Got a question today on skype over a developer from US, asking me some other things and finally all explanation gave to him he asked me if it worth to migrate a current built app done in Flex 3.x SDK to Flex 4 SDK.
Besides the fact of corporate world, Homologate than start using for first class projects, it’s worth at all to start using Flex 4 SDK. And now why?
To better help you here’s a list of things that you will consider before and after choose Flex 4 SDK:
Flex 4 vs. Flex 3:
Each other does not compete with each other, they work together and smooth, guys from Flex SDK team and their manager (Deepa), did an amazing job putting this to work smooth. You can easy use both Spark components and Halo components together without hassle. Both products SDKs was built to distinct goals. When Flex 3 SDK was shipped to the market was consolidating itself to solve most problem in industry of RIA applications, the easiness of doing incredible products with desktop behavior and data-ware prospect. Which includes a hell lot of new components, new charts capabilites and until today you still uses those creations. Flex 4 SDK was built to help ensure that thinking before, help not just creating easyness UI for applications but, do them beauty.
Today worlds we don’t just have desktops to use, we have mobile devices, devices of any kind and with the current look and feel of Flex components it’s hard to keep code up to date and still working on those types of screen/hardware. Where Flex 4 SDK came to close this gap, making beauty, usefull and maintanable your work.
Composite vs. inheritance
Still today you can do both with Flex 3 SDK. the 3th version and his variants can support composite, as you know Flex 4 SDK still uses the inheritance but main goal of Flex 4 SDK is composite components, more easy and fun to code, increasing among many other things that you will see in your day-by-day job.
To illustrate the easy of creating new components in Flex, please see theses slides from Mrinal Wadhwa, his slides explanation will let you know more about what I’m talking to.
When you have a mature SDK that let you know what you’re doing, it’s hard to keep distance from it. Sample of that people missunderstand that an mature SDK is that SDK that it’s out of the box components, just drag and drop and it’s working. In some parts is cool programming in that way for small, prototype and presentations. But in a real world you will have to costumise each component, don’t you? In Flex 3 SDK you have to handle pretty well and know all the behavior of Flex 3 Component life cycle. Many developers are still facing on how is the better approach. I admit that it was usual hard to get working. But in Flex 4 SDK life cycle of a component get ridiculous simple. You now can have decouple UI, you can split the design and logic ui in two files. Letting you do the hard part of costumization easy to you. Never been so easy to create and deploy your own custom components without worry to meet the qualified classes or behavior methods to declare in order to properly work. This is the past, from now one you will see in your future Flex 4 SDK projects how this become easy.
We have today a world that is slave of clock and everything that comes to you it’s for delivery yesterday, don’t happen with you? And to keep in track time and projects you need a tool, that facilitate all of these work, it’s basicly a give me what I want in the time I want. the new mxmlc compiler is twice fast than the old one in Flex 3 SDK. Part of that is to help the developer increase their producitivy and increasing that you have loved developers on your pocket. Team did a good job. In some cases for example I’ve notice that increased 4.3x times than before. It’s like I don’t need no more coffee break as sorry to producitivy.
Imaginated create that mo’ fc’ component you always wanted and don’t have the skills necessery to create? Simple, you can do design right? You have Flash Catalyst to do the dirt job to you. and it will compile to you a nicely tag component ready to be used for your developer. Their are still working on this tool to get worth using. But if you don’t want to wait, you can right now test a beta version of this tool in the Adobe Labs.
One of the principal concern is motivation on gains to move code on to new workflow of Flex 4 SDK does. A worth looking is the documentation that specify straight to the point where show all new way of doing in Flex 4. It’s not hard to update your current code, you just have to adapt, a sample of that I bet you will only need 40% of your current code migrated to Flex 4 SDK standards. If you do much use of States,HBox,VBox. I increase this value to 50% of code migration.
All theses worth mention can help you understand if worth right now to migrate to Flex 4 SDK. There’s another indirect benefits of start using Flex 4 SDK, like direct access to the new API of Flash Player, AIR, code execution faster, less open bugs on the database,etc. It’s now up to you decide.