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

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, Java IoT

Adobe Flex: Article

Watching Java presentations with AJAX, Flex, AIR and JavaFX

An interview with Stephan Janssen, creator of Parleys.com

Y. I assume that the back end of Parleys is written in Java. Why did you decide to create Flex version of Parleys? Have you considered other technologies?

S. The back end is completely Java but our viewers were requesting more and more features that were very hard to accomplish using Ajax.
For example a full screen experience of the presentation, or off line viewing, changing the presentation templates (video only, slide/video, etc.), proper back button support, bookmarking of slides within a talk and much more.   In June 2007 I evaluated my RIA options and I made the following short list :  continue with Ajax,  JavaFX (in June 2007 this was not yet a production ready option),  Silverlight (no thanks  ;) which made me decide to look at  Flex 3 and AIR.

Y. I can understand why not AJAX. I also know the technical reasons why even .Net developers prefer using Flex to Silverlight.  But why just “No thanks”?  Have you even consider Silverlight?  Indeed, Silverlight was NOT a consideration because of religious reasons  ;)

S. We’ll release a full functional JavaFX version of Parleys.com @ JavaOne, which really looks very promising!

Y.  I'd love to see a real world application written in  JavaFX! The Flex interface looks great.  But can you briefly describe the architecture of the application? What communication protocols are being used to connect to the back end?

S. Both the AJAX and Flex/AIR version of Parleys.com use the same WebWork actions on the server and return JSON as the data format over (of course) HTTP.    The Flex application uses an MVC framework named Cairngorm and a small library to parse the JSON data.   The interface had to feel natural and intuitive and after several iterations my partner in crime Ben Dobler, came with a very nice result.  

Y. Why did you use Cairngorm? In my opinion it introduces unnecessary complexity to the projects, especially to the relatively small applications like Parleys.com.

S. The main reason to use Cairngorm was to introduce an MVC design within the Flex application. An alternative was PureMVC but at the time of the development this framework was unknown to us.

Y. I do not agree that  just introducing MVC to an application  is a good reason for introducing an overly complicated framework, but I guess it’s a matter of preferences. What features the AIR version of Parleys has that Flex one does not?

S. The AIR version of Parleys allows us to break out of the browser, however if the Flex version is running in your browser it will allow you to start the AIR application and even trigger downloads of presentations through the Flex application, very cool feature  :)  

The AIR application allows our viewers to download the talks on their desktop and view them offline, you can even add tags and comments to the timeline and once back online the application will synchronize the content !  As a result people can now watch the presentations during their train commute  or when internet is not fast enough.   

Y. Have you hit some roadblocks while developing this Flex/AIR application? Having extensive Java background, you can compare the tooling, ease of programming, available component libraries, community support... This is a loaded question, but I'm not really interested in getting the answer like "Flex is cool".  I know this much :). I'd rather wanted you to identify some problems there, and what would you like to improve in Flex.

The actual Flex/AIR development was done by Ben who had been doing Flash development for over 6 a 7 years.   However I did follow the Flex development from nearby and noticed that  Flex/AIR does have some short comings when it comes to testing.  Functional testing is still a very young story for this kind of environment and not that easy to accomplish.  The first products are appearing in Q1 but they are all early versions.    

Another Flex opportunity is the (AST based) static analysis tools we so love in the Java world, like Findbugs, PMD, Checkstyle etc.   For the moment this does not exist and as a result a decent continuous QA control is not really possible...

I think the biggest issue I have today with Flex is the hard time Google has to index your content, for the moment the only decent way to do this is to  have a static HTML version next to your existing Flex application... hopefully Adobe and Google will figure this one out ASAP !
Online Flex and AIR documentation is super and the forums and support we got from Adobe has been highly appreciated.

Y. I’d say that continuous QA control is not possible for free. Mercury offers the QA software for Flex, but it’s gonna cost you…  

S. Indeed, there are 3 functional testing solutions out there, one is from Mercury another from Borland and an early Ruby implementation called FunFX.

Y. Parleys was created for making videos of conference presentations available online. But I can see it as a useful tool for educators too. In particular, I'm planning to record a series of video lessons on Flex programming for Java programmers. Parleys looks like a great tool for this purpose. Are you planning to license Parley software and make it available for purchase?

S. For the moment I'm rewriting the server so it can support our publication client (in early alpha).  This publication client will allow people to assemble their talks and once finished, submit it on to our server in a very user friendly way.   Anybody that has great content and audio (and maybe even video) can just publish his/her talk on our dedicated servers... should be ready in a few months for testing :) So looking at the future business model for Parleys.com, I would prefer to offer this software as a service instead of a licensed product.   

Y. Offering this software as a service would require you to build an infrastructure that would guarantee that you subscribers will have enough of a bandwidth and an ability to stream video.  I'm sure you had to deal with such issues as connection bandwidth. How do you host and push these videos to the clients? Are you using commercial media servers or an open source Red5?  For the moment version one is using a progressive HTTP streaming server and the Flex/AIR version is using Red5. Have you done some stress tests to see how many concurrent users can watch the presentations on Parleys?

S. No, but the current beta test phase has not killed the red5 server for a single second!

Y. Thank you, Stephan!  I think your experience of re-creating the same application using different competing technologies is very valuable, and hope that one day you'll share your findings in a more technical article. Looking forward to watching new great presentations at Parleys!

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 (0)

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
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 B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...