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Macromedia/Adobe Flex 2.0 vrs Sparkle (opinions)

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  • User profile image
    Sourcecode

    I use Macromedia Flex 2.0 in my current project, and was wondering if anyone is going to be giving the public beta a try when it comes out (very soon less then 30 day’s). I would equally like to hear from anyone looking closely at Sparkle and how it would compare.

    After watching the latest video on Sparkle I was disappointed with some comments from the team such as “We are doing things no one else is” and “we are the only ones in this space”. Warning not exact quotes but very close as I recall.

    After using Macromedia Flex for some 6 months now, I’m quite surprised at the power and possibilities of the product. I will be staying with it for the remainder of “this” product but I’m not ruling anything out for future products.

    So if you have not yet the chance to take a look at Flex then I encourage you to take a hard look when the beta is out. For now I would be interested in hearing opinions good or bad.

    This is not a plug for Flex, nor do I wish to flame or fight over which is better. Rather I hope to hear the real benefits or advantages for Sparkle over Flex. Both from a designer and developer perspective.

    Also I don't have the possibility to install Sparkle at this time.
    Smiley

  • User profile image
    irascian

    This is the big problem isn't it?!

    A client of mine is using Flex and I've kept encouraging those with most knowledge who are on the same "innovation" team as me to look at Sparkle, but it's an uphill struggle.

    Microsoft unfortunately don't make it easy - quite the opposite!
     
    Trying to persuade designers who are perfectly happy with their main Apple Mac, begrudgingly running Windows with Dreamweaver, Flex etc to install endless co-/pre-requisite monthly drops of CTPs that have all sorts of problems just alienates them before they've started (Don't get me started on the fact that XP is far better supported than Vista!)

    It's taken me all of my free time over the last week to get a "clean" PC installed (just Win XP SP2 with Office 2003 and VS2005/SQL Server 2005) with a version of Sparkle that works. WinFX install crapped out with a "Which debugger would you like to use?" message on the first install on a clean machine but appeared to complete successfully if the 'Ignore' button was hit, but then promptly caused any attempts to start Sparkle to given "An unexpected error occurred" message. Any subsequent uninstall/reinstalls consistently hit the same problem (it's a problem many others have reported on - see the MSDN forums). After a lot of research and new installs I seem to have got a "clean" WInFX install and touch wood Sparkle seems to start up most of the time (had one unexpected error on startup last night but touch! wood! it's OK again this morning), but it's taken way too many hours of my time to get to this point. I know my designer friends would NOT waste that many hours just to have a look at a product they feel they don't need anyway.
     
    So now I've finally got Sparkle installed I need to find some time to understand it, but I don't really have the designer background to compare the product to the competition (and I have no knowledge of Flex).

    Based on my experience I wouldn't want those who know Flex to have to battle all the issues of Angel needing to keep abreast of the blogs to find out (i) what order to install all the many different bits in (ii) what to do when installations just don't go the way they're supposed to and (b) deal with the time needed and machine rebuilds needed just to get the basic product up and running. They'd just start off with such a negative impression they'd slate the product and never look at it when all these issues have been fixed.

    That aside, the only reason there's any kind of interest in an alternative product is the pricing of Flex. So far as I'm aware no price has been declared for the Expression products anyway, which makes it a moot point. Any comparison can only be on a technical basis and may be a waste of time until pricing is announced anyway.

  • User profile image
    androidi

    Thumbs up to Macromedia.

    I hope that will keep those adware and flashy-ad makers busy and I can keep Flash off my computer. Since loading some simple WPF advertisement will load hundred DLLs if "cold", we are hopefully only going to see useful stuff made thoughtfully with WPF. Big Smile

  • User profile image
    Sourcecode

    irascian wrote:


    That aside, the only reason there's any kind of interest in an alternative product is the pricing of Flex. So far as I'm aware no price has been declared for the Expression products anyway, which makes it a moot point. Any comparison can only be on a technical basis and may be a waste of time until pricing is announced anyway.



    Flex 2.0 will be priced at under 1000$ for the regular version and the Enterprise version is yet unknown. The Flex Builder for under 1000$ in my mind takes the price out of the equation.

    So you as a dev are going through problems, what happens when these problems propagate to your clients ?Wink

  • User profile image
    Sourcecode

    androidi wrote:
    Thumbs up to Macromedia.

    I hope that will keep those adware and flashy-ad makers busy and I can keep Flash off my computer. Since loading some simple WPF advertisement will load hundred DLLs if "cold", we are hopefully only going to see useful stuff made thoughtfully with WPF.



    Could you please clarify the point of your comment. Flex 2.0 is for developers not "Flashy-ad makers" I would much rather deploy nothing then "hundred DLLs" or only the flash plugin/activex. No os limitations, no browser limitations, it just works. This is actually what turned me on to Flex.

    I'm just sick of telling clients they need to upgrade, install some huge runtime (that only works even on certain MS os's) on their clients. The server is another issue. I do use .net on the server side mind you.

    I'm sick of wasting time trying to figure out why it works on the dev post and not on the clients installed base (comprised of win 98, 2000, xp, xp sp2, vista etc..)  One click install my ars! [6].

    I just want to get it installed, and get paid. Put it all on the server is the best option for all parties involved. Now even the Flash 8.5 and beyond plugin/activex will auto update or be very seamless. My clients like a good user experience, but what they need to do their job's and run their company is information. That's It ! Looks are great and important to sell your product (more so everyday) but hassle free is where it's at and that is; the bottom line.

    How do you sell that. Yes Mr. Client you need to upgrade your hardware, and OS. Yes sir in today's world Win XP is min for our application, it just won't run on all your 98/2000 machines. Chalk another couple grand onto the price tag. Oh and we also need to upgrade all your computers with a new runtime that'll take a couple day's.

    The accountants are leaving the room, the CIO is slowly sinking beneath the conference table, and looks to have a cold sweat coming on, while the direction committee you just presented too are all scratching their heads with a dumbfounded look on their faces.

    Talk about how to loose a contract 101...

    And too top it all off, you just realized you wasted x freaken $'s flying across the country to show your stuff.

    So the question is who pays for the upgrade? You do! You either mix the extra cost's into the contract, or eat it up cause if your don’t, you won’t sell this one. Price cut’s all around, otherwise you may want to buy some of that Kraft Dinner(which I happen to like Tongue Out) action.

    Sounds awesome! I can’t wait for WPF, and Sparkle.Big Smile

     

  • User profile image
    Cairo

    Current:
    Sparkle is an incomplete pre-release product with an unstable API that runs only on certain versions of Windows. Flex/Flash is multiplatform and available today. Graphic designers like their Macs. Users hate animated ads.

    Future:
    Sparkle is a released product that runs only on certain versions of Windows, and has a name like "Microsoft Windows Web Application Presentation Foundation SP1". Flex/Flash is multiplatform. Graphic designers like their Macs. Users hate animated ads.

  • User profile image
    geekling

    "Flex vs Sparkle."

    Since when can Flex create WPF application UIs?

  • User profile image
    Sourcecode

    geekling wrote:
    "Flex vs Sparkle."

    Since when can Flex create WPF application UIs?




    Web/Server app's. Have you even seen Flex or looked at it ? RIA baby web 3.0 if you will....

  • User profile image
    Sourcecode

    Cairo wrote:
    Current:
    Sparkle is an incomplete pre-release product with an unstable API that runs only on certain versions of Windows. Flex/Flash is multiplatform and available today. Graphic designers like their Macs. Users hate animated ads.

    Future:
    Sparkle is a released product that runs only on certain versions of Windows, and has a name like "Microsoft Windows Web Application Presentation Foundation SP1". Flex/Flash is multiplatform. Graphic designers like their Macs. Users hate animated ads.



    Get with the program. Flash/Flex has moved beyond, hopefully others will as well... 

  • User profile image
    Cairo

    Sourcecode wrote:
    Get with the program. Flash/Flex has moved beyond, hopefully others will as well... 


    Beyond what?

  • User profile image
    Sourcecode

    Cairo wrote:
    Sourcecode wrote: Get with the program. Flash/Flex has moved beyond, hopefully others will as well... 



    Beyond what?



    I was referring to the comment of the previous poster .

    Graphic designers like their Macs. Users hate animated ads.

    Flex/Flash have moved beyond the "reputation”. It’s no longer animated ad's and crap.

  • User profile image
    amd_duron

    From what I see, in most ways these products don't even compete, they have two target markets, and they are quite distinct.

  • User profile image
    Steve411

    They whipe the floor with each other, hehe. Smiley

    - Steve

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    Sourcecode wrote:
    geekling wrote: "Flex vs Sparkle."

    Since when can Flex create WPF application UIs?




    Web/Server app's. Have you even seen Flex or looked at it ? RIA baby web 3.0 if you will....

    And since when Sparkle/WPF is targeted to web apps? It has absolutely nothing to do with that, and I still haven't seen any Flash based client application (i.e. not deployed from a web server) apart from the Macromedia MX splash page.

  • User profile image
    eagle
  • User profile image
    Cannot​Resolve​Symbol

    eagle wrote:


    Makes it sound a lot more dangerous and unstable than it really is...

  • User profile image
    z33driver

    Xamlon's Web product is kind of neat.  If they keep pace with the latest WPF schemas, it will let you write .NET/WPF apps and deploy as Flash.  Their pricing is reasonable too.

    Are Flex apps all coded using ActionScript etc.?

    With regards to the runtime etc., the target market for WPF is going to be running Windows, and won't the majority of folks get the runtime by default through automatic updates?

    I think you're comparing apples and oranges.  Two different products.  WPF and Sparkle will simply enable a new market opportunity for graphic designers.  Although, talking contracts, I think for most desktop/line of business type apps its going to be hard to sell adding a real graphic designer to the team.  I'm hoping the price point for Sparkle comes in around or under $350, so I can afford to buy a copy and play graphic designer on my products.

  • User profile image
    sloppycode

    Completely off topic:

    labs.macromedia.com - that's comedy. It's so sad how many tech firms (including Microsoft) are copying Google now. What's probably worst is they didn't do anything that incredibly novel by showcasing their work-in-progress stuff, other companies have been doing it for a long while.

    But it's nice that Google are helping to de-corporatise large IT firms, away from marketing guff.

    And flex gets my thumbs down. I use to code actionscript/flash for  a while and I found the whole hosted control idea poor. They are re-inventing the wheel in my view.

    You can't use your back button or bookmark a part in a flash movie either which is mighty annoying.

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