Apache and Randori

On March 18th Roundarch Isobar, in collaboration with the Chicago Developers Group, hosted an event featuring Nick Kwiatkowski from the Apache Flex group and Michael Labriola, owner of Digital Primates. We were very excited to host this meet-up and it turned out to be a great night.

You can view the full recorded presentation here:

Apache Flex

In November of 2011, Adobe began preparing proposals for incubating and eventually donating the Flex SDK to the Apache Software Foundation. Without much PR behind the movement on Adobe?s part, there were some major concerns within the community. To put it lightly, many Flex developers were concerned about their careers and many enterprise clients were concerned about the millions of dollars they have invested in the platform.

Nick Kwiatkowski, active contributor to the Apache Flex project gave a very informative talk about Apache?s progress, what we as developers and supporters can do to help, and ultimately helped ease some of the concerns that the community is still a bit uneasy about. A couple of key take away points from Nick?s talk were:

1)???? Adobe has finished donating all of the critical items needed for Apache to move forward.

2)???? Apache Flex 4.9.1 was released.

3)???? During Apache?s December directors meeting, Apache Flex graduated out of incubation and to a top level project.

-? New website: http://flex.apache.org/

-? Legally Backed! Apache went through the SDK line by line to ensure that they could legally back the project.

– Apache feels there is enough community to sustain the project long term and has therefore promoted the project to ?TLP? (top level project).

The Randori Framework

What can we say about Michael Labriola. If you have not seen one of his presentations before you are missing out. This night was no different. Michael gave a presentation on his new Randori cross-compilation framework. If I went through all of the details this would be a huge post, instead I will recap what I see as the main points:

Inspiration

The model followed by Flex, Silverlight, GWT, ExtJS and others is something like this:

Developer -> Code-> User Interface.

Ultimately it is the developer?s job to create the user interface through code. The problems with this approach are numerous.

1)???? Most importantly, each time a design change is needed, an enterprise?s most expensive resources (developers) need to be involved.

2)???? In a world of inconsistent rendering of the user interface the problem begins to compound dramatically. Many organizations have tried to solve this problem through abstraction and encapsulation.

3)???? This abstraction layer is destined to grow over time and you generally pay for compatibility even if you are not using it.

4)???? There is an inherit lag in the maintenance of the abstraction layer. When a new feature is released, you rarely have immediate access and if there is a bug, you are stuck waiting for a new API version.

Goal

What we ultimately need is appropriate plumbing to allow the business logic, Javascript and HTML/CSS to work seamlessly, but allow enough separation that these tasks can be accomplished via separate and appropriate roles.

Summary

In my opinion, Randori seems to solve all of these problems in a way that just makes sense. There are a lot of details around how Randori achieves these goals so please take a moment of your time and view the full presentation here:

A big thank you goes out to JP Bader for making this event possible, Nick and Mike for great presentations, and the community in general for your overall support. Thanks to all that attended!

Resources:

http://flex.apache.org/

http://chicagodev.org/

https://github.com/labriola?tab=activity

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