Forced to FLEX

Sat, Jan 10, 2009 2-minute read

I am on a project where we are delivering a web-based mapping application to the client.  The application has gone through every UI scenario you can imagine: Virtual Earth in Sharepoint to ArcGIS Server Web ADF to ArcGIS Server Javascript API to (presently) ArcGIS Server Flex API.  The Flex decision was made against my recommendations.  I don’t have a lot of ammo against Flex, but I was born and raised in JavascriptTown, HTMLandia.  I have read some HTML/JS vs Flex posts and seen all kinds of opinions, and my research has led me to the one true answer to this debate:  It depends.

As with many technical decisions you meet when creating applications for the web, you need to let your context by your driver.  Trust me, I wanted to take HTML Hill and dig in for the victory-or-death battle, but the client liked a couple of Flex sites.   I mean really liked them.  So, rather than just fight the “but that doesn’t look like Flash” battle constantly (even though I think we could win…let it go…let it go…) we are using Flex.

So, I am a lot like my kids eating their spinach.  They get why they have to do it, but they do it begrudgingly and with a nasty look on their faces.   And, much like the vegetable-hating youngsters, I am reaping some benefits:

While I still pine for my HTML/javascript/CSS/C#, writng the Flex stuff has been (and should continue to be)  a learning experience.  Speaking of learning, if anyone reading this has suggestions or approaches to unit testing or CI or anything else to a new bunch of Flex devs, please comment away.