A good friend of mine, Jake, recently visited Orlando raving about Adobeâ€™s Flex, and how it was going to make Flash development for people who think in HTML and Object-Oriented programming much simpler and faster. I went looking into Flex and discovered OpenLaszlo. Laszlo used to be a Flash-only framework, but it can now publish DHTML just as easily, and with a few added bonuses you donâ€™t get with Flash, like including an iFrame.
Am I raving? Iâ€™m not allowed to rave, because I havenâ€™t tried both systems, but from where Iâ€™m sitting this is another situation where an equal amount of training and no expensive development tools are going to get your job done in the same amount of time, and end up being more flexible, easily extended and powerful. You can convince any boss of that if youâ€™ve got all the information.
Under the hood from Wikipedia:
Laszlo applications can be deployed as traditional Java servlets, which are compiled and returned to the browser dynamically. This method requires that the web server be running the OpenLaszlo server.
Alternatively, Laszlo applications can be compiled from LZX into a binary SWF file, and loaded statically into an existing web page. This method is known as SOLO deployment. Applications deployed in the manner lack some functionality of servlet-contained files, such as the ability to consume SOAP web services and XML remote procedure calls.
Hear that? Static! One score for Flex is the ability to run as a desktop app (using AIR/Apollo), but that requires a download, and thatâ€™s a no-no on the internet.
Do you know Pandora uses Laszlo? Thatâ€™s a pretty app, and yes it runs in Flash, but I bet it doesnâ€™t have to. The Behr ColorSmart app is pretty nice too, and no hand-keyframed Flash? Love it. Wikipedia says Yahoo!, Earthlink and the Internet Archive are known to use Laszlo as well. I like those websites too.
Last but not least, itâ€™s open source! Published under IBMâ€™s Common Public License, which is a less-lawsuit inspiring type of GPL. Flex is supposed to be published under the Mozilla licensing, but that version is still in beta. Laszlo has been open source for 3 years now. Eat it, Adobe. Iâ€™m not giving you guys another penny.
Iâ€™ll be very proud to integrate some Laszlo apps into Petentials, which is built entirely on open source software - Drupal, PHP, MySQL, Apache and Linux.
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