Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Java EE and Flex: A Compelling Combination

My article Java EE and Flex: A Compelling Combination, Part 1 was published on JavaWorld today. I have presented on Java EE+Flex at Collaborate08 and at the Colorado Software Summit, but it was nice to be able to use an article to provide a little different focus on the compelling combination that Java EE and Flex make.

In the article, I introduce Flex features, concepts, and syntax while building a Flex application that gets its data from a Java EE server. The article articulates several general advantages of Flex in addition to advantages of Flex that are specific to Java developers.

The very simple Flex-based example built up in this article provides opportunities to look at several Flex features including some ActionScript 3.0 syntax, custom component creation, styling with CSS, and use of several built-in Flex components.

The article focuses on moving the example from a completely static application with highly redundant code to a leaner application supporting dynamic data population from a Java-based server and dynamic user interaction. The mechanism used in this article for communicating with the Java back-end is Flex's built-in HTTPService. I intentionally used the non-proxied HTTPService provided with the Flex SDK rather than BlazeDS's proxied HTTPService in this first part. In the second part, I will be introducing BlazeDS to the sample application.

I did not cover GraniteDS in this first part and will not be covering it in any detail in the second part. However, for a nice introduction to Flex+Java with GraniteDS, see Franck Wolff's Migrating Java EE Web Applications to Adobe Flex and Granite Data Services.

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