!

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Will
Will United States
3/14/2008 6:00:03 AM #

I'm a .NET developer (easier than beating a baby into candy), but flex beats silverlight 7.5:1 in a googlefight.

Wouldn't touch flex with your cock, however.  XAML FTW.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 6:37:37 AM #

Sebastien,

My main point is that Flex will, and is begining to, fail against silverlight because the flash community that adobe are building on are not developers their generally designers. RIA need developers and designers. Thats why Microsoft have the edge.

As for the flex showcase. Not one of those sites is huge is it? Full of the same sort of stuff as is in http://silverlight.net/showcase/

I think the Olymic games site is a huge Coup for Silverlight and will be the First big RIA to date.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 6:47:52 AM #

Will

Flex will always win a google fight because Flex is a real word in its own right.

Try "Flex Development" against "Silverlight Development"

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 7:09:02 AM #

Sebastien:

Scott Gurthrie has said Silverlight libraries will go open-source or at least shared source as well, while .NET and C# are fully open-source.

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Sebastien Arbogast
Sebastien Arbogast Belgium
3/14/2008 7:15:14 AM #

Martin,

You can't run a Flex application on a mobile phone as of now, because the Flash Lite runtime does not support ActionScript 3 (yet!)
Second, I say it again, it's a mistake to think that Adobe is building on the Flash community for Flex, because they're not. They are trying to reach developers on other platforms and make them work WITH designers to get RIAs. That's why they are working on Thermo (www.readwriteweb.com/.../...mo_ria_design_tool.php) and Flex Component Kit for Flash CS3 (weblogs.macromedia.com/.../flex_component.cfm).
So your "main reason" doesn't hold at all. Now show me where are the designers in Microsoft. Oh yes, they are starting to appear with Expression tools...

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Sebastien Arbogast
Sebastien Arbogast Belgium
3/14/2008 7:21:10 AM #

"Scott Gurthrie has said Silverlight libraries will go open-source or at least shared source as well".

I'll believe it when I see it. And even then, I'm not talking about an source archive you can download from somewhere deep down in MS site after having accepted a weird MS-made licence. I'm talking about real Open Source, protected by a licence approved by OSI, with free read access to a source repository, an open bug database and everything we need to embed Flex support into any of our tools. See http://opensource.adobe.com

But once again, I don't care about comparing both technologies. It's just that your all reasoning is based on a wrong assumption. So if you want to explain why Flex has no future, try something better.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 7:58:07 AM #

Thermo... Didn't microsoft already do that with expression? Looks like someone is playing catch up.

Thats the main point of my argument, Adobe don't have developers and as you say, they need to go out a find them. Microsoft already have the community of developers.

I didn't say Flex didn't have a future. Their next update might be incredible. But as it stands Silverlight 2.0 is the better development platform.

Did you check out that hard rock cafe example? That "Sea Dragon" zoom is incredibly smooth. It's just not possible to do that in Flex. Adobe need to up their game. Competition is good!

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Sebastien Arbogast
Sebastien Arbogast Belgium
3/14/2008 8:07:42 AM #

At least, we agree on that: competition is good!
What's not good at all is misinformation and FUD. And saying that "The simple reason that Silverlight has more buzz than Flex is because Flash developers aren't willing to become programmers" is very different from "Adobe don't have developers and as you say, they need to go out a find them".
With the second statement, we're talking about competition, because both Adobe and Microsoft have work to do to conquer the other side. Then the question is whether it's easier to build a developer or a designer community. But that's another story.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 8:22:23 AM #

I'd disagree that Microsoft doesn’t have designers. Who do you think designs all of the Asp.net web pages in the world?

Silverlight separates the design from code, I don't think it would be too hard to get a designer to work with expression. Or for a developer to chop up a designers photoshop layout.

I think it would be harder to convince a developer to move to a language and environment they haven't used before.

And as I said originally, I don't think you'll get alot of Flash developers (who tend to be from the design world) who are willing to adopt OOP principles and become programmers.

P.s. I'm glad I posted this topic it's been fun debating with you.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 9:02:37 AM #

Tee Hee www.mindmeister.com is Ajax not Flex! you can't claim that one.

OK the new AOL mail application pisses over all of those demos you posted, watch the demo video and see how fast it is!!!

http://visitmix.com/blogs/News/AOL/

Then sign up and use it yourself:
o.aolcdn.com/.../landing-mix08.html

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Sebastien Arbogast
Sebastien Arbogast Belgium
3/14/2008 10:24:04 AM #

I'm shocked! I can't believe Mindmeister is AJAX. Obtaining such an incredible user experience with bare Javascript: now that's a performance! ;o)
Now OK, yet another example that doesn't really convince me compared to things like www.lovelycharts.com.
So fine, you convinced me that Silverlight can give nice visual results. Now I need to see some code. Because it's always easy to hack some crappy code for a demonstration. I'll need to give it a try and see if what is possible is also "programmable".

Silverlight still has a few blocking points for me (unless you tell me otherwise):
- it can only be connected to a Microsoft back-end
- it requires the installation of a special plugin in my browser, I mean a plugin that doesn't have 94% penetration like the Flash plugin

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Stephen
Stephen United Kingdom
3/14/2008 10:45:16 AM #

@Sebastian

How to host webpage with silverlight in tomcat or other webservers
http://silverlight.net/forums/p/998/2195.aspx

If you're a decent programmer, you can always roll your own little http socket mechanism...sheesh

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Sebastien Arbogast
Sebastien Arbogast Belgium
3/14/2008 11:01:19 AM #

@Stephen

And is there any equivalent to BlazeDS (AMF) for Silverlight?

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 11:01:24 AM #

Ok iIcan trump www.lovelycharts.com. With www.popfly.com. If you don't wanna log in, view the video on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkTdJAYb--M

This has to blow you away! Remember this is all silverlight. All on the web!

To put your other fears to rest:

1. Silverlight runs on all back ends, there would be no problem running it on a PHP website for example. 2, It can run on window, Mac and now even linux client side.
2. Flash also needs a special plug in (it's just most people have already got it right now). Since the plugin take less than 30 seconds to install it really isn't much of a hurdle. Plus this summer the olymic games highlights and live streaming will be brodcast only in silverlight... This means millions and millions and millions of users will download it.

So what do you think? Are you more impressed by silverlight now than when you first read this blog post?

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 11:10:42 AM #

Heres some Silverlight 2 code from Scott Guthrie

weblogs.asp.net/.../...-look-at-silverlight-2.aspx

The Source code can be downloaded here:
www.scottgu.com/.../diggsample.zip

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/14/2008 11:39:22 AM #

Silverlight 2.0 supports sockets and persistent connections is that roughly BlazeDS?

I'm not sure perhaps someone can clarify. Is blazeDS just a binary data transfer rather than Soap/XML?

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Tech Per
Tech Per
3/15/2008 6:53:21 AM #

This article seems quite misinformed and strongly Microsoft/Silverlight biased. There is no real comparison here.

I think it is a fact, that it is "real developers", that are grabbing flex and using it. This is good, for that is what it is targeted for. Not designers. Except for the fact, that Flex is actually a really good and approachable framework, I think the biggest advantage Adobe has, is the flashplayer runtime installation base. It is just about everywhere. And not only is it everywhere, it is also accepted by corporate security just about everywhere.

Silverlight runtime is NOT out there, ... yet. For instance, you link me to the "hardrock" demo, but I cannot see that, as I don't have the runtime. For me, as a developer, this is not a problem. It will be, for the ordinary, non-technical computer user. On the other hand, Microsoft has their updates, and I saw the Silverlight runtime 1.0 being stuffed down the pipe onto my wifes Vista this morning, through a windows update.

But, Silverligt still needs to prove itself. Flash has proven itself as a runtime already.

With respect to the discussion about buzz or not, I think it is utterly and complete nonsense! We hear what we wanna hear. Microsoft developers have a tendency to eat whatever supposedly "new and cool" technology microsoft comes up with. And "Ooh, okay, I need to buy one more crappy, crashing Visual Studio license, okay then, I will". Flex developers, a lot of them coming from the open-source Java-crowd, has a tendency to think everything is cool, as long as the source is open. But, you will feel the buzz of the community you belong within.

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Daniel Greenfeld
Daniel Greenfeld United States
3/15/2008 2:33:06 PM #

As a Mac user who uses both Safari and Firefox I can say that I've never managed to get Silverlight to work on any of my machines.  So I guess I'm out of luck watching the Olympics on-line.

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Jesse Rodgers
Jesse Rodgers Canada
3/15/2008 2:39:35 PM #

.NET developers use Studio and they aren't going to change that, especially if they are in a Team Suite environment. Flex doesn't have a chance with those people now that Silverlight exists because the differences aren't enough to force a retooling to a mixed an environment (which is always awkward with MS tools). The same can be said for Flex/Flash/ColdFusion/Dreamweaver developers - Silverlight isn't enough to retool to 100% Microsoft land. If you want to throw the Expression tool set in there, all Microsoft has done has given its loyal developers little reason to mix things up. Silverlight is a way to stop a slow bleed and give their developers a better toolset because their Studio paradigm is so bloody restrictive its hard for anyone not using Microsoft products to join the dev party. The slow bleed is caused by very few 'gems of the web' being .NET -- Python, Ruby, PHP, etc have plenty of amazingly designed apps.

The largely Mac toting designer community isn't going to jump over to Silverlight no matter how *OMG TEH AWSUM* it seems to .NET developers that think Sharepoint has a slick UI... and I honestly think Silverlight isn't about Flex, its about the crap UI that comes from Studio developers because the tools (media player included) they use make it hard to make slick UI's and multimedia apps. Look at youtube, Flash and PHP with Flash 7/8's progressive downloading making their prototype to production a low cost process. Of course scaling sucked until they had a media server I imagine...

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Vladimir Angelov
Vladimir Angelov Bulgaria
3/15/2008 3:36:53 PM #

I read the whole article and I just couldn't understand why Silverlight is better than Flex. Maybe you mean that the bigger development base that Silverlight has
makes it better than Flex. But I don't think that's a plausible argument -- you're not comparing technologies but how many people know certain type of technology. The problem is, Silverlight doesn't have this bigger deveploment base bacause it's better than Flex, but because there are already many C# programmers long
before Silverlight. So you can say more developers will know how
to create Silverlight applications than Flex applications. So what?
There are many people who know how play chess but they are not all
masters. Just because they know doesn't mean they'll create RIAs and even
if they do so doesn't mean these applications will be better than the Flex alternatives. The Flex community is actually quite big, there many usergroups,
tutorials, books, forums and people blogging about Flex.

"To understand why Flex hasn't taken off" -- WTF!? Have you ever heard
of applications such as buzzword, piknik, sliderocket, fauxto....?

"That "Sea Dragon" zoom is incredibly smooth.
It's just not possible to do that in Flex." -- OK, it looks cool, but
how do you know such thing!? I personally can't say if it is possible
but how you can be so sure that is's not as so many cool
things, some much better than this "Sea Dragon" zoom, have
been built with Flex.

"The simple reason that Silverlight has more buzz than
Flex is because Flash developers aren't willing to
become programmers." -- Adobe has never tried to convert
Flash designers into Flex developers. Flex is aimed at people
who already have programming experiece. ActionScript 3 is
very similar to Java and C# so it's easy to learn it if
you already have experiance with some OO language.

With Silverlight and Flex you can use PHP, .NET, Java as backend but Flex also
has LiveCycle Data Services and BlazeDS. Does Silverlight has anything like that?

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annous
annous United States
3/15/2008 6:22:27 PM #

when you can't design a proper website without html validation errors really how good are sliverlight developers?

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Tech Per
Tech Per Denmark
3/16/2008 2:56:45 AM #

@Jesse: I think you are spot on there. As one developer who have used both Studio and toolchains of Java development, and also touched upon the Microsoft developer community, your comment seems correct to me. If Microsoft developers would just break out of the Studio shell once in a while, and use the best alternatives around. I am not saying that flex is the best alternative around (it could be, though), but my point is, that there is no problem in building a flex UI front, and calling back into a Microsoft technology stack at the backend.

I say, use the best tools for the problem at hand. I my opinion, a Microsoft developer, who accepts that Studio is not good for all (I might even say, not good for anything), and escapes out of it, when appropriate, is a better developer, than those who just stay with Studio as the only tool. This is more common in e.g. the Java community, where developers have choice.

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Ethan Estes
Ethan Estes United States
3/16/2008 10:30:25 AM #

Deep Zoom is nothing new or unique.

http://theflashblog.com/?p=351

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/17/2008 2:35:21 AM #

Hey Ethan

"Deep zoom is nothing new"

Granted the idea of zooming into a picture is nothing new. It was pioneered by Blaise Aguera http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/129 and has been around for a few years. The flash version you show above is Jerky, Slow and unlike its Silverlight counterpart is not natively supported.

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David
David United States
3/17/2008 7:56:39 AM #

Hello,

Your thesis is wrong because the data you are using with Google trends is incomplete.  The fact is that right now Adobe is ahead in the buzz according to Google trends, not MSFT.  It all depends on what you compare.  Silverlight is a web player conceptually equivalent to Flash Player, not to Flex. That comparison is here: www.google.com/trends

Flex is an open source framework for building applications that run in the Flash Player, and its closest equivilent is probably XAML. Flex is ahead in that comparison too.

I tried to blend a few things together to get a more comprehensive view of who is "winning" the Google trends comparison and it is here:

www.google.com/trends

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/17/2008 8:08:46 AM #

David

Silverlight and XAML go hand in Hand. XAML is the presentation layer for silverlight.

Silverlight 2 is also an application framework like Flex, built on a cut down version of .net and WPF.

Therefore "Microsoft Silverlight" and "Adobe Flex" are the correct comparisons.

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David
David United States
3/17/2008 8:35:34 AM #

Martin,

No, that is not correct.  The fact is these are not easy to compare apples to apples.

Silverlight is a framework like Flex, but it is also a runtime like the Flash Player.  Many posts about Silverlight that show up on Google trends are about using Silverlight for video--the major thrust of Microsoft when it launched the 1.0 version, not using Silverlight as an RIA framework and runtime. I don't think google trends can get you a perfect comparison, but you will get a much better sense of the trend if you compare the sum of:

Flash Player + Adobe Flex + MXML + Flex Builder + "Adobe AND RIA" + Adobe AIR

vs

Microsoft Silverlight + XAML + Microsoft Blend + "Microsoft and RIA" + Microsoft WPF

Otherwise you are mixing all the promotion and discussion about Silverlight for Web video (comparison point: Flash Video, Flash Player) vs Silverlight for RIA (comparison point: Flex).

-David

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Matt
Matt United States
3/17/2008 8:51:46 AM #

I think that its entirely absurd to say that Flash developers are unlikely to adopt OOP practices. This has been happening in the Flash development community for years already, since Actionscript 2 gave us class based development. Not to mention all the books and open source projects that are available to Flash developers now. Flex is also not difficult for any relatively experienced developer to learn. There is no transition here, its simply another perspective of Actionscript. You are simply just uninformed and drinking the MS kool-aid.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/17/2008 9:13:52 AM #

I understand your point but I just had to comment when you said I should be comparing Flash with silverlight:

Just To clarify:
"Silverlight Player" is a player like "Flash Player"
Silverlight is an Application Framework like Flex.

Mixing Flash Player + MXML + Flex etc isn’t helpful since I want to take an overview of a general trend. The more Technical terms that are used the less accurate the results returned will be since how do we know what terms to be using to make a fair comparison. Surly the fairest way is to use the companies headline promotional Names.

Plus why would I want to exclude promotion? Promotion is Buzz too isn't it?

I'm open to opinions on this one.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/17/2008 9:22:52 AM #

Hi David.

Is it absurd?

None of the flash guys I work with understand polymorphism for example. They maybe able to create a class but do they truly understand OOP? If you agree that in general Flash developers came from design backgrounds rather than computer science backgrounds that at most they will have 2 or 3 years of development experience.

I think other commenter’s on this post have noted that allot of the developing talent in Flex is coming from the Java Community rather than from the Flash community. I'd agree obviously that the Java community are more than capable of OOP.

As for the Microsoft Kool-aid? Well I admit that in this post: www.thewayithink.co.uk/.../...out-Silverlight.aspx


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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward United States
3/17/2008 10:43:03 AM #

Umm, Martin . . .

I just tried that Google trends search you mentioned. And, yes, there has been a noticeable upturn in Silverlight searches. But only since mid-February! That's not long enough to confirm a trend, even in 'Internet years'.

And when you drill down into the data _by subregions_ (at least for the US), you discover that the dis-aggregated data doesn't support your thesis. In fact, EVERY region but ONE in the US shows Flex leading Silverlight, sometimes by an overwhelming margin. For example, look at the break-down for San Jose and Boston--the two major regions for Web & Software development in the US (and, arguably, the world): the number for Flex in Boston looks to be about 10X higher; in San Jose it is about *35X higher* (as far as I can tell from the thumbnail charts).

Oh, that one region in the US where interest in Silverlight is higher than Flex? The state of Washington, which is notable in Software and Web circles as being the home of--wait for it--yes, Microsoft corporation! Could it be Microsoft astroturfing? Or could it just be Microsoft's people trying to improve their internal job marketability? Who cares . . .

Sorry, but the actual data you cite doesn't support your thesis, when examined in detail.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/17/2008 12:46:25 PM #

Anonymous Coward

Mid Feb was obviously the Mix 08 Conference, that’s when silverlight 2.0 was released. If you look at the trend you will see that Silverlight has gained momentum since mid way through 2007 and has risen at a greater rate than Adobe Flex for the later part of 2008.

If you constrain the date range to only 2008 then you’ll notice “Microsoft Silverlight” beats “Adobe flex” in all listed subregions apart from California and Massachusetts.

Last 30 days. Silverlight wins in all listed subregions.

I think the data does prove the trend.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
3/17/2008 1:32:21 PM #

annous

The theme I'm using is now CSS and XHTML valid. Thanks for pointing it out Smile

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Matt
Matt United States
3/18/2008 9:00:14 AM #

My name is not David...at any rate. There are certainly a lot of Flash "developers" out there. In other words, designers who happen to know a little bit code that they can get by with. But if you look at most of the more complex projects, applications, websites, etc built with Flash, you will realize that you've made a complete assumption that is far from the truth. When you're not involved in the community how can you say something of the sorts? And however hired the Flash guys you work with needs to rethink the requirements for that job position.

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pcdinh
pcdinh Vietnam
3/19/2008 4:56:42 AM #

Flash and Adobe developer tools and communities are everywhere. Silverlight is nowhere out of Visual Studio fan boys

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Dominic Messenger
Dominic Messenger United Kingdom
4/4/2008 2:13:13 PM #

As a long time MS and more recently Flex Developer, I can see both sides of the argument.

Flash has much better penetration and only time and a lot of money will tell whether SL will reach the same levels. But Flash has some serious legacy issues that will hinder it as a delivery platform for real enterprise RIAs in the future (async-only and continuations-only being a major one).

From a developer perspective it's all about what you know and how productive you can be. As a VS user (and Intellij for Java) the Eclipse-based FlexBuilder environment reduces my productivity significantly. I am sure Eclipse developers will find the reverse is true. I don't see my view as being narrow-minded, just using common sense. My personal preference is VS - and no-one is gonna convince me otherwise.

That is the crux of the matter. Neither Adobe nor Microsoft are playing to their competitor markets. Why can't we have a Flex Addin for VS-2005, or a C#/VB/.NET compiler in Eclipse? Why do I have to "escape from VS 2005" when building a Flex front-end? Why do I even have to "escape from C#" into Actionscript for the purpose?

Both Silverlight and Flex/Flash boil down to OOP languages compiling to bytecode running on a browser VM. What we really need is the ability to write in the language of our choice (Actionscript.NET anyone?) compiling down to the bytecode of our choice (CIL/AVM2) that will run on the VM of our choice (AVM or CLR). What we have is two environments that don't overlap at all. If I want to use Silverlight CLR as a delivery platform then I must use Silverlight CoreLib, a .NET language and VS2008. If I want to use Flash, then I must use Flex, Flexbuilder and Java/Blaze.

I'm just waiting for the third party apps that will allow me to write C# and compile it down to ABC to run on Flash, or using Eclipse to develop, compile and deploy .NET apps.

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Gary Funk
Gary Funk United States
4/11/2008 1:05:59 PM #

Here is where your thinking goes down the wrong path; "Flex grew out of Flash..."

They are totally two different breeds.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
4/11/2008 2:54:01 PM #

Gary

They are different breeds, but you can't deny that Flex grew out of Flash in the same way as .net grew out of C++ and Vb.

Do you not think that flex is just an OOP version of flash? I've always seen Flex as a direct evolution of flash.

How do you see flex and flashs relationship?

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Matt
Matt United States
4/11/2008 6:50:12 PM #

Martin,

You're really starting to show your lack of knowledge here. Flex is not an "OOP version" of Flash. Flex is an application framework written in ActionScript 3. Its just a library of a bunch of tools (UI, data, connectivity, etc) all written in ActionScript that Adobe maintains. In the end, Flex IS Flash. I makes no difference whether you're working in Flex Builder, the Flash IDE, or a text editor. In the end its all ActionScript compiled into an .swf file.

Flash has always given developers the option to develop entirely using OOP approaches once ActionScript 2 came around. ActionScript 3 is 100% ECMA compliant and the API is entirely OOP. Flex gives developers, NOT designers, an easy way to create applications using Flash that was otherwise relatively difficult. Before Flex, Flash developers had to roll their own UI, remoting, data frameworks/classes. You can see plenty of these examples and efforts by searching for "open source actionscript framework" on Google. These existed long before Flex every came around. Developers had been writing OOP based apps and websites using these frameworks or their own techniques and compiling it with the Flash IDE! Do you really have any idea how Flash content is made?

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
4/12/2008 1:41:12 AM #

Hi Matt.

Yes it is a application framework.

Can i ask you quickly what you think a framwork is? It's just a code library generally consiting of a collection of ojects . Thats what I meant when i quickly said that flex is an OOP version of flash. I realise that i was distilling the answer but I just quickly wanted to get across the point across to gary that flex came from flash and is an evolution from it.

I've worked on a number of flash sites over the years and have developed a few Flex apps over the past year. I have a pretty good understanding of how flash content is made.

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Matt
Matt United States
4/12/2008 9:36:16 AM #

You don't have to ask me what a framework is, I explained that in my last comment. When I said tools I assumed I was talking to a developer who would understand that a tool is a component or class or specific object type. At any rate, like I said, OOP Flash content has been around for a long time. But to say Flex came from Flash is quite an odd statment. Flex didn't come FROM it. Its not an evolution of it either. Flex is just an implementation of Flash. If you created your own application framework in .net would you say that your framework is an evolution of .net? Flex came from Macromedia, who recognized that Flash developers were rolling their own frameworks and components and decided that they could make a pretty awesome, full fledged, framework that would serve a particular part of the Flash developer market and hopefully attract other developers to the platform.

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Martin Beeby
Martin Beeby United Kingdom
4/13/2008 6:58:38 AM #

Hi Matt.

Prehaps i should have said, flex is an evolution of the Flash Dev Enviroment. I'm not saying Flex is an Evolution of flash player.

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Scott Barnes
Scott Barnes Australia
4/13/2008 9:01:12 PM #

Both will nail each other on different contexts and reasons beyond what most imagine or think. I think it's important to note here, that this post will not likely come to an agreed conclusion (interesting read on various perspectives on the matter).

The important walk away point of all folks, is this is not a Zero Sum Game. Both these technologies have merit and depending on whom you are, what you follow and where you want to be, they will suite.

Flash won't die, neither will Silverlight they will both continue to have success and co-exist.

-
Scott Barnes
Product Manager
Microsoft.

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AndyChou
AndyChou People's Republic of China
4/17/2008 11:20:39 AM #

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andrew
andrew United States
5/21/2008 3:50:01 AM #

I see an increasing amount of Flex job postings and I have never seen anything for silverlight.  Flex 3 is nice, works, and many statups are using it now.  Silverlight is playing catchup from my perspective.  I suspect MS will eventually get a good share of the market but Flex is will stand as well.  And the idea that OO UI people are not going to Flex because of its designer roots is absurd.  Flex integrates really well with Java via Blaze.  The Java + Flex stack is sweet and this pulls in Java developers into the Flex world.

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riog
riog Austria
10/6/2008 2:38:23 AM #

I'm a Developer and not a Designer and worked with Flash since 6.0 = Actionscript 1. And with 20 programming languages in the pocket i don't care what language i'm using. But the obvious huge benefit of Flex is Open Source! I'm acctualy migrating from my own Library to Flex because I know if i miss anything in Flex I can put it in. With the other benefits being over 90% penetration of Flash and so many Designers working with it for years. And I'm acctuly a VS Programmer with only 2 years of Java background.

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bafghane
bafghane Germany
8/26/2009 4:52:42 PM #

SL 3 has been released. Me as a developer never never did flex or air. Most time yet, i did java, html & css & javacript/Ajax, C# and beginning Silverlight now. Eclipse for example is a nice IDE for (not only) java, but i did with visual studio as well. And actually i like VS! But if your doing SL stuff and do not want to go with VS, in fact there is a Eclipse plugin for Silverlight too, with all the stuff like a design view and IntelliSense and so on!

In fact i do not know about the adobe stuff, but with sl your going to have managed code in your client. And from a developers point of view, this is a great benefit, because you don't have to stuck with messy javascript/ajax, css sh*t, which are interpreted differently by most browsers. Imagine to write your app once and it will look same everywhere! Also there is a new Navigation Framework in Sl which supports Deep linking and navigation in browsers, so sl content could be indexed by search engines.

And as far as i know you can even interact with other servers simply by using webservices. But what is concerning me is that all of this comes from MS, who else!

SL is not only about media content or just making thing looking nice.
I'm not a MS dude, but me personally would go that far to even say that SL in fact has the power to change the complete web and put it on another level. And, as i mentioned before, from a developers point of view, the programming model is much more coharent, and that is why it will be a success!

So i have put together some facts and i do know you cats might have another opinion, so just chill cause this is just my point of view!

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