Flash vs. Flex

26 Jan 2007 - 12:03pm
7 years ago
6 replies
939 reads
russwilson
2005

I'm guessing Dave will have an opinion on this... :-)

I'm having a hard time deciding whether to stick with
Flash (our current prototyping tool) or move to Flex.
I purchased Flex, and it seems powerful, but at the same
time, it was a little more difficult to create an interactive
prototype. Also Flex lacks any layout guides, rulers, etc.
that are present in Flash.

But, if Adobe is moving in the direction of focusing Flash
more on Animation and Flex more on interaction, applications,
I don't want to be left behind, and wonder if we should
invest further in Flex now to be prepared. (does that make
sense?)

Any opinions on this? Are other Flash users considering a
move to Flex? (and we're really concerned mostly with
prototyping... but, I wouldn't want to rule out the actual
development of an RIA).

Best regards,
Russ

Russell Wilson | Director of Product Design
NetQoS, Inc. | 5001 Plaza on the Lake, Austin, TX 78746
512.334.3725 | russell.wilson at netqos.com

NetQoS: Performance Experts
www.netqos.com

Comments

26 Jan 2007 - 12:29pm
maglez@btintern...
2006

I see Flex more for applications and Flash for animation, Flex for interactivity and Flash for
presentation.

We develop a series of applications on C# which front end is done on Flash communicating through
Webservices. As Flash is not the best tool to work as an application, we considered to move to
Flex or Microsoft Interactive Designer, now called Blend.

Flash has some serious limitations when it comes to deal with complex object through Webservices
while Flex has a full implementation of this technology, it's also much faster and robust.

If you are planning to build up applications, I recommend Flex.

Miguel Gonzalez.

26 Jan 2007 - 12:45pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Since I was told I have an opinion, I guess I'll jump in. ;)

To be honest I haven't used Flex a lot. But for me the main advantage to
Flash over Flex is that it is a drawing tool and Flex is a coding tool. I
still gotta draw.

But in reading Russell's question it occurs to me, "Are you prototyping or
are you doing pre-production?" AND! are you sketching or are you
prototyping?

I've been really into Bill Buxton's differentiation between prototyping
and sketching of late and I think too many UX pros conflate the two terms
and I really like his differentiation which is just normal in other design
disciplines.

If you are trying to do anything akin to a proof of concept, or
pre-production where the implementation environment is that important than
it sounds like you want Flex. If you just want to sketch out ideas to do
explorations of different interactive behaviors than Flash is probably the
way to go.

Was that what you were expecting?

== dave

26 Jan 2007 - 1:15pm
russwilson
2005

I know you use Flash extensively, so I was hoping you would
comment. Thanks Dave.

90% of the time we create explaratory designs/interactions, so
Flash is really good for that. But, we are investigating the
possibility of going further - and that's where I get hung up.

I find drawing easier/more robust in Illustrator than Flash,
but that may just be tool preference/acquired expertise.

I'd like to look into the Bill Buxton reference.

Thanks!

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
David Malouf
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 11:45 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Flash vs. Flex

Since I was told I have an opinion, I guess I'll jump in. ;)

To be honest I haven't used Flex a lot. But for me the main advantage to
Flash over Flex is that it is a drawing tool and Flex is a coding tool.
I still gotta draw.

But in reading Russell's question it occurs to me, "Are you prototyping
or are you doing pre-production?" AND! are you sketching or are you
prototyping?

I've been really into Bill Buxton's differentiation between prototyping
and sketching of late and I think too many UX pros conflate the two
terms and I really like his differentiation which is just normal in
other design disciplines.

If you are trying to do anything akin to a proof of concept, or
pre-production where the implementation environment is that important
than it sounds like you want Flex. If you just want to sketch out ideas
to do explorations of different interactive behaviors than Flash is
probably the way to go.

Was that what you were expecting?

== dave

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26 Jan 2007 - 9:01pm
Jed Wood
2005

Russell-

On Jan 26, 2007, at 12:03 PM, Wilson, Russell wrote:

> I'm having a hard time deciding whether to stick with
> Flash (our current prototyping tool) or move to Flex.
> I purchased Flex, and it seems powerful, but at the same
> time, it was a little more difficult to create an interactive
> prototype. Also Flex lacks any layout guides, rulers, etc.
> that are present in Flash.
>
> But, if Adobe is moving in the direction of focusing Flash
> more on Animation and Flex more on interaction, applications,
> I don't want to be left behind, and wonder if we should
> invest further in Flex now to be prepared. (does that make
> sense?)

With some exceptions, Flash and Flex can accomplish the same final
result. Ironically, Flash is a bit more "flexible," but that's also
what makes it a little slower and less elegant for creating your
standard application interface. I would say it depends entirely on
what kinds of products/applications you're prototyping. If they are
full of standard software GUI elements (tabs, panes, trees, lists,
drop-downs, menu bars), then you can get a functional prototype up
and running in Flex more quickly and elegantly. But if you are
designing for devices, or are exploring less conventional
interactions, you're probably better off using Flash.

> Any opinions on this? Are other Flash users considering a
> move to Flex?

For some long and slightly-outdated thoughts on your question, see
Jesse' Warden's advice (if you haven't already):

http://www.jessewarden.com/archives/2005/01/why_flash_devel.html

A few weeks ago (2 years later), he has a somewhat related post
( http://www.jessewarden.com/archives/2007/01/
consulting_in_2_1.html ), the jist of which is:

"If there is one thing this year taught me, it's that Flash isn't
dead. I was under the false impression that I'd be able to do full
time Flex development on larger scoped projects. Quite the contrary.
My year has been full of both."

Regards,
-Jed

27 Jan 2007 - 1:32am
mtumi
2004

An important consideration is file size. Right now Flex is making
big swfs right out of the gate. An empty Flex swf is something like
115 K. Adobe is apparently working on it, but their current line of
reasoning is that it is a bigger download up front, but once the
components and framework are delivered, that is the end of the
downloads.

I would say if you're delivering a multiscreen app that uses standard
controls and interactions, Flex is a good bet. It comes with things
like built-in form validation that are beyond Flash. If you are
building a non-standard interaction, doing animation, or something
that is only a few screens, Flash would be the way to go.

At this point, I would use Flash for prototyping, period.

IMO, it is fair to characterize Flex as the enterprise version of
Flash. I think the kind of project it is designed for and it will
excel at are apps that would fit this mold - a retail store, banking
site, etc.

MT

On Jan 26, 2007, at 9:01 PM, Jed Wood wrote:

> Russell-
>
> On Jan 26, 2007, at 12:03 PM, Wilson, Russell wrote:
>
>> I'm having a hard time deciding whether to stick with
>> Flash (our current prototyping tool) or move to Flex.
>> I purchased Flex, and it seems powerful, but at the same
>> time, it was a little more difficult to create an interactive
>> prototype. Also Flex lacks any layout guides, rulers, etc.
>> that are present in Flash.
>>
>> But, if Adobe is moving in the direction of focusing Flash
>> more on Animation and Flex more on interaction, applications,
>> I don't want to be left behind, and wonder if we should
>> invest further in Flex now to be prepared. (does that make
>> sense?)
>
> With some exceptions, Flash and Flex can accomplish the same final
> result. Ironically, Flash is a bit more "flexible," but that's also
> what makes it a little slower and less elegant for creating your
> standard application interface. I would say it depends entirely on
> what kinds of products/applications you're prototyping. If they are
> full of standard software GUI elements (tabs, panes, trees, lists,
> drop-downs, menu bars), then you can get a functional prototype up
> and running in Flex more quickly and elegantly. But if you are
> designing for devices, or are exploring less conventional
> interactions, you're probably better off using Flash.
>
>> Any opinions on this? Are other Flash users considering a
>> move to Flex?
>
> For some long and slightly-outdated thoughts on your question, see
> Jesse' Warden's advice (if you haven't already):
>
> http://www.jessewarden.com/archives/2005/01/why_flash_devel.html
>
> A few weeks ago (2 years later), he has a somewhat related post
> ( http://www.jessewarden.com/archives/2007/01/
> consulting_in_2_1.html ), the jist of which is:
>
> "If there is one thing this year taught me, it's that Flash isn't
> dead. I was under the false impression that I'd be able to do full
> time Flex development on larger scoped projects. Quite the contrary.
> My year has been full of both."
>
> Regards,
> -Jed
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
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27 Jan 2007 - 8:35am
Olly Wright
2007

We use Flash, Flex, HTML, and clickable image maps for prototyping.
Each has its advantages depending on the situation. So far it seems
Flex really pays off where you are doing a lot of server interactions
(such as filtering / displaying from a large varying data set). It
also partly depends on your team: we pair up an interaction designer
with an OO developer to build Flex apps, which has been very
productive. It also gets a heavyweight developer involved early in
the project which can throw up a lot of useful issues. Developers
brought in early = happy developers.

Olly Wright
Media Catalyst

On FridayJan 26, at 6:03 PM, Wilson, Russell wrote:

> Any opinions on this? Are other Flash users considering a
> move to Flex? (and we're really concerned mostly with
> prototyping... but, I wouldn't want to rule out the actual
> development of an RIA).

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