It aint about the tech…

I usually keep personal observations on my blog to a minimum, keeping it more about the code and apps. But off late I have been feeling this a lot and so I feel I must speak at least once if only for cathartic release ;).

There has been a lot of new activity in the UI world: Apollo, Silverlight, JavaFX, WPF and now Ted Patrick’s sneak peeks on the new features of Flex 3, and a lot of people have very strong sentiments about it. However it seems like we have all set camps around technologies rather than what they mean for the end user.

Silverlight was the perfect example of course. While blogs on mxna screamed how it was utter crap, people I know who attended the Microsoft MIX conference proclaimed it to be the undoubted Flash killer. As a UI developer who moved from Java to Flash to Flex to now-eyeing-the-3D-capabilities-of-WPF, I couldnt care less about what I write my code in. If there is something in Silverlight that I cant do in Flash (and my target audience has the plugin), I will code in it.

But the Silverlight conversation is over so lets continue…

The latest thing is the Flex 3 sneak peeks. I have read quite a few blogs about the lack of any earth-shattering new component in the framework. I am not surprised. Now that I have been with Flex for about a year, I am truly loving it. I dont care about the List, Datagrid or the Tree component, heck I could them all easily in Flash. Flex gave me a framework to work within. When I work with another developer or look through a component’s source code, I KNOW what I am dealing with: I know the measure function is where the measurement is happening, and updateDisplaylist is where the component is drawing itself out, etc. Now its up to ME to code my cool app. I will write a component to suit my application’s need rather than look at the new component set and try to fit those into an application. Adobe cannot write a component set for every app out there. Flex 3 gives me exactly what I want: A better way to write code (Refactoting, Code assist, etc), a way to make sure I am not killing a user’s computer (with the profiler stuff) and a better way to deploy it (using the flash player’s caching mechanism): after that I almost want it to leave me alone and let me build my app to work the way I want it to.

I dont want to sound harsh. Heck I would love to have some cool components that I may use once in a while, but its not something I expect to get from the SDK. For that I look at the broader community out there.

Lets make cool things….

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Software Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on Virtual and Augmented Reality as well as investigating Blockchains and the decentralized internet.

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