Flex and Symfony

20. August 2008 in Flex, Symfony

For a new upcoming project i was looking for the best way to implement the user interface. Currently there are more alternatives to choose from than ever in the history of developing webbased applications. The following ones were the candidates with the best chances:

1.) AJAX-Pimped HTML interface
This would have been the easiest choice. But this solution laks of a lot of features needed for modern web applications.

2.) ExtJS
I used ExtJS (www.extjs.com) for some mid-sized projects in the last months. The quality of the library is impressive. Most of the widgets are high quality solutions. But there are some problems with ExtJS

  •   The license change to GPL offended a lot of developers and is not the best choice for enterprise applications
  •   Developing Javascript-Interfaces with ExtJS takes a lot of time and is somtimes error-prone

3.) qooxdoo
Qooxdoo (www.qooxdoo.org) is another JavaScript based Widget-System. Compared with ExtJS there are far less features. Development is driven by one of the largest european hosting provider. The upcoming version 0.8 looks promising but in my opinion this solution is not really ready for enterprise web applications at the moment. For example the Grid-Controll lacks a lot of features that makes the Grid of ExtJS so cool.

4.) Flex
I tried Flex some months ago (Version 2) and at that time I was impressed how easy the development was. The new Version is even better. After playing around with some smaller samples I made the decission to use Flex as a frontend. The productivity in creating the user interface is great so far. It is extensible and the development with Action-Script is pretty easy for everyone who is able to develop JavaScript. With the commercial Flex Builder the development is fast and easy.

I cross my fingers that it scales good for user interfaces of enterprise applications with many windows, masks and informations.

Symfony and Flex
Communication between flex an the backend can be done on different ways. For PHP backend AMF is the best way. Some month ago there was a AMF-Plugin for symfony but it isn’t in the plugin list anymore. So I decided to develop my own.

So far i have a first version (0.1) based on AMFPHP with basic features needed to create Services that are called in Symfony actions. Cause AMFPHP is GPL too i will replace it with another solution. Also Doctrine and Propel-Support is on my TODO-list.

So stay tuned, i will post more informations the next days.

2 responses to Flex and Symfony

  1. Hi, I’d like to add a few comments regarding qooxdoo ;-) Don’t intend to raise any dispute here about various frameworks, but hope the additional info is helpful:

    “Qooxdoo (www.qooxdoo.org) is another JavaScript based Widget-System.”
    ==> Yes, qooxdoo comes with a large set of fancy widgets. With qooxdoo 0.8 the entire GUI toolkit has being reworked, so now it also supports advanced theming capabilities like rounded borders, gradients, etc. But qooxdoo isn’t just a “widget set”, it rather is a comprehensive RIA framework that for instance also includes a platform-independent tool chain. This tooling takes care of most tasks almost automatically, which are required during development and deployment of an application (e.g. compressor, JavaScript linker, i18n, etc.) http://qooxdoo.org/about/framework

    “Compared with ExtJS there are far less features.”
    ==> Actually, I think the opposite is true. ;-) Well, it may be too naive anyway just to count “number” of features without taking into account the individual importance of certain features.

    “Development is driven by one of the largest european hosting provider.”
    ==> Not that this is really relevant here, but in fact 1&1 is the world’s biggest web host.

    “The upcoming version 0.8 looks promising but in my opinion this solution is not really ready for enterprise web applications at the moment.”
    ==> Hmm, so why exactly do you think it is not ready for that? Of course, 0.8 is still under development, so the various snapshots and pre-releases may not be all too stable. But 0.8 will of course be ready for enterprise-level applications, even more so than 0.7. For a large-scale qooxdoo app, see the free GMX.com webmailer, http://gmx.com

    “For example the Grid-Controll lacks a lot of features that makes the Grid of ExtJS so cool.”
    ==> Agreed. The Table widget may not be as shiny and feature-rich as the ExtJS equivalent is now. While it will certainly get an overhaul in the future, the current qooxdoo Table is being successfully used in a lot of production scenarios.

  2. Hi,

    I’ve write an article (http://blogs.mouali.fr/2009/02/integrate-zend_amf-in-symfony/) about using Zend_AMF and Symfony.

    Zend_AMF has Adobe support and the integration to Symfony is really easy.

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