You might ask “Why not stay with the MySQL/PHP/HTML web pages? I know how to do that”. That was fine in the 1900′s, its now 2010 as I write this, we need to step up the presentation factor and we can.
Why Adobe Flex/Flash?
Because Flash works well, is constantly advancing and its installed on 98-99% of all computers. Adobe’s Flex Builder 3 and the 2010 version called Flash Builder 4 are very high level tools for building real applications that look great and work on ALL computers. Yes, the Flex/Flash Apps even look good on my Linux box.
Add the fact that with the 10.1 version of Flash coming out in 2010, most every smartphone will support Flash, it makes for a universal platform more so than any other possibly except for Java. Bonus feature: A cross-compiler for Flash to native iPhone is now available.
I resisted Flash for a long time as I associated it with the indulgent “Click to Skip Intro” videos that are always in the way of what I wanted. After seeing what Adobe Flex can do for me as a software developer, I am completely sold on this development environment. For me, Flex is “Flash for Grownups”.
Its been around a long time, is constantly advancing, very mature and feature rich, robust enough for the most demanding applications and 100% Open Source. You can pay EnterpriseDB for a support contract, they have 95 people on staff for that purpose. Or just use the free Open Source product for free. Many hosting companies now offer both MySQL and PostgreSQL making that choice easier. The live Flex “Players” demo runs on PostgreSQL 8.1 that my hosting company, Hostmonster, installed and provided for no extra cost.
Why use Zend Action Message Format (AMF) in PHP?
Standard client / server technologies move blobs of text around. Adobe has developed the AMF protocol as a way of sending data in a compressed, binary form that is exceedingly faster than other methods. As this AMF standard is open, the Zend people have married it into their Zend Framework software (in PHP) or you can just grab the Zend AMF part if you like.
The biggest reason is that Adobe officially supports AMF as a “best practice”. Its standard, its fast, it supports sending/receiving data in the right formats and its Free. Flash Builder 4 will automatically install Zend AMF when asked to do so, so its practically built in.
So with all these technologies rationalized, lets get on with how to make this work.