Quick Rev <=> Flash review

Alex Shaw alex at harryscollar.com
Sun Aug 8 21:30:05 EDT 2004

At 02:00 AM 9/08/2004, you wrote:
>products but failed, sorry. Sadly, Actionscript has more books written 
>about it
>than Hypertalk ever will have.

Just recently bought Macromedia's Flash MX 2004 Pro because I wanted to 
create a xplat hybrid system for a client which used a full-screen flash 
projector for the main interface (because anti-aliased vector graphics 
rule) and rev for everything else (database, local / server file ops etc). 
Halfway through the project now..

Anyway here are my observations...

Flash has certainly come along way in its last 2 incarnations. I've used 
and taught flash for a number of years now and as a software engineer 
thought it was fun and had a lot of potential.... just the language needed 
to mature.. and it has, fortunately .. not as easy as our favorite 
xtalk/transcript but that's javascript/actionscript for ya. Classes seem 
more useful in a language like actionscript :)
I was also impressed by the number of new built-in & 3rd-party drop-in 
components. It now has datagrids / treelists etc .. of course all this is 
well-presented by some smick macromedia propaganda, see 
now how come the runrev team can't look as slick ;-)

The development IDE is much better & having more control over your vector 
canvas was great (actionscript now has a draw line command!). Flash is far 
from perfect when trying to integrate it with anything non-macromedia (like 
microsoft and apple). Anyway after a few days hacking the old mchttpd stack 
I've ended up with my initial hybrid setup, with rev / flash happily 
talking semi-bidirectionally via tcp/ip. Next step is to get them talking 
xml and making use of the xupdate feature (anyone done this?.. I don't need 
it now but it could be handy in the future)

Both flash and rev still require kludges for certain platform-specific 
issues but these are [sometimes documented &] easily solved. There has been 
some talk about embedding activex controls into rev and this is certainly a 
good thing if you're ms-bound but I think most of us chose mc / rev because 
of it's xplat capabilities and this project certainly proved to me that it 
was only possible because rev is really good at the basic stuff and if it 
can keep doing that and improving then we all benefit.


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