PHP & Flex - Vancouver League of Drupaliers October 2008 Meeting

The October meeting of Vancouver Drupalers took a different direction this month, featuring a decidedly non-Drupal topic: Flex. Flex is a open-source tool set for creating Adobe Flash applications. Love it or hate it, there's no question Flash powers much of the web's rich media. And Drupal is no stranger to Flash applications with sites like The Zimmer Twins using it for creating an interesting and compelling user experience.

Presenting on PHP and Flex was Duane Nickull, Senior Technical Evangelist from Adobe. Duane is no stranger to the Drupal community. Some may remember his interview of Dries at Foo Camp, and Duane's former boss is Jeff Whatcott, now at Aquia. Duane's talk focuses mostly on Flex applications, with a bit of discussion around communicating with external applications.

Duane Nickull: PHP & Flex

As cool as Flex is, it lacks a depth of IDE support. The Eclipse Flex plug-in Duane was using for his presentation is not cheap enough for a no-brain purchase, though it may be worth the price for a committed Flash developer. As Duane points out in his introduction Flex applications can be created with any text editor. If your IDE understands XML, you might even get some code completion functionality based on XML namespace.

Flex looks like a good, low risk entry point for those considering Flash to enhance their site. Communication with Drupal is on par with a JavaScript or AJAX application. If Flash doesn't make sense for your site, there's nothing in Flex that will change that.

Technoracle (a.k.a. "Duane's World")
Duane's Drupal User Group Talk and Code Samples blog post
Duane's World interview with Dries Buytaert at Foo Camp
Direct video link: Duane Nickull on Flex and PHP