Some thoughts after watching an AJAX FABridge Flex demo

There is this blog and a nice looking demo showing how AJAX can happily live together with Flex charting. This vendor’s AJAX grid component is populated with the data first, and then using FABridge the data is being passed to the Flex Charting component. Typically blogs demos like this get a number of Wows , and I expect several “Cool, man” comments to this blog within the next day or so.
Since the blog authors have provided the decription of how this demo was made, I’ve read it and these are some of my questions/concerns.

I understand that these guys need to promote their AJAX grid component, and that’s why they’ve published this blog, but let me ask you this: if I’m planning to pass data to Flex components anyway, why on Earth not just use Flex Data Grid in the first place?

Then authors honestly admit: “To ensure that the details grid is still fast, we only render the part of the dataset that the user is looking at rather than rendering all 1000 records say, which can take a long time when you use the DOM innerHTML property.” That’s right guys, and instead of jumping through various hoops to overcome such issues, just use Flex DataGrid – it would be much faster.

Keep reading…

All of the sales data is transported from server to the client using Ajax, but subsequently massaged using XSLT and rendered using the FABridge and Flex Charting 2. This approach is particularly attractive since it enables us to preserve the way each tier in our application works as an Ajax application, and simply extend the application to include Flex.

If you’d use just Flex, you would not need to use XSL transformation to pass the grouped data to Flex. After doing your grouping on the server side, and sending the data to Flex collection once, and using data binding both controls would be populated.
Guys, I really wish you all the best in selling your AJAX grid, bit I’ll be honest with you: I won’t buy it. And you did not convince me that this demo is the right use of FABridge.

This is a  very good demo of bad practice.
Regards,

Yakov Fain

2 thoughts on “Some thoughts after watching an AJAX FABridge Flex demo

  1. “if I’m planning to pass data to Flex components anyway, why on Earth not just use Flex Data Grid in the first place?”

    Sure, in your situation, do that.

    I think these examples show that, even if you mainly work in JavaScript, then this Flex technology is accessible, practical, and useful today too. It builds the base of support, makes everybody more successful.

    But if you’re already comfortable with Flex, then your costs are much cheaper and you can do even more, agreed.

    jd

  2. This particular demo should have been clearly marked with a banner stating “Guys, do it this way only if you absolutely have to, because Joe Shmo from the department XYZ has already AJAX app and this is the only way to get Flex in the door”. But it was not done this way, so people may have an impression that ths is the way to write Web applications where AJAX and Flex live happily ever after. This demo sends the following message:”Guys, purchase our beautiful AJAX data grid, and you’ll be able to create applications than can talk to Flex charting component”, which is wrong.

    How long do you think it would take to replace in this demo the AJAX data grid with the Flex one? Less than a day including QA. And this is the message people should deliver to Joe Shmo: “Just give us your AJAX applicaition, and we’ll port whatever we can to Flex, leaving existing  complex AJAX components in place…for now”.
    FABridge is Adobe’s marketing trick to show to the rest of the world that it can work with AJAX, which is enjoing lots of undeserved attention in the industry this year. Hopefully the situation will change a year from now.

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