Apache Flex Update!

January 19, 2012By 15 Comments

It’s been quite the roller coaster in the Flex world these past few months to say the least! Now seemed like a good time for an update on the latest status of things.

Adobe Flex to Apache Flex
Adobe Flex is now Apache Flex (in case you’ve been under a rock lately or perhaps just discovered Flex ;)). It’s been contributed to the Apache community and is in incubator status. Incubator status is a holding place for a new Apache project and basically a gateway to it becoming a full-fledged project after a release or two. It was great news that it was accepted recently and I have no doubt it will quickly move out of this stage into a full-fledged project. The project has an amazing amount of traction so far, and it’s awesome to see all the activity! If you want to stay on top of the latest, subscribe to the mailing list here, (note that your inbox will be flooded so you might want to use a separate email to track it, it’s a high traffic mailing list :)). There are a bunch of extremely talented, well-known developers behind this project as well, which is huge and makes all the difference, in my opinion. The Open Spoon Foundation is also actively behind this project and if you aren’t aware of it, definitely make a point of checking it out. I attended the Flex Summit in December and learned a lot about the Apache process from Roy Fielding (Apache Co-Founder), with the biggest takeaway being that Apache projects are run as a meritocracy, so there is equal opportunity amongst all and that contributions of any kind, including code, bug fixes and documentation are welcome.

The State of Things…
So the big question everyone has been asking us, should we continue to build apps with Flex? I think the general consensus to be made is yes. There’s still a viable need for this technology and with the dedication and energy of the community so far I feel very positive about things. As I’ve stated before and will continue to state, as a developer you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in any one basket, and should be learning the latest technologies along with continuing your Flex development to ensure your relevance and development diversity, but Flex remains an excellent choice for the right type of application.

Here are some related links you should check out that I found very useful as a meter for what other great developers are thinking and doing:

Joseph Labrecque – Questioning the viability of Flex
Joao Saleiro – After 6 years doing Flex, am I moving to HTML5?
The Flex Show – Discussing the Future of Flex with Joseph Labrecque and Mark Ehlert

Hot Topics…
One big topic on the mailing list right now centers around a new logo for Apache Flex. The community held a contest (over 50 entries submitted!) and the submissions can be found here. The contest ended yesterday and now the voting process has begun. To vote you will need to start by subscribing to the mailing list. Once subscribed you can cast your votes with a point system defined in the mailing list. There are also some excellent summaries of what’s going on with the project being posted to this blog by Michael Schmalle (a current contributor). I would definitely make a point to skim those summaries to get a quick read on the status of things since it can be hard to keep up with the mailing list.

The following links are also useful to check out for more info:
The Flex Incubator Project
Contributors
JIRA Bug Tracking
Flex Incubator Status Page
The initial proposal from Adobe
Getting Involved

This Blog…
As far as me and my evangelism are concerned, I plan to continue to use Flex and blog about it as I have been. The 2012 Flex User Group Tour is about to start and my team will be visiting many locations over the next couple of months where we’ll discuss all the recent activity and announcements and talk about the latest 4.6 release. You can also plan on seeing some posts on other technologies as I’m exploring them myself. I will make a point of comparing them to Flex as I go along where possible. I’m also really looking forward to seeing what Adobe has in store this year to help utilize these other technologies like HTML5, JavaScript/jQuery etc and already excited by what I’ve heard! I will post information on these topics as I’m allowed :-).

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Comments (15)

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  1. Lionel says:

    Thanks Holly,

    Could not help but notice the absence of Florida on the 2012 Flex User Group Tour. Not even Tampa ? Any chance we get stop ?

    Thanks again.

  2. Hi Lionel! I know, I was waiting for someone to ask that ;). We are definitely planning to do a meeting here soon too, it’s just not on the official schedule yet for the tour. I will post about it as soon as we have a date! Cheers, Holly

  3. valley says:

    Hi Holly,
    do you know what will happen to Flash Builder ? I don’t think Adobe will continue with new releases, so is the version 4.6 the last one in its current state or what will be next when Flex is an Apache project ?

    Bests
    valley

  4. Baltazar says:

    Flex has to to go HTML5. The only way to survive.

  5. Cutter says:

    @Valley

    I don’t think Adobe has any plans to stop developing Flash builder. Adobe is in the business of creating development tools, and Flash Builder has become a very viable product for them. Adam Lehman (formerly the product manager for the ColdFusion server and ColdFusion Builder IDE) is the current Flash Builder product manager at Adobe, and last I heard he had a good roadmap going on, as well as active development on the new version.

    • valley says:

      Thank you for your answer, Cutter.
      Good news so far, and it’s also a statement that there is still a product manager for Flash Builder, and that this person hasn’t been moved to another project (e.g. HTML5).

    • Olivier says:

      If only Flash Builder could become open source, like most of Eclipse’s plugins…

  6. Peter says:

    The SDK has been open sourced for a while but the biggest complaint you hear about Flex in the browser is the Flash plugin. Does that mean Adobe is making the plugin source part of Apache Flex? I wouldn’t think so. So while I think it’s a great move to donate it to Apache, how will that help the plugin criticisms?

    As for HTML 5, since when have browser makers ever agreed upon how to implement any technology. To think it will be the magical salve to fix all web troubles, is foolhardy. The biggest blunder of the web is JavaScript and all the hacks needed to get anything to work with some sense of sanity.

    It’s like some giving you a choice between a Geo Metro and a Audi S5 and you choose the Geo because, “that’s what everyone uses”. But the masses aren’t known for choosing the best tools or products either; they follow hype and marketing.

  7. Tahir Alvi says:

    Hi,

    will the Apache focus on flex SDK or introducing new rich components in next release of Apache Flex like Calendar Control etc.

    Thanks

  8. I agree with Baltazar “Flex has to to go HTML5. The only way to survive.”

  9. Jeff Phelps says:

    Peter is spot on with his HTML5/HackerSCript assertions.

    HTML5/HackerScript is Pure hype. No where near the creative combination of Flex/ActionScript.

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