The history of flex


kickin’ it old school. Flex gets a lot of Flac for some reason, but it introduced data binding quite a long time ago. For some reason, the Flex framework is met with quite a bit of distaste, so much so that in certain circles I actually am not comfortable talking about the fact I developed front end applications in flex for 2 years.

After working with Flex, Meteor is so intuitive to me that I picked it up almost immediately. So , conceptually I think it had some good idea.

I just wonder why Flex gets such a bad rap. I’m not here to defend it, but I think it’s weird that people think it’s so bad, is it really that bad? And why does noone feel that strongly about Sliverlight?


One of the reasons why Flex/Flash and Silverlight got a bad rap - they were closed source products developed by single company. Flash still works really bad on Google Chrome running on Ubuntu. There also was little competition between browsers?

.NET was sortof similar in my view - closed, developed solely by MS, and Mono was years behind. Although, .NET didn’t fall behind as much as Flex did.


The flex sdk was free and open source since 2008. “Flex Builder” aka “Flash Builder” was an IDE by adobe that cost money, but you could compile and build flex projects without their IDE.

The lack of alternative runtimes and flash players was a problem, I think that’s what you are saying. Right around 2010 some really interesting projects started like Smokescreen , which was a javascript runtime for the binary swf. There were also many transpilers cropping up at the time like Google’s swiffy.
But, none of these projects gained much traction because CSS3 was getting really good, and javascript UI libraries were getting so good there was no real compelling reason to produce web apps for the flash player unless you were streaming video.
There are some open source flash players for linux, but I don’t know how good they are.

In general I think that there a lot of good ideas in the worfklow and constructs of some of these older frameworks that maybe get looked over since the projects never gained traction or failed somehow. Or perhaps 90% of an old framework or language is terrible, but 10% of it was really good, so let’s focus on that good part.
For example, VRML is really interesting, really old school virtual reality in the browser. Objective J seemed ahead of its time, at least the UI components it could render were pretty mind blowing at the time.

I just wonder if there are any great gems in these old projects which were irrelevant at the time but make perfect sense now. Maybe I’m just too nostalgic of a person and need to let go :slight_smile: So much new stuff is coming out everyday that it’s hard to keep up with, and also try out some older frameworks and ways of programming.


Flash Builder IDE is buggy, I have abandoned the whole code right after Adobe announced of moving over to Apache community.

Cairngorm, Robotlegs and others pureMVC was steep learning curve to be adopt widely.

It’s interesting that HP printers frontend app are based on Flex.