Twitter: raymondcamden


Address: Lafayette, LA, USA

Flash Forms are the New Layer Tag

02-07-2007 2,965 views ColdFusion 15 Comments

Ok, so I'll admit. I loved Flash Forms. I built applications with them and I really dug them. But now that Flex 2 is free, I'm completely dropping them.

So why bring this up? I still get quite a few questions about Flash Forms, and honestly, I'm pretty darned rusty with them now.

My personal recommendation is for folks to rip out any use of Flash Forms and consider it an excellent way to learn Flex!

15 Comments

  • Commented on 02-07-2007 at 12:17 PM
    I agree with your statement 100% about an excellent opportunity to learn Flex. And hellow, Flex is way cooler!
  • Ian Welsh #
    Commented on 02-07-2007 at 12:25 PM
    Hey Ray, are you finding yourself using small Flex apps within html/cfm pages (e.g. replacing a user management module within a larger html/cfm application) or are you begining to replace whole html/cfm applications?

    Regards
  • Commented on 02-07-2007 at 12:34 PM
    Right now I'm doing complete pages. I have only played with partial pages a tiny bit. I did a small example here:

    http://ray.camdenfamily.com/index.cfm/2006/9/29/Ya...
  • Commented on 02-07-2007 at 12:55 PM
    I share your sentiments Ray but I still support Flash Forms quite a bit at work so I'm less rusty. If you would like you can feel free to forward any questions you get to me and I can try to handle them.
  • Commented on 02-07-2007 at 8:31 PM
    I agree wholeheartedly Ray. I've not gone so far as to rewrite all my Flash Forms apps, but on a recent project I trashed a Flash Forms project when it was about 99% complete and rewrote it using Flex. The end result was a much nicer tool and as a bonus I gained a ton of Flex experience.

    Just so nobody is fooled, there is a learning curve behind Flex. Dont expect to rewrite a complicated application in a day or two. If you have a handle on Flash and Actionscript you are probably good to go. If you are a ColdFusion developer with no prior Flash or ActionScript experience it may take you some time. Stick with it and the rewards are tremendous.
  • Commented on 02-07-2007 at 9:06 PM
    Interesting,

    Used them initially then found them lacking, so I agree Flex is better, unless they make them much more powerful in CF8 of course.

    Now given Ben once said "If flash had existed when we wrote CF7, flash forms probably would have never been done" I wonder if they will bother enhancing them at all.

    Coldfusion FlexForms, now that's another story.
  • Commented on 02-07-2007 at 10:14 PM
    Flash forms are flex Dale.
  • Commented on 02-09-2007 at 2:05 AM
    I agree to a certain extent, but flash forms are great for rapid admin sites with customers who can't use the latest and greatest version of flash. I still find lots of people are stuck at flash6 due to company policy. Flex is no good for me at that point.
  • Andrew #
    Commented on 02-10-2007 at 4:23 AM
    I have an application that makes extensive use of Flash Forms and I find it easy to develop and maintain. My site is completely data-driven and highly dependent on data maintained in a backend database. I'm working to start converting some of the pages into Flex and it's been painful so far. I'm finding Flex much more difficult to work with. It's probably because I don't come from a Java-type language programming background, which is why I'm such a fan of ColdFusion. ColdFusion is very easy to use and the way it interacts with databases is second to none. I would have loved it if Adobe - Macromedia would have made Flex functionality available in Flash Forms yet retained the cfml language.
  • Commented on 02-10-2007 at 7:33 AM
    Andrew - thats funny. I don't come from an OO/Java background, and I find Flex easy. But lets be clear here - there are different parts of Flex. The use of components to me is VERY html like. I find this very easy. ActionScript is a bit more OO and can be more complex. To me it feels a lot like JavaScript though so I don't find it too hard.

    The biggest thing that confused me was remote operations. I wanted to do:

    results = cfcInterface.remoteOp();

    and it took me a while to wrap my head around the ascynch nature of remote calls.
  • Commented on 02-10-2007 at 10:41 AM
    There is no doubt that Flex2 is more powerful than the 1.5 stripped down version that is in CF 7, but I have to agree with Andrew that the learning curve to move from CF FlashForms to Flex2 is steep. Static Flex is "simple", but dynamic flex and AS3 are not CF-like in any way, shape or form. Try [cfselect query="myQuery" queryposition="below"] in Flex. Unfortunately, for those of us that are new to anything outside of CF, we haven't had the examples from folks like ASFusion to show us the way. I have yet to find a functional "filter as you type" example or better yet. a way to use Coldfusion and the charting components. Everything example I have seen is based on XML.
  • Commented on 02-10-2007 at 10:48 AM
    Steve, would it help for me to do a few blog entries on simple CF/Flex integration?
  • Commented on 02-10-2007 at 10:55 AM
    Yes
  • Andrew #
    Commented on 02-10-2007 at 1:07 PM
    Ray,

    The thing that confuses me the most is that I have to write functions to do many of the data interactions that are part of a tag in ColdFusion. It took me several hours to understand how to render an image in a datagrid based on a column value returned from a database. It's probably a matter of me spending more time working with Flex to get better at it, but when I saw some of the examples and read some of the commentary about how "easy" Flex is, I got excited about the possibility of doing things that I now do in ColdFusion in Flex.

    I agree with Steve that there are way too many XML samples when it comes to working with data...things I never use in ColdFusion because I have easy access to the database through the use of cfc's. Also, almost every example I've come across is an Array. Again, things I never use in ColdFusion. What would be really good for me are examples using cfc's and mx:RemoteObject, specifically how you structure mx:RemoteObject to accept arguments from a ComboBox and return data to a datagrid. I can do it in HTTPService and WebService but not in mx:RemoteObject.
  • Commented on 02-11-2007 at 12:26 PM
    Ray,

    When CFMX7 first came out, and I saw how the flash forms LOOKED, I fell in love. I built a couple, took them to management, and gave a big...lecture, I guess, on why we should switch to these beautiful, predictable forms EVERYWHERE we possibly can. Mother of God..........

    So we did. And now, of course, we have made a HUGE mistake. The load time is INSANE (yes, I know, I have beaten this horse to DEATH on Ray's blog).

    So, rather than go out and spend all kinds of money on tools (yes, Flex is free, but there are parts of it that are not, and learning how to WRITE it WELL is DEFINITELY not free!), we simply switched to DHTML and AJAX (YUI and AjaxCFC to be specific). Its FAST, its pretty (not like Flash Forms, but pretty enough - and no load time), and best of all, we already knew how to write it.

    Flex may very well be the way of the future. But I heard (hell, I SAID) the same thing about flash forms, and now I am just a bit gunshy about jumping onto a new ship without knowing whether that ship will actually float, especially why the ship we already have floats just fine.

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