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From Dave Fisher <>
Subject Re: Flex PDF support
Date Wed, 09 May 2012 02:23:43 GMT

On May 8, 2012, at 7:08 PM, Michael Montoya wrote:

> Hello community,
> I'm a fellow JavaEE / Flex developer in NYC excited by the possibility of having a hand
in shaping the future of Flex.
> After looking through Vaadin's documentation in preparation to port my company's current
portfolio of Flex web apps, I got this sinking feeling as I fessed up to myself - despite
all the clamoring around me to the contrary - that no amount of HTML5 can ever hope to replace
the breadth, depth and richness currently possible with Flex.
> I don't want Flex to go the way of the Dodo. So I have resolved to help keep it relevant
and help innovate any way I can. As a total noob to open source collaboration, however, I'm
still trying to get my footing and figure out how best to contribute.
> One very general thought is that it would be wonderful if we could develop a native means
for viewing PDF documents in Flex. In my experience this has been the Achille's heel of our
Flex apps and has led to very kludgy work-arounds using server-side Image Magick to convert
the document to images (lately we've been exploring swftools). This is less than ideal for
all the obvious reasons... I'm surprised Adobe never addressed this, but it would be wonderful
if we could.

Have a look at Apache PDFBox. A combination with BlazeDS could give a handy server side conversion
to SVG or SWF. My team at work has experience leveraging PS to SWF using transform.jar as
objects. We are currently doing PDF to PPTX conversions using Apache POI in addition. Apache
POI contributions was my gateway into Apache.

It would be really cool to have PDF and PPTX to Flex tools. (Add ODF Toolkit and Impress can
be added as well.)

> My other question/concern is this - while Adobe has ceded Flex to the community, isn't
Flex virtually useless without the Flash Player to run the compiled bitecode?
> Am I the only troubled by the fact that Adobe has given us the keys to a Ferrari with
no engine. While I applaud their latest features as of Molehill - particularly access to the
GPU through AGAL, what's to stop them from pulling the plug on Flash Player development altogether
thereby rendering the fruits of our labor utterly useless? 

I think that Adobe is (and always has been) very careful with IP and license issues. So everything
is coming from them in superclean Apache Licensed code grants. This is completely different
from Oracle and their OpenOffice code drop which has required 11 months of IP clearance and
LGPL replacement.

> While I can certainly envision new and exciting capabilities for Apache Flex, doesn't
true innovation require coordination with the Flash VM and hence, player development - not
to mention Actionscript? 

> What little time is left over between work and family is very precious to me and I hate
to think that my efforts may be in vain. The current dependency to Adobe makes me feel rather
exposed. Anyone feel the same or can someone allay my concerns?

A lot of projects have been successful programing to the JVM.


> Sincerely,
> Michael
> On May 8, 2012, at 9:25 PM, Alex Harui <> wrote:
>> On 5/8/12 5:21 PM, "Justin Mclean" <> wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>>> I'm not familiar with any of these technologies.  They don't allow for
>>>> manual configuration?
>>> Yes the environment variables can be set up so that's not a big issue.
>>> Downloading the required extra bits would require an extra script (or target
>>> in extra ant script) to do so.
>> Is that because you think the CI server will need to download the
>> prerequisites more than once?
>> -- 
>> Alex Harui
>> Flex SDK Team
>> Adobe Systems, Inc.

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