Flash in the Pan

Apple Insider is running a very interesting series of articles about Adobe Flash and its future. The first article in the Flash Wars series covered the history of Flash. The second part jumps in to all the hurdles and competitors Flash faces, from Microsoft to Apple.

I sat in on most the Flex track at Dallas TechFest, and it is an interesting technology. But I also share the same opinion as the author of the AppleInsider artice — Flash/Flex has a rough road ahead of it. One of the biggest points that I think a lot of folks won’t notice in the article is the suggestion that open standards are a competitor to Flex. By open standards, they mean Ajax, JavaScript, CSS and HTML. I reached the same conclusing after playing with some of the first-rate JavaScript libraries out there like JQuery and ExtJS.

ExtJS, in particular, can do about everything Flex can do, and do it without a browser plug-in. It also has APIs around the non-visual aspect of applications that put Flex to shame. Although ExtJS has licensing issues which I’ve griped about before, if you accept it at face value as a commercial product, it really is the best thing going right now for building RIAs.

2 thoughts on “Flash in the Pan”

  1. There is no question ExtJS has some wonderful components. However, if you try using many ExtJS components in a large app you will quickly see your browser consume more and more memory. I am developing a large ExtJS app and after 5-10 minutes of use the browser is taking up over 500 megs of memory. Many threads on the ExtJS forums post similar problems and unfortunately they don’t all appear to be getting fixed. This is something you would not have to deal with as much using Flex. The plugin controls the memory management and you don’t have to rely on different browsers doing different things and causing memory leaks.

  2. Hi David,
    What browser is your ExtJS application using? We’ve seen some large memory footprints in our AJAX-heavy applications, but I’ve also heard horror stories on Flex applications too. There is some massive competition going on right now between Mozilla, Apple and Google to improve the JavaScript performance in browsers, so the situation is only going to get better. Adobe is the only entity behind Flash, so I don’t see it getting the same number of braincells burned on it.
    -Tim

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