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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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  • by celardore (844933) on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:37PM (#15384213)
    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.
  • 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. :)
  • by Rdickinson (160810) on Monday May 22, 2006 @07:07PM (#15384374)
    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 spoco2 (322835) on Monday May 22, 2006 @07:24PM (#15384438)
    Did you see Pandora [pandora.com] listed in the article? That's a fully fledged, and nice app. Also Laszlo mail is installed as the default webmail for Earthlink subscribers? And of course... there's this [openlaszlo.org] list of apps! :)
  • Re:Security? (Score:3, Informative)

    by SimHacker (180785) * on Monday May 22, 2006 @07:27PM (#15384450) Homepage Journal

    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 applications compiled for DHTML won't be restricted by Flash's bizarre half-baked security model. Just the browser's bizarre half-baked security model.

    -Don

  • Mirror up (Score:3, Informative)

    by SimHacker (180785) * on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:16PM (#15384624) Homepage Journal

    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

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

    by JahToasted (517101) <toastafari@@@yahoo...com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:18PM (#15384632) Homepage
    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 from example.com. I could take it a step further and add that comment to every page on newestfad.com. Since newestfad.com doesn't have the sharpest admins, it might be a while before they fix it so that you can't insert javascript into comments. Meanwhile, example.com is being killed just because the developers at newestfad.com don't know what they're doing.

    The same could be done with flash, though you'd probably have to make a trendy game that included the DOS code.

    You don't think these things happen? Why do you think slashdot's search sometimes uses google, instead of their own native algorithm? It's because someone has jammed some iframes in some comments on a poorly done website that requests slashdot search through its comments. this hammers the database and kills slashdot. So they have to disable searching and use google for searching until the site that's causing the requests gets their act together.

    Macromedia is doing the right thing here. And you can easily have your own server just pass along the request to another server. prevents DDOS attacks.

  • 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

  • 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...
  • 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.

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