Dare Obasanjoand Shelley Powers have been bloggingabout whether or not AJAX has a future, and what are the candidates for something to displace it. Timely,as I've been looking at some of this stuff recently, trying to get myself to play a bitin the client space.
Dare notes the development process is "a mess". I'm actually ok with it; it's not so terribleto not have a completely integrated development environment to do ALL your work. Even with Eclipse as my primary development IDE, I still have to shell out to PhotoShop or The Gimp to edit images. And I like that most of the tools are replaceable. I can freely movebetween Eclipse, TextMate, BBEdit, whatever, to do my raw text editing.
Which led me to start looking atFlex.
This kind of suits me, and since I tend to be a bit of a contrarian anyway, suitsme even better amongst my IBM colleagues :-)
Dare also bring upWPF/E, but I'm not going to give it aserious look until I hear they have some semblance of a story for Linux.
Now, back to the matter I started with: Flex or AJAX; will one win over the other? I doubt it;each has their place. Think about this: could you build a GMail with Flex? The answer is arelatively simple "no", I think, because there's a critical bit of functionality that Flexdoes not provide: being able to imbed rando HTML in your app. Flex seems a bit constrained here.However, since a lot of email comes over as HTML now adays, how on earth are yougoing to render it in your app? At best you'd need to do this as a hybridapp; part Flex, part HTML. Great (not). Exact same argument for Google Reader.
Another pain point is printing. The printing story for Flex is pretty low-level.Sometimes I just want to 'print the page', but it's not completely clear to me how well that wouldever work out.
So I'll claim there are certain apps for which Flex is simply not appropriate.And there are other apps, for which Flex will be just fine.
For my own selfish purposes, I actually do want to play a bit more with the weird andwacky MDI-ish mini-windows in my browser page thing a bit more. That's me, I'm a geek.And Flex seems to have a better story there, for now.
And I need to start doing some homework on Apollo.