I think it is time for new YouTube type of service based on Flex/Flash platform. That one has to take on making application service for masses. That’s right – time to take on big guys like SalesForce.com (1st step) and SAP (next target). Any takers?
Flex is a rich client for new incarnation of client/server platform. This time around it is “rich client/Web paltform”. And flash/flex AMF3 and rtmp protocols that offer unique advantages that are not well known to decision makers. As a matter of fact, most decision makers do not know how bad XML might be for business applications – till it is too late.
Do not take my word for it – check out example on James Wards site ( http://www.jamesward.org/census/ ) and plug in few numbers – like increase number of rows to favorite 20,000 or build your own test and increase number of columns.
I spent last week doing small pilot for yet another SOP (save our project) case. While fixing client-side performance and memory issues became routine procedure in the last year, I finally stumbled on the case of business application with extensive Rest/WebServices/XML processing.
Unlike typical J2EE or server environment I had almost no control as the back-end was SalesForce.com – AJAX application platform that claims to be software provider. With Flex serving as a client though, it is mostly database sandbox – all the functionality is in rich client. With necessity to proxy data due to security restrictions all it gets you is slow database with limited metadata and language restrictions.
There are few cases where XML is very helpful – primarily integration tasks. But in daily business automation it is not even a fair game. Who knew that current 21st version of SalesForce (coincidentally the number of the century we live in) would not support transactions? That used to be commodity last millennium. Has anyone tried to stream XML lately? Is it doable and can it be made generic? What about memory and bandwidth and cpu – how much can your user tolerate? Is business user willing to wait 10 times longer for data to appear? What are the redundancy and robustness of the XML HTTP protocol compared to dataservices?
After spending a week with SalesForce development I feel very strongly that a service with embedded Flex doing communications and metadata for both Flex and AJAX is a boon for developers and users.