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Building Rich Internet Applications Using Flex 2 And Coldfusion

There was a time when even simple HTML pages used to make us happy. A few hyperlinks here and a couple of form elements there and you would have an “interactive” presence on the Internet.

JavaScript and CSS improved things to a great extent but still the functionalities on a webpage could never even remotely match the interface of a desktop application. With the advent of Flash things spiced up a bit but they were still on the static side. There was nothing that we could call interactive and dynamic in the Flash animations that the developers created. Although there is a fair amount of “programming” that you can do in Flash, this feature never caught on with hardcore programmers because interface designing skills were always required; they needed something that could help them create Flash applications by simply having to write code. Flex was developed keeping this in mind. And with this was born the concept of Rich Internet Applications.

Rich Internet applications gave the best of both the world to the users: the flexibility of desktop applications and the reach of the Web. Remote data could be accessed and manipulated just as local data and this was made possible by Flex. Flex, now Flex 2, allows developers to create animated interfaces just by coding. So what’s the big deal you may ask? Many often enterprise level applications need to interact with remote database servers. Data is fetched from the servers, interpreted, processed and manipulated and then presented to the user, and this requires a fair amount of programming.

Then how does ColdFusion come into the picture? Flex 2 works in tandem with ColdFusion; ColdFusion handles all the back-end programming and database access. Flex 2 cannot directly access the database server and understand the data; this part is handled by ColdFusion. Flex 2 can display the data and you can move the objects around on your web pages while using rich Internet applications but the real database level programming and other algorithmic programming is done by ColdFusion.


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