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From Organet Systems <organet...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Are we "nerd" driven or "business realistic" driven?
Date Mon, 01 Jul 2013 02:58:31 GMT
Thanks Jude for the input!

> There are a couple of good things about the FlexJS project that may not be
> apparent to us as Flex users. That is, if FlexJS becomes popular
> (especially to HTML devs) then it brings Flex into a good light. When HTML
> devs see how they can create great apps with the Flex syntax they're
> learning and using they'll see they can cross compile to FP and AIR for
> free. Then, their client says we now want to run that app on mobile. Then
> being able to compile to Flash and AIR becomes a valuable asset to them.

Now I can see the benefits of being able to output Flex in HTML format, for better accessibility
and attract more developers to use Flex. Like what Adobe Flash Professional CC is able to
do now to output it in HTML5 and Dart. Personally, I felt that HTML output should be an OPTION
and shouldn't be the CORE for Flex dev (Like Flash Pro). Putting Flex dev focus on HTML is
a great risk, it might end up losing Flex users who love FP and AIR (who don't believe HTML
and Javascript can do what Flex is able to do and go away and look for something else like
Feather UI, MadCompanents and etc.), just for my personal opinion, I felt that Flex dev for
HTML should be an option and definitely it's a great option to go for, but should not be the


On Jul 1, 2013, at 1:39 AM, jude <flexcapacitor@gmail.com> wrote:

> There have been some talk about porting Flex visuals to Starling in the
> past. I have seen Starling demos at our Flash usergroup meetings and I
> would love to see Flex use it. I think it would require the graphics
> classes to be replaced with starling classes. I think Jangaroo does
> something like this when it replaces graphics calls on client JS (Jangaroo
> converts AS to JS including graphics calls). One disadvantage to this is
> the lose of some accessibility. I do care about accessibility but I don't
> think we should not pursue it because it is not accessible. There maybe
> some workarounds that fulfill the requirements for example, we can output
> two SWFs, one based on Starling and one with normal graphic classes. Or
> output an HTML site for accessibility.
> I agree there seems less focus on Flex for FP / AIR. Some areas are getting
> focus such as feature parity of mx components. I think a lot of new Spark
> components are in the 4.10 release (or next release?). I would love to see
> more performance improvements in the next version of Flex. There is a lot
> of warm just in case code that is running. I'd like to improve this at some
> point in the future. For example, if we know an animation does not affect
> child or parent components layout then disable validation on those
> components while an animation is running or take bitmap snapshots of
> components and animate the snapshots (I think something like this is in
> some effect classes).
> There are a couple of good things about the FlexJS project that may not be
> apparent to us as Flex users. That is, if FlexJS becomes popular
> (especially to HTML devs) then it brings Flex into a good light. When HTML
> devs see how they can create great apps with the Flex syntax they're
> learning and using they'll see they can cross compile to FP and AIR for
> free. Then, their client says we now want to run that app on mobile. Then
> being able to compile to Flash and AIR becomes a valuable asset to them.
> I think it has been more difficult than it should for people to donate
> existing code to the project. I think Tink has lots of components but where
> are they? If his stuff isn't in the download what chance do any of us have?
> On Sun, Jun 30, 2013 at 9:56 AM, Joel Tan <joel.tanpe@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi, I am a fan of Flex, I love Flex very much, most of my projects are
>> done by using Flex.
>>> I'm not entirely convinced that this is the best route, but it certainly
>> is a clean route to take. I'm afraid about community fragmentation and
>> basically leaving out current Flex on FP users, because "all the cool kids"
>> will jump to FlexJS and then, obviously, the amount of support for Flex on
>> FP will be smaller. Maybe I'm wrong, here, don't know.
>> I do agree with what Sebastian Zarzycki are mentioning, HTML5 might not be
>> the best route. For me personally I would prefer to output my project in
>> SWF format rather than HTML, even though we might have an option to output
>> it in HTML5 format later with FlexJS. There are always browser
>> incompatibility and performance issue in HTML format.
>> Does Apache Flex has a plan to build Flex on top of Starling or Stage3D?
>> Like what Feather UI is doing (http://feathersui.com/), it looks
>> promising, even some of them in forum were thinking of Feather UI might
>> replacing Flex, but of course it's not (
>> http://forum.starling-framework.org/topic/feathers-ultimate-vision-and-roadmap
>> ).
>> Personally I felt Flex shouldn't stay away from Flash Player and AIR, Flex
>> is great because it runs within Flash Player (it might not the case if it's
>> in HTML), I don't feel anything bad or wrong to rely on FP and AIR, we need
>> to restore our faith towards ADOBE, they have done a great jobs, we need to
>> be still even the world seem to be moving all out for HTML5, but in our
>> heart deeply we know Flex is better in many ways, Flash Player is
>> consistent, ready and mature. Reply on FP and AIR will save us a lot of
>> time fulfilling cross-platform, we only do our part (Flex SDK), the rest
>> leave it to ADOBE. ADOBE is still serious about their Flash Player and AIR
>> (look at the frequency update of FP/AIR recently), that is the reason why
>> they never open-source it.
>> Sorry for my English, I am from the other part of this world where isn't
>> an English speaking country.
>> Thanks for all the great works for sustaining Flex!
>> Joel T.
>> On Jun 28, 2013, at 4:58 PM, Sebastian Zarzycki <
>> sebastian.zarzycki@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> I assume you prefer a web forum style? I find web forums slow, buggy,
>> slow and hard to search on, hard to use on mobile devices and assume you're
>> always have a connection. Each to their own.
>>> I'd say so, yes.
>>>>> - arm Flex beautifully for mobile.
>>>> What do you need needs to be one here?
>>> This was more of a mind-shortcut. Not really about Flex, but mobile
>> products built with Flex and targeted for AIR. Current mobile-specific API
>> is very modest, and I'd say most of things found here -
>> http://distriqt.com/native-extensions - should be a part of the API, not
>> something you have to additionally buy (but thanks Distriqt, that at least
>> there is such opportunity).
>>> That said, I've bumped into several Flex mobile bugs leading to runtime
>> crashes (usually related to layout, visible or includeInLayout). In spare
>> time I'll try to isolate and reproduce them to present an example.
>>> Then, we have the case of AS-only itemrenderers. Maybe we could start
>> using MXML instead. Mobile processors improved significantly last few years.
>>>> 1) You recommended we talk to banks and other businesses.  I assume you
>>>> have.  Do you have any data you can share with us?  I've been pondering
>>>> how to get reliable data on what, if anything, folks are looking for.
>> In
>>>> December 2011, Adobe invited several major banks and other major Flex
>>>> customers to a summit.  In my conversations with the attendees, the
>> desire
>>>> to have a migration path for their Flash-based Flex apps to HTML/JS/CSS
>>>> was my main takeaway, and that is what I've been working on with the
>>>> FlexJS prototypes.
>>> That's pretty much my own experience as well. Most of these transitions
>> are in "experimental research" mode so far and flex apps are mostly still
>> supported in legacy mode. But that PR stunt in 2011 hurt Flex/Flash
>> significantly and some decisions are often made on a very high level,
>> instantly making Flex inferior. Now, the question is, do they need FlexJS,
>> because they actually need/want JS or do they want FlexJS, because it's
>> just a scare game (they don't want flash and "old flex", because lack of
>> Adobe support, etc.). If the latter, how confident are we, that they will
>> accept "new Flex", when the name still drags a burden for them, even if
>> it's a complete new product targeted for different VM? I don't have answers
>> for that. I do realize that liberating Flex from FP is a move for the
>> future. But then again, I am less and less convinced that the future will
>> be about javascript applications in the browser.
>>>> 2) The list of changes you would like to see to current Flex matches up
>>>> pretty much with what we've seen and heard from the community.
>>> No surprise there. I think it's just time-related. I've seen that recent
>> changelog for 4.10 and it definitely looks good. I understand that
>> resources are limited.
>>>> Flex suffers from being "warm everywhere".  One of the
>>>> reasons the AS-side of the FlexJS framework uses small re-usable pieces
>> is
>>>> in an attempt to take advantage of the JIT and run certain chunks of
>> code
>>>> more often. And keep in mind that the current SDK is heavily tied to
>> Flash
>>>> and its performance characteristics are outside the control of Apache
>>>> Flex.
>>> Agreed. I do realize that lot of performance is tied to FP and there's
>> little that can be done. I don't feel that JS is an answer, but then again
>> I also don't have better answer for this. These are just opinions.
>>>> 3) It is certainly possible that FlexJS or any of the other variants of
>>>> Flex on JS may never be successful, but for sure, FlexJS does not have
>> the
>>>> layers you claim it does. It just compiles MXML and AS to JS.  When I
>> run
>>>> the examples, the JS versions actually start up faster than the SWF
>>>> versions.  And, when I get more databinding working, I'm going to start
>> a
>>>> discussion about cutting releases of this stuff.  Yes, the first
>> releases
>>>> will be 'alpha' quality, but it will get better faster by getting more
>>>> folks to bang on it.  Meanwhile, I have an internal "customer" that is
>>>> trying to migrate a real-world application on to FlexJS so I will be in
>>>> the loop on how this framework scales.  And anybody else is welcome to
>> try
>>>> to port their applications as well.
>>> Alex, this is great news. I remember you being extrahelpful on various
>> occasions and it's really nice that you're still working on this. This sort
>> of news should be trumpeted all over the blogosphere. Please, communicate
>> these things outside, even if they're not yet done. This is where Apache
>> Flex really lacks. Before everything is ready, I feel it's important to lay
>> the red carpet before and slowly start to change the way people think and
>> present with new options. Again, I'm not entirely convinced that this is
>> the best route, but it certainly is a clean route to take. I'm afraid about
>> community fragmentation and basically leaving out current Flex on FP users,
>> because "all the cool kids" will jump to FlexJS and then, obviously, the
>> amount of support for Flex on FP will be smaller. Maybe I'm wrong, here,
>> don't know.
>>>> 4) Many of us in the Apache Flex community are doing a lot of work that
>>>> isn't sexy.  If you don't believe me, you try getting a mustella test
>>>> engine to work with Jenkins or fix dozens of date-localization bugs.  I
>> am
>>>> doing what I think is on the top of the community's list that provides
>> the
>>>> biggest bang for my time.  Continuing to look for small increments in
>>>> performance isn't going to have the pay-off of trying to make your apps
>>>> run without Flash.
>>> It's a matter of perception. Those things will be only released in 4.10,
>> but until that time, there's little to get from Apache Flex. All, please,
>> don't feel like your work doesn't matter. The only valid message from the
>> initial post is "it's taking too long". This is nothing to start grudge
>> battle around. All I would like to see is more frequent releases and better
>> outside communication (in form of a roadmap and "what we're currently
>> working on blog"). I certainly don't want to argue in the internet. My
>> opinion I still hold, but I do hope I will get the opportunity to revisit
>> it, ideally sooner than later.
>>> Folks, I've decided to reedit that post on Spicefactory. It was created
>> in a hurry and with a certain amount of (maybe unnecessary) bitterness in
>> mind. Since it's public, it certainly doesn't help Apache Flex perception.
>> These opinions should be presented and voiced internally on this list as I
>> just did, but I don't think it's necessary to spill "bad blood" in outer
>> community outlets, as I still want Flex to be as good as possible and
>> thriving.
>>> Regards,
>>> Sebastian Zarzycki
>>>>> Sebastian Zarzycki here, author of that unfortunate post on
>>>>> spicefactory.org forums. First of all, apologies, if this will not hit
>>>>> the right list or will land in a wrong spot. Last time I've used
>> mailing
>>>>> lists was around '95 and it's definitely not a user-friendly experience
>>>>> to hop in and respond quickly to a given post. But here goes.
>>>>> First of all, as mentioned already on spicefactory.org forums, my
>>>>> opinions are my own. I don't feel it was perfectly ok to bring up my
>>>>> response to this list, taking it out of the context and without
>> notifying
>>>>> me. Might be oversensitive here, but I would probably play it
>>>>> differently. But that's a minor issue really.
>>>>> Second, I've started my Flex experience, when Flex 2 was in beta, and
>>>>> Flex 1.5 was paid server. This was long time ago (around 2005 I think).
>>>>> I've seen all the changes that happened. I've contributed a lot to Flex
>>>>> during those days, fixed lots of bugs. I even might still have
>> somewhere
>>>>> my "Making Adobe Flex Better" shirt created and mailed out to Jira
>>>>> contributors back then. If you happen to have it, you will find out my
>>>>> name there. This is obviously not a bragging contest, but to make you
>>>>> realize, I'm here from (almost) the very beginning.
>>>>> I'd like to expand on that initial post, as I'm sure it feels quite
>>>>> negative and aggressive in that form. Wasn't my intention to undermine
>>>>> the work that was done on Apache Flex during that time and to
>> discourage
>>>>> great people that devote their spare time to improve on things. My hats
>>>>> off to you. It's also easy to critic while staying aside and not doing
>>>>> anything to help - guilty as charged. But, you can tell that there is
>>>>> lot of frustration in Flex community and this was probably a way of
>>>>> getting it out of my chest. I'm pretty sure, opinions on that will
>> vary,
>>>>> but this is all right. Then again, I'm quite sure that there are lot
>>>>> people out there who share my views. Whatever you do, doesn't change
>> the
>>>>> flex market condition and that's a fact. I observe this list very often
>>>>> from the very beginning so I'm quite familiar with all the topics
>> brought
>>>>> to life and the way they were tackled. So putting this everything again
>>>>> in a more consistent form:
>>>>> - I still stand by  "nothing anything (really) good with Flex".  Yes,
>>>>> this is harsh. Yes, it's unfair and significantly exaggerated. No, it's
>>>>> not really Apache fault. Please bear in mind that this is a bit
>> different
>>>>> than "nothing good for Flex". It took a lot of time, but there's
>> finally
>>>>> a good looking website with flashy statements and encouraging content
>> (I
>>>>> always felt that Adobe was too shy with promoting Flex). There was this
>>>>> migration and some bugs are fixed - that's fine. But when you consider
>>>>> that so much time has passed and, in fact, so little done, I fear that
>>>>> the window frame we could actually turn the tides over is long past us.
>>>>> - It's not the problem of Apache or any other community. I still stand
>> by
>>>>> "meritocracy" doesn't work. The reality is that certain pieces of work,
>>>>> especially in code, have to managed by one person. The person that has
>>>>> the general vision and when things go bad, can smash the fist on the
>>>>> table and say "No! It will be the way I want it to be!". That person
>> can
>>>>> set up a plan, a roadmap and then find people who are going to fulfill
>>>>> that roadmap. This is (over-generalizing) what Adobe was doing and it
>> was
>>>>> good. In Apache, we have "meritocracy" which basically means "work on
>>>>> whatever you want, whenever you want". This might be ok for smaller
>>>>> projects, but Flex is no small project. What's more, it's an idea and
>>>>> global platform people invested a lot in. This sort of responsibility
>>>>> cannot be handled by "community". Community tends to come and go, flow
>>>>> by. Here you just need a solid vision and a solid development and
>>>>> marketing force. Without clear leadership and commitment, I simply
>> don't
>>>>> see it. You might disagree, but then again, there's little in download
>>>>> section to prove it.
>>>>> - In general, I think that all Flex developers, despite all the
>> internal
>>>>> framework mess and bad efficiency, love working with Flex. It's a
>>>>> brilliant technology and thanks to Flash Player / AIR, a dream come
>> true.
>>>>> I've learned a lot how to be a good developer with Flex. It's natural
>>>>> that Flex developers are now disheartened and bitter. We've invested
>> time
>>>>> to learn this and it's no longer paying off. But above everything
>> else, I
>>>>> think that everyone feel deep inside, that it's not the business, but
>>>>> it's just sheer loss of such a great development tool to be constantly
>>>>> bashed, played down, laughed at and thrown away. We all know how cool
>> it
>>>>> is. The world seem to never believe us. Isn't it this way? I'm sure
>> most
>>>>> of you had a "so I've heard that HTML5 is great, convince me to Flex"
>>>>> situation for your contracts or in your companies. We fight, we
>> struggle,
>>>>> and then all this energy is in vain now. This is extremely frustrating.
>>>>> - Internal bureaucracy is a fact. I don't want to go into a debate,
>>>>> whether it can be improved or whether it's necessary. I don't care. I
>>>>> just look from distance and judge the results. The results are far from
>>>>> satisfactory.
>>>>> - The way Apache's doing things feels very archaic to me sometimes.
>>>>> Mailing lists? Really? For new people, some might even not know what
>>>>> do with bunch of emails presented on flex.org. Yes, there's a short
>> note
>>>>> at the bottom, in a different section. Who will read that? Then we have
>>>>> links to apache and markmail. Case study - Markmail for users mailing
>>>>> lists doesn't work. Then we have "old" and "new" for Apache. Again,
>>>>> really? The result? During whole 2012 that list was almost barren. I
>> see
>>>>> some more posts nowadays, but think of how many people you're (we are?)
>>>>> not reaching out to.
>>>>> - The GIT vs SVN argument was just something that popped out from my
>>>>> mind. Again, it's unfair to judge by this and it's exaggerated. It was
>>>>> just brought as example of how long it takes to do things and whether
>>>>> it's actually important. So much energy was spent on this, people
>>>>> convinced that GIT will be the next holy grail, and then after the
>> move,
>>>>> it just brought a brand new chunk of frustration. This leads to the
>> final
>>>>> -
>>>>> - "nerd" vs "business realistic". Again, apologies, if someone feels
>>>>> offended by the word "nerd". But the general impression I get from this
>>>>> list, is that instead of hardening and improving on Flex, this
>> community
>>>>> has broken down into small groups of university science projects, that
>>>>> will take years before they get into "beta" stage and probably will
>> never
>>>>> go stable, because market conditions will change. This is a good thing
>>>>> and a bad thing. The good thing is that, thanks to people who like to
>> go
>>>>> beyond and tinker, we might get sometimes great things. The bad thing
>> is
>>>>> that I believe that Flex don't need a revolution today and even if, we
>>>>> don't have resources to deliver such a revolution. All these Flex to
>>>>> projects I feel are typical "monkey arm" syndome. It looks great on
>> paper
>>>>> and it's cool to work on this, but in reality, it will simply not work.
>>>>> We've seen this before, so many times - Echo2, GWT, etc. If you
>> translate
>>>>> one layer (MXML) to another layer (AS) to another layer (ABC or
>> whatnot)
>>>>> to another layer (JS), it's just too much. And you will never be able
>> to
>>>>> compete with clean, direct JS frameworks as things change in that world
>>>>> so fast, that Flex compiler wouldn't be humanly able to keep up.
>> Instead,
>>>>> I was surprised to learn that actual Flex problems weren't tackled. I
>>>>> might have inkling as to why it is so. Simply, because it's a lot of
>>>>> hard, tedious, not-sexy work and people in "meritocracy" have less
>>>>> incentive to commit to not-sexy work. Improving style handling feels
>>>>> pretty lame compared to ZOMG-FLEX2JS-COMPILER!!!!111one. Sad bad true.
>>>>> This is how human beings operate. Sometimes you have to be forced to
>>>>> this ugly, tiring stuff to make a great product. Ask Apple.
>>>>> What Flex needs in my humble opinion?
>>>>> - improve on skinning/styling approach. It's a known fact, that Flex
>> is
>>>>> generally slower than Flex 3. That's no good.
>>>>> - get rid of mx totally and fill in missing spark parts
>>>>> - clean and easy to access 3rd party component market / shareplace
>>>>> - figure out the global chokepoints and improve on speed - either by
>>>>> changes in the framework, or by putting a pressure on Adobe to refresh
>>>>> Flash Player. Flex 4 performance is currently a laughing stock. It
>> wasn't
>>>>> few years ago, but now it is, especially when compare to fast
>> Javascript
>>>>> VM's. It's bizarre trying to explain your client that you have to
>>>>> virtualize lists and that itemrenderers are slow, even if you go knee
>>>>> deep in pure as approach. Yes, everything can be optimized, but it's
>>>>> matter of time and price. If you release a product, it has to deliver
>> on
>>>>> what's promised. People don't have time to optimize on their own and
>>>>> learn the product. If you don't deliver, people will simply go away.
>> And
>>>>> away then went.
>>>>> - arm Flex beautifully for mobile. I was a huge "nay" for Flex mobile
>> in
>>>>> the beginning, but more and more I see point of it. Obviously, there's
>> a
>>>>> lot here that depends on AIR, iOS/Android compiler and Flash player.
>> But
>>>>> it doesn't mean that Flex cannot go forward with this.
>>>>> Where does that leave us?
>>>>> Again, I feel really bad that this landed on this list in such a way.
>>>>> don't mean to insult or offend or discourage people who are working
>> here
>>>>> on their projects. I respect your skills and your time which are often
>>>>> far far exceeding what I could even think is possible. But this is the
>>>>> "outside world" view, the "business realistic" view. Ask banks, who
>>>>> previously invested heavily in Flex. Ask software houses, interactive
>>>>> agencies. Ask Flex developers who mostly migrated towards greener
>>>>> pastures. Ask job-sites to find out that the amount of Flex jobs is
>> very
>>>>> small. Apache Flex had a great challenge ahead and, I think, it did not
>>>>> deliver. Sure, it's easy to debunk saying "Apache is just people, it's
>>>>> you and me". But maybe this is the main problem. Food for thought.
>>>>> Best regards,
>>>>> Sebastian Zarzycki
>>>>> Feerie Software
>>>>>> Hi there,
>>>>>> just wonder what you think about this forum post of the SpiceFactory
>>>>>> forum [1]:
>>>>>> "With all due respect, I don't believe Apache did anything good with
>>>>>> Flex. They struggle with a lot of internal bureaucracy and I believe
>>>>>> that without clear leadership, this "meritocracy" thing just doesn't
>>>>>> work. For the past year, Apache Flex community debated whether they
>>>>>> should move to Git and right now when they did, they figured out
>>>>>> most people don't know how to use it, etc. etc. In other words, to
>> much
>>>>>> "nerd" driven, not enough "business realistic" driven."
>>>>>> [1] http://www.spicefactory.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3803
>>>>>> -- Sebastian (PPMC) Interaction Designer
>>>>>> Looking for a Login Example with Apache Flex? Please check out this
>>>>>> code: http://code.google.com/p/masuland/wiki/LoginExample

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