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From the author of Technology Analysis

Technology Analysis

As we discuss in Adobe Flash Platform from Start to Finish: Working Collaboratively Using Adobe Creative Suite 5, when dealing with the Flash platform, you need to analyze a few areas with regard to technologies:

  • Is your publishing size important?
  • How video-rich is your product?
  • How data-centric is your application?
  • Which deployment environment is suitable for your application?

WorkflowLab was built using the Flex 4 Software Development Kit (SDK). With the Flex SDK, an initial weight is assumed because of all of the out-of-the-box components that are provided by the framework. Sites that are deployed via the Web must take size into consideration when deciding how to design the software. In the case of the Flex SDK, the initial weight is moderate, and it can be further assisted by setting up the Flex project to use the Runtime Shared Library (RSL) to cache the Flex framework on the user's machine, so that the framework is downloaded only once.

In the case of WorkflowLab, the application is deployed to the desktop with the Adobe AIR runtime, specifically version 2.0 of the SDK. Because the application is desktop-deployed, and a user downloads the entire Flex SDK during the install process of the application, the publishing size wasn't a factor in choosing the SDK.

The team chose to use the Flex 4.0 SDK based on a couple of factors:

  • First, Adobe wanted to use WorkflowLab as an example of what the new Flex SDK and AIR SDK were capable of handling.
  • Second, with Flex 4.0, the team could take advantage of the new Spark component architecture, which provided a streamlined workflow for applying designs into a Flex application. The goal was to take advantage of this new architecture with the goal of reducing the development time necessary to integrate designs.

WorkflowLab is a standalone application and doesn't need to connect to a server-side database or API. Data is local to the user's computer, requiring reading and writing of XML files that represented specific workflows. These workflow files define a specific XML schema that represents all the information that makes up a workflow: tasks, Adobe resources, custom resources, links, and so on. (We look deeper into the XML schema shortly.)

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