Could Flex replace HTML one day? FXT is a good start

Ted posted FXT, a project he’s been working on and I couldn’t help but feel think when he first shared this.. Wait, Flash/Flex being used for things that usually I see HTML used for. I’m a pragmatists when it comes to Flash usage so I cringe when I see people wanting to go that far (like building a house out of Flash).

In our products we use Flash a good deal, but we also use traditional HTML application and dare I say some AJAX too. I love Flash and Flex, but don’t see it replacing HTML anytime soon. One of the benefits though of Flex over Flash has been its development process is much closer to how traditional development shops work. There are more things I would consider Flex for than I would have considered using Flash just purely based on the economics of rapid development and maintaining code base vs the richness of Flash. So with Flex 2, I am expecting more and more applications that developers only considered HTML as the proper technology to use to give Flex a try.

Back to Ted’s announcement of FXT. This looks like an interesting project towards seeing Flex moving even closed to replacing more places where HTML is better. It allows you to take the power of Flash/Flex and bring it to more traditional web applications. It also should be attractive to some developer who don’t even like the Flex data exchange model, and want it to behave even more like traditional HTML applications. The programming model has built in organization via our favorite pattern MVC. Definitely worth a look, especially the implementation details of how data is provided and how templating works.

Worth mentioning here are things that have progressed in the past over how the Flash Player integrates within the browser. We now have hacks to get bookmarking working, browser history, content scrolling, and some other things I’ve probably forgot.. but it’s still not truly part of the browser like HTML is. I’m sure if it were up to Adobe the player would be a first class citizen in all browsers out there (we would get benefits like being able to open links in a new tab and hitting ctrl+a to select the entire page’s content be it Flash or HTML), until then I bet the will keep try to find ways to improving the integration of Flash and the browser as much as possible with the limitations of the browser plug-in API’s. Which brings me to Apollo:

Apollo is the code name for a cross-operating system runtime being developed by Adobe that allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills (Flash, Flex, HTML, JavaScript, Ajax) to build and deploy Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to the desktop.

I can’t help but think that Apollo was inspired by the inability to take Flash to the next level without being able to have complete control over the entire runtime. HTML isn’t going away, but all this can only lead to more usage of Flash everywhere..

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3 thoughts on “Could Flex replace HTML one day? FXT is a good start

  1. HTML must die, it has served its purpose and is past its expiry. Now its starting to turn into some bad inbred experiment where folks are using it for weird purposes that it was never intended to do (AJAX) hehe.

    Q. What’s a plugin? the browser or flash? :)

  2. Flash/Flex will never replace HTML and certainly not as long the Flash Player is closed source.

  3. scott, html is waiting for you to croak first… especially, since she feels those things you said apply equally to you ;P

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