• Flexing Flex

    I spend every Thursday in our Ocoee office, which is our building for call center operations. Basically, almost every marketing effort prior to a customer arriving at one of our properties originates at the Ocoee building. Since our most successful marketing campaigns are web based, I mosey on over to Ocoee each week to spend an hour with the project stakeholders for some face time and issue discussion. We then have break out sessions for items that require additional attention.

    After this week’s meeting, I scheduled a half hour to take Paul (my boss, our Director of Software Development) through a very brief demo of Flex. It just so happened that we held the meeting in the office of one of our Oracle Forms teams, and before I knew it I was presenting to the entire team on a projector!

    I certainly wasn’t prepared to go in to great detail, but we had an excellent run through using the Flex Explorer application. We looked at the examples and discussed the code implementation, as well as the viability of the Flash platform and the benefits of a plug-in based model over a traditional web architecture. We also talked about the capabilities of an RIA compared to those of a web site or fat client, especially the benefits of having Flash as the driving technology.

    Some excellent questions were raised during the demo. Would the product work in Oracle’s app server? Yes, it was recently certified to do just that. How would we talk to the database? Through logical layers of OO code, of course! What’s the scalability like? Better than Oracle Forms… :)

    My next step is to coordinate with our other team members to round out a formal Flex presentation for Paul and the rest of the team. I have about five pages of outlines for a PPT presentation, and I’ll be applying my usual level of slide-fu to drive the points home. I see fantastic potential in this technology, and a solid match for what I believe we should be doing with our software. Now, it’s just a matter of investigating and justifying the ROI, and communicating the facts to senior management so that an educated decision can be made.

    I must say, I’m really looking forward to the outcome of this process. I’ve wanted our entire software team to move to Java development for over three years; the benefits of J2EE development over our traditional technology choices are vast and undeniable. The way things are going, it might finally have a chance of happening, and that gives me great hope for the future.

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