Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Flex Needs Some New Thinking

Anyone who's used Ruby or another dynamic language (I suppose Python is good, but I can't stand the syntax and whitespace-nazism) and started to really grok it and what you can do with a dynamic language with a friendly syntax generally feels a resistance from deep down in their soul-area when they have to go back to Java-land or worse.

I feel less of that resistance when I switch from Ruby to ActionScript via Flex, but it's still there. Especially since I know that a lot of dynamic capabilities are available, but bad for performance and confusing to other developers expecting the more common approaches.

I happen to like Cairngorm just fine, although a lot of people complain about its red tape and preponderance of boilerplate code and I would be happy to use something less bloaty. I like PureMVC as well, but I don't find it to be any better than Cairngorm at what people usually complain about Cairngorm for. There's nothing wrong with Cairngorm that a code generator and Prana won't fix for me, but I'm a little set in my ways, nothing against PureMVC at all.

In fact any of the other frameworks that are popping up as alternatives to Cairngorm, PureMVC, or Roll-your-own, like Mate and Swiz are mostly just cutting down on clutter, but using the same ideas. There's merit to that, but I want to see what thinking like a Rubyist could do for us.

I'd like to try to learn from the dynamic language community and try some new thinking and new approaches to solving framework issues, and it's good to see others thinking about it too:

Jay Fields has got a lot of experience from the Rails and Rails testing world and has some great thoughts on testing in Flex and on Flex in general that resonate with me. I'm excited to see some favorable views on Flex from the Rails community and I hope it continues so we can get some new thinking, new techniques, and get that stuff recognized and incorporated in the Flex community.