Turning Your Flex/Java Application into a RAD Project

While using Adobe Flex for development of the front end portion of your J2EE applications slowly but surely become a reality, many enterprise managers are still waiting for development of Flex ecosystem that would include a pool of professional developers as well as third-party components making Flex-related projects more productive.

Short learning curve, variety of Flex technical conferences and training seminars quickly address shortage of professional Flex developers.

Last year, Adobe evangelists have created an online Flex component exchange where individuals and teams from all around the world started to offer their free and commercial components.

A new community site myflex.org is yet another step in further evolving Flex ecosystem.

This is a place that has been created to allow third party vendors offer their plugins and components for sale, and the first four components are ready to convert your Flex/Java application into a Rapid Application Development (RAD) project:

Clear Data Builder ndash; this Eclipse plugin is a commercial version of an open source DaoFlex code generator. It takes away complexity of writing Java code for communication with relational databases. All Java and Flex artifacts are created automatically based on your SQL Select statement. You do not have to know Java to create end-to-end Flex-Java-Database CRUD application in minutes.

Fx2Ant ndash; this Eclipse plugin instantly translates the settings of your existing Flex Projects into ANT build scripts, so that you can build your modules, libraries and applications outside of Eclipse and create larger builds integrated with J2EE projects. What takes weeks on even a mid-size project, can be done in seconds with Fx2Ant. While generating the build script, Fx2Ant applies additional size-optimizing techniques that help to modularize development and cut the download time of enterprise Flex applications.

Fx2Doc ndash;this plugin allows you quickly build and organize the documentation for your project. You can upload your documentation to the corporate or the community server, so that it becomes shared by other developers.

Log4Fx ndash; this component provides a number of configurable implementations of log targets and an interactive control panel. You can target your log information to Eclipse IDE, local or remote server and other destinations.

Given the time savings that these plugins bring to any project, their prices are nominal. You can download documentation and free trial versions of these components. A trial version of ClearBI, a very powerful but simple in use Web reporter is also available.

While development of the front-end for enterprise applications in Flex is faster than in Java, using these components is a step toward a serious reduction of time to market. The above plugins were written using Java, XML and XSLT, but no knowledge of these languages is required. On the other hand, advanced users can customize XSLT templates to ensure that these plugins generate code or build scripts as per specific project needs.

The Web site myflex.org has been developed in Flex so Flash Player is required. Note the buttons on the right that allow you to hide the Web site “s header and/or switch to a desktop mode. The latter allows this Web site to “break free rdquo; from the Web browser frame. This mode should remind the users that rich Internet applications can be treated as desktop applications delivered over the Web.

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