Martin @ Blog

software development and life.


Archive for April, 2008

Dutch Flex User Group

Yesterday, at the J-Spring 2008 event at Bussum in the Netherlands, the Flex User Group was officially launched. This group, called FLUGR, aims to support developers using Adobe Flex and AIR and promote the technology and inspire developers.

Coincidentally, today I had a one-day training in Adobe Flex. This training introduced a group of developers of Finalist to the Flex technology and especially focussed on integrating Flex with a JEE application using LifeCycle ES (or BlazeDS for that matter). The training, given by Mark van Hedel of the company Prisma-IT was pretty intense, but at the same time very educational. I didn’t have any experience with Flex or Flash, but have the feeling that now I know a little about the technology, and will definitely invest some more time to experiment with Flex.
Rich Internet Applications are a rather hot topic in the IT-industry nowadays, and I suspect it will be relevant for a developer to have at least some understanding of the technologies involved. However, I’m not sure what the best technology is for these kind of webapplications. Flex has the benefit of a large number of users that can run applications right away, because the Flash-player is installed on a large number of systems. On the other hand, you are stuck to (at this moment) one supplier (Adobe) and the Flash-player is not open source, which means that support on more exotic platforms, such as Linux and mobile phones is dependent on the mood of Adobe. Alternatives are Silverlight, which has the problems of Flash, but lacks the wide spread availability of the player, JavaFX, which is not really available yet and finally the HTML/JavaScript combinatilon. In my opinion, the battle will go between HTML/JavaScript and Flex, but maybe I’m very wrong at this.

Adobe is trying very hard to convince Java developers to use Flex, by being present at conferences (J-Spring was a good example of this) and by providing the source of the Flex compiler and BlazeDS. A usergroup like Flugr can be good to increase awareness of Flex. But I think the site of Flugr is a really bad example of how Flex should be used. The site is completely made in Flex, but I really don’t understand why they choose for this technology. The site could be exactly identical when developed in plain HTML with a bit of JavaScript. Using Flex for this site doesn’t really add any value to it, but does restrict a large number of users to view this site (because a Flash-player is required) and the usual drawbacks of Flash apply to this site. I thought Flash-only sites was a thing of the past, because they are not indexed by Google, lack the usual accessibility features provided by modern browsers, and the mouse wheel doesn’t work (at least on a Mac using Firefox 3 beta). The decision to create this site this way does more harm than good to the image of Flex.

The Next Web

Today started The Next Web, a conference about Internet-related startups. There are presentations of new companies and presentations from people who created succesful companies, like Digg.
A live videostream is available on the site of the event. It is interesting to see the new ideas people come up with. I particulary liked Zilok and find the nearest drill hammer which people offer. A really good idea I think, because it is obvious but has not been done yet. They seem to use Google Maps (or something very similar to it) for locating the stuff that is offered. You have to meet to deliver the stuff you offer for rent, but that is, I think, the power of this concept. However, before it really works, more items should be offered, because most of it is now offered in Belgium, which is a bit far for most people in The Netherlands.

Like all current events, there is a lot of coverage on weblogs and so on. Slandr has an overview of Twitter entries on the event. Erwin Blom has live coverage of the event on his weblog using Cover It Live (which is a nice tool…).

Irrelevant quoting at Groklaw

Last week, PJ from Groklaw wrote an article on the voting process for the OOXML format as a ISO-standard. For an unknown reason, she thought is was necessary to refer to a post on my weblog on a speech held by Raul Pesch of Microsoft in March 2005. On that post, also a reaction of Pesch was posted, and specifically this comment was the think PJ was referring to:

Microsoft Nederland’s Pesch gave a speech in 2005 at the University of Technology in Eindhoven, and there’s a blog entry on it by a student there, Martin Sturm. The funny part, to me, is that Pesch responded to the blog article in a comment, and he obviously used Microsoft software to copy and paste his comment in, because it’s almost unreadable in spots, due to Microsoft’s habit of extending standards.

It completely puzzled my why this comment was relevant to the post, because I think it is kind of pathetic to use these things to make your point. She pointed out that there are broken characters in the post, which she assumes is caused by copy/pasting the text from Word (or something). First, assumptions are the mother of al fuckups, but more importantly, it’s very likely that the problems in the post are caused by something else – for example, an incorrect character set used by my blog (I don’t know if that’s the case, but it is possible) or by an upgrade of WordPress which caused the problems.
Anyway, I think it not relevant to the whole issue the Groklaw article is about.

You are currently browsing the Martin @ Blog blog archives for April, 2008.