In the blog entry The Popularity of Java + Flex, I talked about some signs of the increasing popularity of using Flex with Java EE back-ends. In this blog entry, I will build upon that entry and cover additional examples that, in my mind, demonstrate the increasing popularity of Flex as the client-side technology for enterprise applications with Java EE on the back-end. I want to emphasize that I really like Java SE and Java EE. However, I have found that the easiest way for me to deliver rich front-ends in a web browser backed by enterprise-strength software is with the coupling of Flex and Java EE.
One interesting development is the recent job change of Filthy Rich Clients author Chet Haase, a well-known advocate and significant contributor to Java Swing. Chet Haase left Sun to work at Adobe on Flex and Flex-related products. I do not think this necessarily indicates doom and gloom for Swing's future. Instead, it indicates optimism and potential for Flex as a client-side framework and library.
Speaking of Chet Haase and Adobe, the two authors of Filthy Rich Clients will be speaking at 2008 JavaOne Conference on "Filthy-Rich Clients: Filthier, Richer, Clientier" (TS-6611). Other presentations with Adobe speakers at JavaOne 2008 Conference include "Service-Oriented Architecture and Java™ Technology: Level-Setting Standards, Architecture, and Code" (TS-6887) and "LiveCycle ES: Adobe’s Java™ 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE Platform) SOA Platform" (TS-4841). Other Flex-related presentations at 2008 JavaOne Conference include Tony Constantinides's "Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex and Java™ Technology" (TS-5389) and Stephan Janssen's Birds of a Feather session "Parleys.com: An Adobe Flex/AIR and JavaFX™ Case Study" (BOF-4798). Finally, "So Many Faces: Web 2.0 XD Experience with JavaServer™ Faces and JavaFX™ Technology, Flex, and Windows Presentation Foundation" (TS-5349) covers building web applications with Flex and three other presentation technologies.
Adobe is certainly making an effort to support languages other than ActionScript and Flex. Flex includes many general communications mechanisms that work with Java and other back-end technologies as well as some communications mechanisms that are Java-specific. Also, a recent article states that Adobe has a research project looking into making other languages such as Ruby, Java, and C++ run on the Flash Player.
I don't see Flex as a "Java killer." In fact, I think the use of Flex for client side coupled with JEE for the server-side makes Java-based enterprise applications easier to develop, more beneficial to users, and more pleasing to users than ever before.