Monday, February 26, 2007

OpenLaszlo 4 vs. Flex

My post on Adobe Flex and why I don't get it raised a bit of commotion. In particular, Ryan Stewart posted some well articulated objections to the points I raised, and most of the comments on his post seem to support his view. You can read my response to Ryan here.

Dan McWeeney commented on my original post and pointed me to OpenLaszlo 4, which was a delightful find: Modular, component-based XML syntax for declarative programming, JavaScript 1.3 with 1.4 extensions as the programming language. And, best of all, OpenLaszlo has an open output architecture, with support for Flash, Flash Lite 2 (for cell phones) and – standard DHTML + CSS + JavaScript 1.3. Plus there is no reason why it couldn't support Java, XUL or Avalon as well.

RUB – Refresh, URL addressability and Back button support is not part of the basic programming model, but can be added in a reasonable manner using built-in, documented functions. I'd love to see this becoming part of the declarative syntax instead though.

Check out this stunning LZPIX sample app, which implements cool Flickr picture search using OpenLadzlo 4 rendered to DHTML. It's almost had to believe that it's HTML + JavaScript underlying it. So hard to believe that I had to peek inside with Firebug, just to be sure :)

It can even be deployed as a desktop application – a good example of which is Pandora, which is built using OpenLaszlo.

For more info, check out Don Hopkins overview of OpenLaszlo.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The reason why the user experience in DHTML/Ajax is so impressive is that the OpenLaszlo server contains it's own layout and animation engine. That engine was created by Bret Simister, an interface genius and one of the founders of the company.

By not relying on the Flash animation and layout engine it is possible to recreate the same Cinematic User Experience (as we call it inside Laszlo) with all kind of runtimes: DHTML, Java and future runtimes.