Apache Flex is Now a Top Level Project

On 19th of December 2012, Flex SDK made it – it’s now a Top Level Apache Project, and you can check it’s website here : http://flex.apache.org . A big thank you for the community and all the people who made it possible! Thank you community for mentioning me on the December 2012 news, regarding components donation. Worth mentioning that Yiotis Katsambas has already submitted a bug for the components and I’ve fixed it – which shows that the community is really active : those of you that want to follow progress of everything should check the flex-dev mailing list.

After discussing with my friends regarding expectations and the future of Flex SDK, I think that some clarifications are required, so here they are.

First, those of you that expect an IDE produced by Apache Flex community – like my friend George is – I suggest to start writing it yourself and donate it to the Apache Flex project. Personally I’m using Adobe Flash Builder 4.7. Alternatives are IntellJ and FlashDevelop. In my opinion, writing a better IDE would imply a huge amount of work.

Regarding the future of this great SDK, there are various opinions from rewriting it completely to making it deliver JavaScript ( Alex Harui is working on a compiler version that is supposed to do so). I think that critical time has passed and the death of the project danger is gone : Flex made it into a full Apache citizen, now it’s only a matter of keeping the community busy in filling the existing gaps.

You could ask yourself what motivation these people have, that makes them contribute to the SDK in the way they are doing. I’m motivated by the speed and quality of the applications that I’ve built using Flex. I will not go (yet) building an administration page in JavaScript, even if it evolved nice and it’s more powerful than when I’ve left it. Adobe made sure that we can natively serialize and deserialize JSON into Flash player, therefor you don’t even need to write two sets of services (AMF and JSON).

For desktop applications, Flex is for me the best tool : from building an application that synchronizes MySQL with a sqlite  database, by connecting directly to MySQL, to building an server application that synchronizes a mobile device collected data with a SAP server, FTP uploader application that can resume uploading from where it was stopped, code generator application that writes classes in both ActionScript and PHP just by pointing out the MySQL database, sequential robots that performs tasks siting nicely in the background and that respects CPU consumption and works only when computer is not doing heavy tasks. And all that deliverable to multiple platforms.

The why I should leave a safe ground where I have accumulated a huge amount of experience, to the point of writing my own inversion of control framework ? Why should I flee away after the bad management decision which brought Flex to the community ? I was indeed skeptic the next day, fearing the community won’t be so great in solving problems or the speed would be too slow and Flex will disappear.

Nothing of that happen! Flex is here to stay, so please stop predicting it’s death. It’s at it best maturity, after two paradigm shifts that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m really looking forward for FalconJS and I’ll support Flex SDK the way I can : creating components, fixing bugs, donating time and code.