Flex RIA Articles – Part 1 (Prototyping and Architecture)

7 November, 2006

Prototyping and Architecture

Some basic architecture concerns are currently being addressed.
Multi-Swf architecture was required due to the application’s size.
This is where Flex moves into 6th gear while Flash is stuck in 5th. Roger Gonzalez http://blogs.adobe.com/rgonzalez/ has a great primer on the requirements for multi-swf’s communicating with each-other. With this and RSL’s in my artillery a new paradigm of thinking is required. This then lead me to contemplate further about shared code bases and the options available that I will discuss in detail in subsequent posts.


I figured that this would also require me to get more familiar with command line compiling, compiler arguments and ANT.

We are using Cairngorm in the prototyping stage. It is a pleasure to work with Flex Builder 2 and the Cairngorm framework. I feel a lot more productive than compared to my SE|PY and AS2 environment. Flex Builder features such as code-completion, dynamic help and the visual builder absolutely rock, although I would still like to see Refactoring and other Eclipse JDT tools added.

I have now just started on the prototype for the ‘Shell’ application.
Dealing with component based view is a practice that served me well in Flash development and is well suited to flex. The introduction of containers and viewstacks to the mx framework is a welcome inclusion.

Coding in MXML is a lot quicker than in Actionscript. To create containers and initiate Binding is a very efficient use of MXML and has been a pleasure to use. Previously I would code only in Actionscript. I now code my views first in MXML adding Actionscript as required.
I look at MXML as a compositing language. I use it to compose my artwork and then make it come alive with AS3.

The efficiency of developing in MXML gives developers new decisions to make when developing a codebase that is to be shared amongst multiple applications. I’ve just built a login panel component. Now I know that I will have a use for the same login component over many applications, the question is; do I build a full blown, customisable component in AS3 that meets all requirements or do I knock one up quickly in MXML and add app-specific requirements on each implementation?

My conclusion is that during the prototype stage I will use app-specific MXML components because they are quick to develop and potentially re-develop them in AS3 as I see the need arise.

Anyway, I hope this was understandable.


3 Responses to “Flex RIA Articles – Part 1 (Prototyping and Architecture)”

  1. […] Flex RIA Articles – Part 1 (The Background) Flex RIA Articles – Part 1 (Front to Back Development) Flex RIA Articles – Part 1 (Prototyping and Architecture) […]

  2. Ed Says:

    It is interesting to read your experiences as a professional Flex developer. Please keep posting!

    I am currently playing with Flex by writing small applications with the Cairngorm framework, but hope to move to larger ones.

  3. rockwell Says:

    I feel a lot more folks require to read this, very excellent info.

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