Welcome!

Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, PR.com Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, Java IoT, ColdFusion, Machine Learning , Silverlight

Adobe Flex: Article

Can You Use Flex Communication Protocols for Mission-Critical Trading Applications?

Answering James Gosling's Flash Player Comments

Redmond Developer News has published an interview with Dr. James Gosling, creator of the Java language, where among other things, he talks about JavaFX and  competing technologies. And he made a comment I can’t agree with. Here’s the quote from that interview:

As organizations think about building rich Internet applications or rich client applications, when should developers look at JavaFX over competing technologies? If you look at something like Flash, when you get to the much more advanced stuff -- richer interfaces, more complex network protocols, more complex APIs -- it really falls short. We've had a platform for years that can build rich Internet applications that are extremely sophisticated.”

Before even going into technical details explaining why this statement is wrong,  let me tell you that if someone would ask me to name a dozen of the most respected people in the industry, James Gosling would be one of them. Because of him, I live in a nice house and drive a nice car – I’ve been doing Java for the last 10 years.  If James had not invented Java, I’d be probably still working with PowerBuilder, writing that it’s the best thing since sliced bread. 

But let’s go to the essence of the accusations. Dr. Gosling does not attack the presentation and delivery abilities of Flash Player because Flash Player is today’s leading delivery mechanism  for rich Internet applications. He addresses network protocols, something that may not be as easy to argue. So let’s talk protocols.

In 2007, my colleague and I were invited by a financial company (a Java shop) to assess if they could create an Internet version of their trading application using Flex. They did not have any doubts the GUI part should be done in Flex and delivered to their customers by Flash Player. Using AJAX for such an application would be crazy.

Sun’s long history of ignoring Java as a platform for delivering Internet applications ruled Java applets out. A dancing Duke made his short appearance in 1995 and was forgotten by Sun for the next 10 years. Can you imagine Amazon or Google using Java as a front end for their applications? It’d be insane – they’d lose half of their customers trying to persuade them to use Java applets - each of them has different version of JRE and installing the right one requires a college degree in computers.  I hope this situation will change with the introduction of the Consumer JRE later this year, but we are not there yet.

Anyway, this financial company was not sure if the communication protocols offered by Flex were robust enough to provide reliable and guaranteed message delivery and could be extended to accommodate the specific needs of this application, such as adding the application-specific quality of service (QoS) information right to the packets sent over the network from the Flash client to Java server-side application. They wanted some other things too, such as message throttling in case of network congestion and more.

Flex offers a server-side piece called LiveCycle Data Services ES, which comes  with a couple of fast communication protocols: AMF – a binary protocol that makes calls over HTTP from client to server (polling), and RTMP – real time messaging protocol that supports real time push from the server to the Flash client.  By the way, AMF goes open source in a month or so (see BlazeDS).  Security is similar to Java applets (sandbox) and you can use RTMPS instead of RTMP. Java offers RMI protocol for RPC and JMS for messaging.  RTMP is easy to integrate with other messaging systems via JMS. RTMP is built using Java non-blocking IO and it supports the data push needed in most Web applications.

Under the hood,  AMF and RTMP protocols implement object serialization,  so an instance of a Java object gets serialized on one end and is re-created as an instance of the ActionScript object on the client inside Flash Player, which is nothing else but a VM. On the way back, an ActionScript object is serialized on the client and gets re-created in the server’s JVM as a Java object.

One of the most important features of the Flex framework is that it’s extendable. The server side of the implementation of these protocols is written in Java, and the client side in ActionScript 3. To make the story short, we were able to extend the communication channels, end points, message consumers and producers to enrich RTMP protocols to the client's specification. Now the messages about trading orders and executions travel happily between the Flash client and Java server.  We've also added a two-way RPC-over-messaging in a symmetrical way. 

This project was an example of a nice marriage between  Flex and Java in a Wall Street application. If Flex has weak spots, it’s slow compiler and a mediocre (by Java standards)  Eclipse-based IDE. Since Flex is open sourced now,  I hope that some third-party company will create a better IDE and improve the compiler.

But as of now, I’m pretty happy with using both Java and Flex technologies, and the good part is that it’s not an either-or situation – just use the right tools for the job. There is no need to lobby for any particular language. As for JavaFX, I wish it would start competing with Flex and Silverlight as soon as possible. The more the merrier.

Some time ago I said to my kids, “Even if, God forbid, you commit a crime, Mom and I will still love you and will try to protect you to the very end. You are our kids and we love you regardless of your achievements and personal qualities.” It seems that James Gosling has the same principles and protects his baby no matter what. I respect this but have my reservations.

James Gosling's fan,
Yakov Fain

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

Comments (4)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and Bi...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get tailored market studies; and more.
Tapping into blockchain revolution early enough translates into a substantial business competitiveness advantage. Codete comprehensively develops custom, blockchain-based business solutions, founded on the most advanced cryptographic innovations, and striking a balance point between complexity of the technologies used in quickly-changing stack building, business impact, and cost-effectiveness. Codete researches and provides business consultancy in the field of single most thrilling innovative te...