Flex VS Silverlight

These days everybody in the web world is pushing RIA’s. We have the javascript frameworks like Scriptacilous,Dojo,GWT,… , we also have the browser plugin options like Silverlight,Flex,JavaFX. Probably I’m forgetting some here, but these are the ones I’m following.

As I worked with most of them (some more then others) my preference more and more leans to Flex for developing Web applications.


Well there are several reasons but probably one of the biggest reasons is the fact that Adobe has been releasing a lot of there core frameworks opensource. The Flex core is opensource, they recently released BlazeDS a Java framework for communicating in their own binary format with a Flash application.
For now the development platform (Flex Builder) still has to be bought, but if you want you can just use an Ant script to compile it.

Another big reason is the fact that Flash runs on Windows,Mac and Linux. Even the tool Flex Builder runs on those 3 OS’.

The fact that Flex can display a couple of thousand records in a Datagrid without crashing my browser is also nice. Try doing that with javascript (although I’ve seen a demo of a Dojo Datagrid displaying 100.000 records) but in most frameworks it just hangs your browser.

JavaFX is still in a early stage and IMHO is too little to late!

Microsoft offcourse is pushing their new Silverlight. I’ve seen some demo’s went to some workshops. And I have to admit it’s not bad but if you compare it to Flex, well hmm I’m not sure but they sure seem to be far behind. I just tried the tool Deep zoom (this was shown on mix 2008 as showcase for Silverlight 2) and I’m not really impressed. Compare it to this tool that was shown on Javapolis 2007 and you’ll see where I’m heading 🙂
On the other side Microsoft has the benefit that a Silverlight application can be written in the same language from Gui to backend. But I’m not sure if that’s really such a major advantage. If I look at friends and collegeaus they all seem to be doing some animation stuff with Flash for their customers. And most of them do it in Macromedia Flash MX. They also write code in there, the language is called ActionScript and is a real object oriented language. But these guys don’t know to much about building a large scale application. They do know however to write a nice Gui interface. So they can write components that can be used in Flex. So there Adobe also has a big advantage as they pretty much own the Graphics industry 🙂

One thing that most peeple however seem to overlook is the fact that with all these RIA applications the search engines will index much less of your page. If you for example have product catalog made with Flex,Silverlight or with one of the Javascript toolkits I’m not sure that they will be indexed by the spiders. But then again you can workaround this and always generate a Sitemap of your product catalog in plain Html. Hmm I wonder how many companies do that and how much money has been lost by companies who didn’t show up on top in a search engine because of this.
Another thing is that integration using links and parameters also gets a lot more complicated!

As I’m working with Flex at the moment you’ll here some more in the future.

PS I hope the upgrade of wordpress worked. Now I’m on 2.3.3 (currently latest stable release) If more SPAM should appear please notify me ASAP!!