1 in every 10 java developers moving to flex??!!??

Many would have read or heard this before. I stumbled across this at O’Rielly’s onjava.net in a post by Shashank Tiwari.

Today we have between 3 and 4 million Java developers and we assume that this number grows to 5 to 6 million within the next three to five years. (Which itself is very optimistic, though Sun thinks they can grow the number to 10 million).

Now as per current estimates the number of Flex developers are still in thousands. Assuming that half of the 1 million developers that they claim they will have come from the set that are with Flash, ColdFusion,
PHP or any other skill set, we still have half a million coming from the set of Java developers. Considering that the server side for Flex is Java, this even sounds logical. This implies that 1 in every 10 or at worst 1 in every 12 Java developers is learning Flex or already knows Flex today. What do you folks have to say about this?

Ok. Now, this is an interesting topic🙂 . When we started looking at Flex for our application and were building the team, we had a really hard time finding actionscript developers (atleast in southern India). So, we got together a team of Java developers and started learning Flex. Eight months since, we are on the verge of our beta release. I can really see why Java developers would like Flex.

  • The package like imports
  • Availability of Classes in the scripting language
  • Capabilities Arrays & ArrayCollections
  • On the UI end, similarities to SWING

So, given the similarities in the coding patterns and the componentization features. There is a definite possibility that java developers could choose Flex as the presentation layer for their application. But, I really doubt whether they would move into full time from ejb development to gui development. That’s my honest opinion.

Shashank, interesting blog post, but this is also preposterous. Flex has very limited market penetration, and almost every Java developer (and some Flash programmers) that I’ve spoken to, don’t consider Flex to be anything more than a very limited use proprietary framework.

Flash is king when it comes to rich clients on the web, it can certainly trump AJAX, but Flex. I’d say it is more like 1 in 100 Java developers is learning Flex today.

Tim O’Brien

I kind of disagree with this reply. Flex has more than a limited market penetration. I think its just a matter of time, before flex has a 100% market coverage. With adobe acquiring macromedia, more than 80% of digital content delivery on the net is Adobe’s domain. Adobe already had PDF, Photoshop, Framemaker etc. Adding Flash, Flex and the other macromedia suite of products definitely gives it a clear headstart to many of the wannabes in the industry. I can clearly see how Flex can be used as the front-end for most java or .net thin client and thick client applications out there.

Flex, along with other Flash-based solutions like Laszlo, sucks because Flash is not an integrated part of any OS or browser. A Flash app running in a browser window is an even more ridiculous thing than a crippled 32-bit application running on Windows3.1 through win32s thunk. The splotches of Flash UI, which appear here and there in increasing numbers, do not react properly to keyboard, have fixed size, have fixed-sized fonts, have non-standard widgets, cannot be nicely printed (though I’ve heard that ActionScript supports CSS, so targeting print media should not be a problem in theory), are not integrated with other elements of a page or even with another Flash splotches on the same page, the UI itself is painstakingly slow and juddery, Flash objects are reloaded every time you go forward and back (even Google Finance does that, when you return to a page the stock value graph does not recover the parameters you set before leaving the page)

Leave Flash to what it does best — annoying ads and video clips.

I have only one thing to say here – Wait till Apollo is out!😉

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9 Responses to 1 in every 10 java developers moving to flex??!!??

  1. adsfaf says:

    It would have been good if you provided a link to the article..

  2. udayms says:

    oops. Missed out the usual READ MORE link🙂 …. Have added it now.

  3. judah says:

    i would say the number is more in 1 in 100. the java developers i know still do not know much about flex just like this guy michael j. even most flash developers do not know about external interface and saving local data to shared objects. even most flex developers do not know that swf’s are indexed by google.

    if flex is going to make an impact on java developers they need to know what it is capable of.

  4. udayms says:

    even most flex developers do not know that swf’s are indexed by google.

    Wow! even I didn’t know that!🙂

  5. Steve S. says:

    I seriously doubt that such a large number of Java developers will learn Flex, for reasons demonstrated in the post by Michael J. above, that have nothing to do with market penetration but rather with culture factors in the development community. Every statement MJ made bashing Flash apps is incorrect. As any decent Flash developer (and there are admittedly very few out there) knows, Flash development in AS 2.0 is fully capable of addressing all of the issues brought up in MJ’s post and going far beyond them. AS 2.0 apps can very easily integrate with DHTML, Ajax, XML, XHTML, SOAP requests, etc. etc., but most ‘developers’ in Flash world don’t have the skills or know-how to implement proper integration.

    This is because most major Computer Science courses don’t (out of ignorance) or won’t teach ActionScript development courses, and the programs that do teach such development are usually in Design or Multimedia departments, schools or colleges and are quite weak in this area. Furthermore, major international contractors like Accenture ‘don’t do’ Flash or Flex development. This is part of the reason that good Flashers and Flexers are such a rare breed and almost always fly solo or with a small local staffing company.

    Also, most Java developers are completely ignorant of the Flash/Flex world and/or would not touch it with a ten foot pole. Part of this has to do with the fact that, as the poster above mentioned, it is a presentation-tier solution. Java developers have watched UI fads come and go for almost 3 decades. As a Flash/Flex developer, I happen to think ActionScript is here for good, but I think it will be some time before it is acknowledged as the de facto UI and presentation-tier standard for the fast approaching age of ubiquitous, distributed RIAs. I think some Java developers might make the transition to UI development for the long-term because they already have the foundational skillset and there just aren’t enough good Flash/Flex people around for the swell of projects clamoring for AS development, but not in significant numbers.

    The other issue is that Flash RIA dev, and even Flex RIA dev, requires someone who can think in both hemispheres with equal alacrity, which, no offense, just doesn’t describe the mentality of most Java developers I know. That’s the unique talent of UI developers: thinking in terms of best practices for the development cycle, loose coupling, ease of maintenance, interoperability, reusability, etc., and still having a firm grasp of visual design and interaction issues. ActionScript, particularly in the form of Flex 2/AS 3.0, represents a sea-change in UI dev in that, being the first really robust, stable presentation-tier solution (in my opinion), really requires this skillset. The ideas supporting this tier have been around for quite some time, but the tech didn’t really exist to implement it properly, and so neither has the category of UI developer ever been properly supported. This explains why UI, even today, is more often an after-thought or a ‘skin’ in most web apps, and in desktop apps is the purview of an esoteric cadre of developers whose work is voodoo to both developers and non-developers alike.

    Until the culture changes and the staffing companies and universities start supporting the technology properly, and UI development as a whole, I think AS development will remain a cottage industry of left-brain/right-brain self-taught types like myself who manage to obtain a development skillset completely outside of the traditional industry/university system, first because we are curious and second because we have no other option. I don’t think you can grow jobs in an industry by orders of magnitude on the curiosity and determination of a random handful of people on the fringes of the development community. Adobe has to make a concerted effort to sell the Flash/Flex/ActionScript/RIA paradigm to contractors, universities and businesses. If they do this (and for all I know they are), then perhaps, maybe, they’ll meet their goal halfway. I don’t think a million in 3 years is realistic in any event, however.

  6. Steve S. says:

    PS The staffing company or university that beats Adobe and the industry to the punch in supporting ActionScript RIA and UI development stands to make gobs of cash.

  7. The style of writing is quite familiar to me. Have you written guest posts for other blogs?

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