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Multi-Platform RIAs: Hello, SilverLight

Posted @ 4:52 pm by Adam Brill | Category: Technology | 0 Comments

As a senior RIA developer at SolutionSet I am always on the lookout for tools to increase productivity and interoperability between team members. A recent addition to our arsenal is an MVC (model-view-controller) application framework called PureMVC. In 2008 I used it on more than a dozen (Actionscript 3/Flex) projects. I found that it really allowed me to focus more on the creative and contextual scope of the project and not get hung up on technical implementation of the underlying framework. It also created very reusable code that could be maintained by any developer accustomed to MVC or Façade design patterns.

One of the really powerful things going on right now in the PureMVC world is the constant porting of the code base to other languages. As of this writing PureMVC is available in many flavors: ActionScript 2, ActionScript 3, C #, ColdFusion, Haxe, Java, JavaScript, Objective C, PHP, Python and most recently Ruby! The new C# port will be really nice when building Silverlight applications. Also the new port for Objective C should reduce the amount of scaffolding to write for iPhone applications.

When working with this framework in a given language, the only difference in implementation is dealing with visual elements. This allows the potential for porting applications quickly and efficiently to other platforms. An example would be porting a Flex application to Silverlight.

Another really interesting thing happening in the Microsoft/.NET world is the move to get more developers creating Silverlight applications. To me this is most evident in the announcement of Eclipse4SL. This is a new development plugin for the Eclipse platform aimed at providing Flex and Java(FX) developers with the tools for creating and deploying Silverlight applications from their environment of choice. I really think this is going to help developers gravitate more towards Silverlight and be willing to give it a chance.

To sum things up, these are interesting times indeed for the RIA development community. The combination of tools like PureMVC for cross platform standards, along with development tools for one coding environment, promise to make multi-platform RIAs much more commonplace.

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