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What is OpenLaszlo, and What is it Good For? 196

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the things-to-play-with dept.
SimHacker writes to share an article he wrote recently that tries to answer the question; What is OpenLaszlo, and What is it Good For? From the article: "OpenLaszlo is an open source platform for developing user friendly web based applications, which work identically across all popular browsers and platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, IE, Firefox, Safari, etc). It's ideal for presenting and editing raw XML data generated by PHP and other web services."
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What is OpenLaszlo, and What is it Good For?

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  • Drupal (Score:3, Funny)

    by dotslashdot (694478) on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:36PM (#15384197)
    That cross dressing site management software "Drupal" says too many connections.
    • Mirror up (Score:3, Informative)

      by SimHacker (180785) *

      Owch! I restarted apache and mysql, made a static text mirror of the drupal page, and RewriteRuled it into place at the original url: http://www.donhopkins.com/drupal/124 [donhopkins.com] Now maybe you can fetch the article, I hope.

      Sorry about the embarassing Dru Paux.

      -Don

      • Starting Score: 1 point
        Karma-Bonus Modifier +1 (Edit)
        Total Score: 2

        -1: 134 comments
        0: 130 comments
        1: 112 comments
        2: 81 comments
        3: 24 comments
        4: 14 comments
        5: 10 comments

        Hundreds of modpoints assigned, but none to the comment by the author about the accessable status of TFA.
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy AT tpno-co DOT org> on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:37PM (#15384208) Homepage
    Zero to slashdotted in no comments flat.
  • Sometimes I find this AJAX movement annoying. Not because of the new technologies emerging, and not because of the amount of people wanting to learn it. I find it more annoying because of the whole dumbing down initiative.

    Work a little harder, learn a little more and create something a lot more intuitive.
    • Drag and drop and accordion panes are totally unintuitive.

      hyperlinks, tables and full page refreshes were good enough for my grandpappy and they're good enough for me!
    • Dumbing Down? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by briancnorton (586947)
      When you say "Dumbing Down" do you mean making it usable? Are you the same guy that uses vi because it does the same thing as notepad? Usability creates acceptance. There is no reason to make things complicated if they don't have to be. As a fairly literate computer user, I still want simple things to be simple to do.
      • Re:Dumbing Down? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mangu (126918) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:10PM (#15384609)
        Are you the same guy that uses vi because it does the same thing as notepad?


        I'm the guy that uses vi because I could never guess how to make notepad do the simplest things one could imagine. Like indenting a function, showing code with syntax highlight or moving to the start of the next block.


        Those things that every programmer does all the time and are so simple in vi and so impossible to do in notepad.

    • OpenLaszlo has nothing to do with AJAX per se.

      Its an XML based programing language, fully OO, using javascript, which is then rendered to target platforms, currently Flash or DHTML.

    • by Graboid (975267) on Monday May 22, 2006 @07:13PM (#15384400)
      You say that like it's a bad thing.

      Dumbing down IT programming (and IT in general) has been a huge trend throughout the industry for years. I remember teaching Fortune 100 financial analysts Visual Basic and how to hook up to an Oracle stock database we built and they were on cloud nine. Later our secretaries setup and maintained our department's homepage - it was great and really represented a milestone in our company as well as a symbolic milestone within IT.

      The future of IT is all about dumbing down so technology just becomes a part of everyday life - not some uber-geeky medium that takes years to master. Letting 'normal' folks develop and support websites moves content from an IT shop to the business folks where it belongs!
    • Honestly, Zimbra (which is AJAX based) is one of the most exciting and intuitive applications I have seen yet. The Zimbra model (where the front end is a completly seperate application independent of the backend) really raises the bar on what the web experience should be whil managing data. Note, that AJAX is usually a poor choice for the read only web which seems to be what you are highlighting here.
    • by colmore (56499) on Monday May 22, 2006 @07:28PM (#15384454) Journal
      Lowering the entry barrier is always a good thing. When C compilers got good enough that applications could be written with only a minimum of assembly, people groaned about the same thing. There's a lot of hype right now, and a lot of interest, things will settle down.

      All of these frameworks and libraries and doohickies come about for a simple reason: web application programming is too complicated. Given the relatively simple functionality being designed, coding an (even non-AJAX) webapp is a pain in the ass involving a mostly stateless system running 4 or 5 languages. The techniques for getting around this problem are relatively cookie cutter, and we really should no more be coding them by hand than we should be rolling our own printf every time we write a terminal utility.

      There's more creativity and action in interactive online software than ever before, and it's nothing but a good thing.
      • Given the relatively simple functionality being designed, coding an (even non-AJAX) webapp is a pain in the ass involving a mostly stateless system running 4 or 5 languages.

        Right. So let's pile on another language to solve this problem. It would be really cool, hip, and exciting, and will be the grand mother of all abstractions, solving all our problems by providing a consistent, smooth interface into all sorts of technologies, ensuring that:

        1) Debugging a language change from version x.4.1 to x.4.2 is damn
        • OpenLaszlo isn't really a programming language, it's an interface description language in the same vein as XUL, XAML, and more to the point Flex from Macromedia (which it's very similar to but open source).

          It allows you to design interfaces and hook them up to your server side code quite simply (it can simply read and write XML). Layout is XML, logic is Javascript.
  • Security? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vanyel (28049) * on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:38PM (#15384219) Journal
    Security restrictions prevent the Flash player from fetching XML from hosts other than the one it do wnloaded the SWF file from. It requires a crossdomain.xml permission file to exist on other servers from which Flash downloads content or calls web services.

    The solution is for the OpenLaszlo Server or PHP to act as a proxy for other servers.

    Isn't there a reason for that? I would like to see something that specifically addresses the security issues here...

    • The reason is so the flash app doesn't go trading data with servers you didn't explicitly go to. It's the same reason java won't load classes off servers other than the one you went to. If you're proxying the request out somewhere else on your server farm, then you're vouching for that content, since it looks like it came from you. It would be pretty silly to do unless you controlled the content, since a malicious server operator could do some nasty stuff to your users.
      • It would be pretty silly to do unless you controlled the content

        Exactly. And how many people has that stopped?
        • I've used a proxy plenty of times to hit backend systems, it's a good tool. I think it even says all over the mod_proxy docs that you should be careful not to hit stuff you don't control, or leave it wide open.

          There are hundreds of other things that people do too, like open urls on arbitrary servers with their php code that aren't safe. That doesn't mean I want the developers to remove the ability to do that when I decide it's safe to do.
          • I'm actually not arguing different either: I meant literally what I said: they need to have a section that specifically discusses the security ramifications of various aspects of the environment, proxying being an obvious point to address. Rather like the IETF requiring Security Considerations in RFCs for quite some time now...
    • Because of the popularity of Mash Ups. Ie, I want to be able to pull a list of books from Amazon, or a shipping status from FEDEX using Zimbra. Zimbra and Laszlo both have a model where the front end applicaiton is completly distinct (as it should be IMHO) from the backend. Hence, more funtionality is needed.

      On the other hand, I would like to see Browser manufacturors add the ability to do cross site calls, but with some security system behind it.
    • Re:Security? (Score:3, Informative)

      by SimHacker (180785) *

      The "reason" is just "that's the way Flash is, and Macromedia says it has something to do with security". I'm not claiming that it's a good excuse or a well thought out security model. Most browsers will let you fetch XML from other sites with XMLHTTPRequest, and Flash lets you fetch images from other sites but not XML. I can understand restricting executable SWF files, but Flash never actually executes the XML as code, so I never understood why Flash restricts XML but not images.

      Of course OpenLaszlo ap

      • Re:Security? (Score:3, Informative)

        by JahToasted (517101)
        First of all, I think xmlhttprequest can only access stuff on the same server too, it would be a major security hole if it didn't.

        You're not thinking like a malicious hacker. Let's say I want to DDOS example.com. I find some popular webserver that's not exactly secure, lets say newestfad.com. Then I make a comment has a little javascript that requests a large file (or does a database intensive search) from example.com. Now everyone that loads up newestfad.com with my attached comment also loads that file

  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:40PM (#15384231)
    Will it help me win all the prizes in a big sweepstakes?
  • by siberian (14177) on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:44PM (#15384251)
    Since Laszlo apps can be output either as DHTML or as SWF contained content it works wonders for embedded development.

    I'm building a small embedded linux based system to handle my A/V switching infrastructure in my home. The box itself can be considered a toaster, very much like a LinkSys router. Combining thttpd, Ruby (small footprint with Ruby2exe) serving POX(Plain Ole XML) and then Laszlo as the SWF contained client I can provide a hugely rich experience for the user on my minimalistic embedded platform.

    The Eclipe IDE tools are 'Ok' and do the job well enough at the start but you'll need to tweak it a bit more to get a really solid look.

    Overall this is a fantastic alternative to Adobe Flex in many ways, particularly in its openness, huge community support and low/no cost. Flex 2.0 is also low low cost now but we will see how that plays out.

    So, for me Laszlo is Rich App on a thin client primarily. Very nice.

    • I know I'm biased [vexi.org] but this really doesn't address the key problems with "Internet Application" development.

      Flash is just not a suitable host scalable, OS integratable, independent applications. DHTML is just not powerful enough, no matter how fancily you use it. AJAX is just yet another overly complex web-hack, just dressed a bit better than before.

      The only real solutions for me are XUL and Vexi [vexi.org]. XUL is limited to Firefox/Mozilla users. You'll be hearing more about Vexi before the year is up.
  • by spoco2 (322835) on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:48PM (#15384274)
    Firstly, Google cache [72.14.203.104].

    I've been coding in Laszlo for almost a year now for a new product my company is launching soon, and I have to say it's a great language to use. A very easy way to create great web applications while still being able to write completely Object Orientated code... There's absolutely zero need to code in a WYSIWYG style method ala visual basic or the like, our application dynamically loads in its objects and layout from a db, completely configurable... it's all very nice.

    The article itself is quite a nice summary of what Laszlo is I suppose. It does seem to harp on a bit about PHP as a back end, when there is nothing tying laszlo to php at all... we were using Ruby, now we're using Java, and are able o talk directly to Java classes from within Laszlo code using a JavaRPC structure. As the Laszlo server is a Java app, it all sits together nicely.

    Also it's good to see it mentioning the alternate runtime of DHTML which is currently able to be played with at Openlaszlo.org [openlaszlo.org] (currently in pre-beta). So, in the future you'll be able to write your code and chose to render it to Flash OR DHMTL or Both... it's all very nice.

    Is there anything that people who are interesting in Laszlo would like to know from someone who's been coding in it for a while? As while I'm not a zealot of it or anything, I do like it a lot, and just would love to see as many people as possible using it. :)
    • It's not "Object Orientated". It's "Object Orientificamated"
    • - I like the idea of using JavaServer Faces and renderkits, so you can easily migrate to different presentation technologies. Did you write directly to Lazlo's API or use a renderkit-type method? IBM has a Lazlo-JSF renderkit and that seems like the best way to go in that world.

      - If you're writing to the API, how tied to it are you? With a rederkit, you can quickly make changes from a web-browser to a PDA, with the components taking care of the display issues. Is display migration an issue?

      - How is performa
      • by spoco2 (322835) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:20PM (#15384640)
        - I like the idea of using JavaServer Faces and renderkits, so you can easily migrate to different presentation technologies. Did you write directly to Lazlo's API or use a renderkit-type method? IBM has a Lazlo-JSF renderkit and that seems like the best way to go in that world.

        Laszlo's code is not tied completely to an actual final renderpath... ie. while currently your only option is flash, as can be seen on their homepage, they have a working DHTML output that works as well... and the idea is that the code you write is independant of what output it finally has.

        We code in Laszlo's mixture of XML and Javascript, and it compiles that to Flash for rendering. The final output may be in a browser, may be on a phone, or whatever.

        - If you're writing to the API, how tied to it are you? With a rederkit, you can quickly make changes from a web-browser to a PDA, with the components taking care of the display issues. Is display migration an issue?
        OK, so we're writing our own 'renderkit' if you will... we're using a modification of the Visual Proxy methodology [javaworld.com] and as such our final display objects can be changed and modified based on what it's rendering to. But we do use a number of the inbuilt Laszlo visual components (windows, buttons, sliders and the like)... but as they render in flash, anything you can run flash on, they'll run on.

        - How is performance? I've always found the examples on OpenLazlo to be slow, limitted, and not seem to be very useful in the real world.
        Performance is always something that we battle with, but we're trying to manipulate hundreds of linked visual objects onscreen at one time, with many calculations running in the background. You have to be tricky here and there, but you can do some amazing things. Basically, the limitations are not really a result of Laszlo as such, but the fact that you're running an app within a web browser, and you always have to be conscious of that. The more you use it though, the more you learn the tricks to get a great user experience... I would hate to be trying to do this in DHTML.

        - How much time have you spend on the UI versus other techniques (e.g. DHTML/AJAX)? If longer with Lazlo, do your customers see your UI as value-added? Does it reduce your time from working on the core business-logic?

        (First up... this is AJAX, very much so it's Asynchronous Javascript and XML)
        We spend a fair amount of time on the UI, but only because the main thrust of our app is presenting a whole lot of data in a visual way that the users can interact with in different ways to any other applications in this space... so it's a large portion of the appeal of this app. That it's targetted at the Marketing teams of companies means that it should be easy to use and appealing to work with, hence the flash interface.

        We have coded other PHP/Javascript/DB applications for clients (we have one being finished up at present), and while they're nice to work with etc. And do take less time to initially code they have a number of drawbacks:
        * Maintenance is harder as writing directly for HTML output means trying to be cross-browser friendly, which results in solutions for each of the major browsers. Flash means it just works the same, full stop.
        * It looks the same. While you can do some pretty great things with DHTML etc. It's all still pretty web browser looking, you're tied to that due to limitations of what you can do, and performance issues if you stray too far from the simple. Flash allows you to have nice transitions, animation of key things, fluid interface interactions etc. Plus it's can be very different visually if you so wish.
        * As for the time we can spend on Business Logic vs Interface. As in this space we are coding in an OO language, and can create nice class seperation and encapsulation, we can completely split off our business logic from our presentation code. This makes ongoing maintenance of either side of that equation
        • Yep, thanks!

          All I meant regarding the business logic vs. interface was a question of priorities, rather than whether you use an MVC-style architecture. It was largely another wording for the adjacent question, as in: Does Lazlo force you to spend more time on the UI than on business-level features?

          That can be a concern depending on your market, so a lot of people either blindly believe that the UI doesn't matter or is overly important. I was trying to gauge how much emphasis your company put on UI work (and
      • If you're writing to the API, how tied to it are you? With a rederkit, you can quickly make changes from a web-browser to a PDA, with the components taking care of the display issues. Is display migration an issue?

        I would argue that that's a dangerous approach: If you have a single UI for two platforms with radically different display sizes, it's liable to be difficult to use on one or both. Not necessarily true for sites and very simple apps, but as you get into complex applications I think it would be a p
        • It definately could be if you expect the same UI logic to be reused. However JSF is a component framework, so you can either have the component render itself (thus having a PDA view, Web view, etc) or use a renderkit. The renderkit can decide what to show and how. I believe the idea is that different UIs can be created in an architecture as either a set of components that are designed as a self-contained MVCs with multiple views, or uing renderkits as application-level views. Either way, the UI is kept sepe
    • I tried it out for six months or so for a project and ended up abandoning it. For basic stuff it's fine, but if you want to manipulate data client-side, it's loaded with bugs including some nasty refresh issues. Combine that with zero support on the forums, and I wasn't all that impressed. It had a load of potential, perhaps it's just not ready yet.
      • We have a working demo of our application (not for public consumption), that does some pretty funky stuff with data manipulations, checking in tree portions, consolidation, timelines etc. etc... and it handles it all.

        Have there been painful experiences with it as we've gone along? Oh hell yeah, but I've had that with every language I've ever coded in (Which is up to... hmmm... Dunno... like 9 or so now?). Refresh issues were a big pain, and probably will be a bit again, but there are ways to mitigate those
  • From my tinkering with it a few years ago, its really quite a neat little sandbox develop neat little web componants (flash based or dhtml based) from xml feeds. To me, it kinda seemed like a neat 'OSX Dashboard' concept for the web. People could develop neat UI interfaces fed by xml data, and those componants could be shared, or forked, or what have you.
  • That Open Lazlo was an open source project to easily fillout those, no purchase neccessary, enter as often as you like, sweepstakes entry forms?
  • by Trinition (114758) on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:57PM (#15384313) Homepage

    To me, OpenLaszlo is not about the web. If you think about what it does, it allow syou to specify a complete user interface and logic in an XML file. The layout is done with XML, and the logic is done with ECMAScript (yes, that's what JavaScript became).

    The first OpenLaszlo solution compiled this XML into Flash which can run in any browser. Then they made a new compiler which turns it into DHTML so youd on't need Flash any more. So now you can take the same application written once (as an LZX XML file) and compile it to Flash or DHTML and get the same behavior. Both of those are very ubiquitous mediums. If you read their roadmap, they also have plans for Java client.

    My hope is that one day, there will just be clients that read the LZX XML directly. These clients could be written in Java, .NET, TclTk, C++, you name it. They would all read the same LZX XML and render it for the user. That's very much how various different browsers all read the same HTML file and render it. So you might be thinking that its no better than HTML, but:

    • It is a tighter specification than the original HTML which planted the seed for incompatibilities
    • It is designed from the beginning for user interface declaration, not text markup
    • It leverages two well-accepted standards: XML and ECMAScript

    If I had to pick a solution for the world to use for rich internet applications, I'd choose OpenLaszlo over Java Applets, Java WebStart, Macromedia Flex, DHTML, etc.

    • If I had to pick a solution for the world to use for rich internet applications, I'd choose OpenLaszlo over Java Applets, Java WebStart, Macromedia Flex, DHTML, etc.

      The great news is, the way they are going, you won't have to. Right now Laslo interpretes the code to DHTML and Flash.I hope someday they do a XUL port as well. But anyway you look at it, you will be able to at least code your app in something friendlier then Javascript, and relegate Javascript to just simple glue and scripts, what it was design
    • . Then they made a new compiler which turns it into DHTML so youd on't need Flash any more.

      You don't need Flash any more if you're willing to give up the advanced functionality, speed, and expect various quirks to pop-up in the different browsers you'll run it in.

      Right now the DHTML version is a lot slower than Flash 7's version. And given the massive rendering and script running speed improvements of Flash 9 (Flex 2 targets), you can expect the difference to be even more drastic.
  • I don't know whether it's fault of my firefox browser, or fault of their webpage, but I don't have a high confidence of a software product that advertises cross-platform capability but crashes in my Linux based Firefox. Does www.openlazlo.org crash in anyone else's browser besides mine? Or perhaps I'm just an outlier.

    • Works fine in my Linux-based Firefox.

      In fact, Firefox 1.5 seems to be their reference platform for the initial DHTML version (which is newer [openlaszlo.org] than the Flash front-end), though they plan to target Firefox and IE, and are "reasonably confident" about Opera and Safari. I tried their DHTML demo (a photo management app) in Opera 9 beta 1, and while parts of it worked, it wouldn't actually display any of the thumbnails. Eh, beta browser plus beta site.

      Anyway, you might want to check your spelling: it's www.openl [openlaszlo.org]
    • Were you at openlazlo.org [openlazlo.org] (parked domain) or openlaSzlo.org/ [openlaszlo.org] (the site we're discussing)?
  • Absolutely nuthin!
    Say it again y'all.
  • Check out Flex 2 [adobe.com]. It's similar to OpenLaszlo; free as in beer and the source code is provided. However, applications built with Flex 2 run much faster than OpenLaszlo applications, there are a ton more features, and the programming model is better.
    • Only flash though right? Lazlo now also supports HTML and AJAX.
      • Yes, Flex applications utilize Flash as their virtual machine. The problem with outputting to HTML is that you then have to write to the lowest common denominator. So you loose great features like: binary sockets, vector graphics, bitmap manipulation, offline storage, JIT compiled performance, cross-domain requests, multiple file uploads, E4X, ECMAScript, etc. If you don't want any of those features, then I would recommend using a true Ajax framework. If you can do what you need with DHTML and you like
    • by SimHacker (180785) * on Monday May 22, 2006 @09:08PM (#15384807) Homepage Journal

      There's a major and important difference between Flex and OpenLaszlo: Flex is designed to lock you into Flash, and OpenLaszlo is designed to free you from Flash and enable you to deploy your application on other runtimes like DHTML. Also, OpenLaszlo is true Open Source Software, and FLEX is not. FLEX has some strict licensing restrictions about how you can use it, how you can modify it, and what you can the source code.

      Why do you say that Flex 2 applications run much faster? They're both running on the same Flash player. The main overhead is rendering graphics on the screen, followed by interpreting the SWF byte codes. Why should FLEX applications be any faster then OpenLaszlo applications? What do you mean by "the programming model is better"?

      Are there any application as complex as Laszlo Mail [laszlomail.com] implemented FLEX? Can you point us to any FLEX applications of similar complexity that we can test drive, and compare the speed for ourselves?

      -Don

      • OpenLaszlo is true Open Source Software, and FLEX is not.
        Can I get commit access to their svn repo? Who owns the code I contribute to OpenLaszlo?

        Why do you say that Flex 2 applications run much faster? They're both running on the same Flash player.
        Actually Flex 2 applications utilize the new VM in Flash 9 which in a number of benchmarks shows performance improvements of 10x to 100x.

        What do you mean by "the programming model is better"?
        There is a lot to cover here and I'm off to see a movie in a f
      • Why do you say that Flex 2 applications run much faster? They're both running on the same Flash player. The main overhead is rendering graphics on the screen, followed by interpreting the SWF byte codes. Why should FLEX applications be any faster then OpenLaszlo applications? What do you mean by "the programming model is better"?

        Totally incorrect. FLEX 1 creates Flash 7 apps, and thus is limited to what Flash 7 offers. FLEX 2 targets the upcoming Flash 9 player (currently in public beta).

        The features Flash
        • The OpenLaszlo compiler is being rewritten to support the more efficient Flash 9 runtime, as well as other runtimes like DHTML/AJAX:
          http://wiki.openlaszlo.org/Legals_Project [openlaszlo.org]
          http://wiki.openlaszlo.org/Legals_Project_Plan [openlaszlo.org]

          SWF9 Runtime Goals

          The immediate goal of the swf9 porting project is to take advantage of the performance improvements in swf9 (AVM2). The swf9 vm is 10x faster for low-level stuff, with types another 2x or so. A secondary goal is to enable access to new features of AVM2, especially

          • But of course Flex locks you into Flash!
            This is silly. This is like complaining about how Ajax frameworks lock you into XmlHTTPRequest (which BTW is not a standard and only exists because Microsoft added it to the browser).

            And how did you make the conceptual leap from "more affordable pricing" to "*FREE*"?
            Ummm, maybe because the Flex SDK that does everything Laszlo can do and more IS FREE [adobe.com].
            • It's not silly at all -- you're just not thinking out of "Flash -vs- AJAX" box. The new version of OpenLaszlo IS an AJAX frameword that gives you independence from XMLHTTPRequest, because you can compile your OpenLaszlo programs for DHTML (using XMLHTTPRequest) or Flash (using a different Flash based mechanism to download and process XML). It provides a higher level (and more powerful, easier to use) abstraction than XMLHTTPRequest, instead of exposing the low level implementation details directly.

              OpenL

          • And how did you make the conceptual leap from "more affordable pricing" to "*FREE*"?

            Because it's free. The compiler and the framework is free as in beer: for commercial and non-commercial projects, forever.

            The IDE is sub $1000, but you can expect plenty of free IDE-s to pop-up that use the compiler, just like it happened with the free .NET compilers.

            I won't even comment on the "it locks you" argument, but you probably realize that in your quest to put Flex in a bad light you've written few quite ridiculous
            • "*FREE*" does not mean "free (for non-commercial use only) (sub $1000) (plus an unannounced but high per-server licensing fee)". How much will Adobe charge for the server license? Have they told you, and are you under NDA? Please answer the price question, before claiming it's "*FREE*".

              FLEX certainly does lock you into Flash. Why is this so hard for some people to understand? OpenLaszlo will support DHTML as well as other runtimes. OpenLaszlo's runtime-independence is quite an important point. Not every

              • "*FREE*" does not mean "free (for non-commercial use only) (sub $1000) (plus an unannounced but high per-server licensing fee)".

                Dude, why don't you spend some time researching instead of ranting. Flex 2 doesn't need a server nor does its framework, it produces standalone SWF files you can deploy on a server of your desire.

                The compiler/framework and the rest of the SDK is not "free non-commercial sub $1000" it's "free commercial or non-commercial $0", get it?

                How much will Adobe charge for the server license?
                • Adobe has unbundled parts of FLEX (in reaction to OpenLaszlo), but it's still not all free, and parts of it are quite expensive, their prices not even announced. How can you claim something's free when Adobe hasn't even announce the price (but we all know it's greater than zero)? Microsoft's .NET Framework SDK is also "free", but not their web server and programming environment, and the source code isn't available.

                  All parts of OpenLaszlo, including complete source code for the compiler and server, is to

  • I remember a similar front page article on Slashdot a year ago. If you gotta' ask what it's good for again, and if it hasn't made its way into the public yet, then Slashdot will most immediate site hits and promote interest but unless the questions is ever answered, it will fizzle again.
  • I started learning haXe [haxe.org] last week. It's pretty cool.
    haXe compiles to Flash, and JavaScript on the client-side and nekoVM on the server-side.
    This is nice because I only need to know one language to build the whole solution.
    haXe is a javascript-like language with some OCaml influences. It's implement in OCaml and is quite nifty.
    Feel free to check out the Teach myself Flash [haxe.org] tutorials I've been writing over the last few days.
    To get back to the topic, I started with OpenLaszlo, but I don't really need such
  • by Schmig (225893) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:28PM (#15385060)
    I did a development job with Flex lately and was impressed, to say the least. In less than a day I had prototyped the entire interface of a rich administration UI, including tabbed panels, wizards, drag and drop between lists, etc.

    Contrast this again so called AJAX; the day would have spent trying to figure out why my resizable table columns were jumping across the page in internet exploder. A comparable prototype would have taken weeks.

    Once finished that work I thought seriouly about moving my own projects across to Flex but was put off by the prohibitive price (OK, I see this has changed in some way apparently...) So I investigated Lazslo, and herein is the point I want to make.

    Laszlo lacks an *extremely* important aspect of Flex; declarative bindings from client side flash controls/models to remote java beans. In Flex, you can provide a thin service wrapper for whatever API you want to work against and declaratively tie client apps to it in minutes. Flash looks after the (asynchronous) serialization of deeply nested java obj graphs to actionscript and vice versa; in my experience this worked flawlessly. Lazslo on the other hand required the client to invoke something akin to a servlet that would generate a bunch of XML; this could be parsed by the client runtime and various controls populated.

    Seems to me this is quite a major shortfalling compared to Flex which can for instance bidirectionally bind list controls to the return value of your service method public List getXXXXX. IMHO it puts the products in two different leagues. And mind you this was Flex 1.5 so probably the technology is better again. Apologies for sounding like a salesman..but I felt here at last was a web UI technology usable without selling one's soul...
  • by vidog (83824) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:57PM (#15385157) Homepage
    ...and it worked for us.

    Our web based diagram editor:

    http://www.gliffy.com/gliffy/ [gliffy.com]

    Chris Kohlhardt
    Co-founder, Gliffy Inc.
    • We wrote Gliffy in Laszlo...

      (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vidog (83824) Alter Relationship on Monday May 22, @10:57PM (#15385157)

      (http://www.vidog.com/)

      ...and it worked for us.

      Our web based diagram editor:

      http://www.gliffy.com/gliffy/ [gliffy.com]

      Very nice! I just had a quick go and it seems like a very nice little diagram editor. What are the plans for the future - pay version? Advertising on the site? In the diagrams?

      Thanks

      Chris

    • Could you give us an approximate (but truthful) number of man-time necessary to develop this spiffy looking site?

      Bert
  • Yep, this is exactly the kind of tool that Microsoft and other Big Software wants to have and see widely used. The more that people begin seeing software as deliverable "content" rather than the buy-it-at-Sears appliance that it is, the easier it will be for Microsoft and other Big Software companies to force us to pay for it all every month.
  • COMIX on LAZSLO (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tiago.cardoso (976597)
    Hey, Laszlo also worked for us in a good way.

    MaiNada Comics [mainada.net] use Open Laszlo for the drawing and displaying of comics.

    It's a new and free site, where users can draw their comic strips directly online. It's really fun and has some cool features. Other users drawing are drawn in "real time" and are ranked by everyone. Strips can be viewed by ranting, date or user. Anyone can even blog their comics with one line of code (an iFrame link). This is an important resource to artists wanting to publish their
  • Nope (Score:3, Informative)

    by The Cisco Kid (31490) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:39AM (#15386248)
    Well, it appears to be flash based, and while it sort of works, when I tried the laszlomail demo, none of the 'form' fields had labels, eg, I had no idea what to enter in each one. (FireFox, WITH the latest flash plugin, on FC5)

    If it was truly portable, it wouldnt depend on flash. And to be honest, flash is a horrific thing for anything interactive. Its great for cartoons and entertainment, but nothing that you actually need to use for anything serious.
    • As opposed to HTML? How about your desktop GUI? Is there any difference except in the maturity of the format? Nope.

      This isn't 'Flash' based... it is SWF based which means it is a Flash player compatible version of SVG which is an XML language for vector graphics.... similar to PDF which is what OS X uses for displaying it's UI.

      Not suitable for anything serious? Adobe's Flex 2 will prove you wrong. To date it is already being used in Government applications as a front end for DB manipulation and queries.

      Open
  • OpenLaszlo is an open source platform for developing user friendly web based applications

    No, it isn't. It's an open source platform for developing user friendly Flash applications.

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