Since HTML5 is not restricted on some mobile platforms like Flash, it opens up a world of possibilities in terms of compatibility and scalability across platforms. Our initial idea was to just rewrite the desktop version of Flex in HTML5, then have it scale down to different screen sizes depending on the device that you were using. It was a good idea on paper, but we started realizing that there were many programming challenges we would have to overcome to make this work. Additionally, this method didn’t provide a streamlined user experience, since a user would have to launch a web browser on their mobile device, navigate to their Flex site, and login every time they wanted to use Flex. Not a deal breaker by any means, but also not incredibly convenient.
So we decided that the best way to go would be to develop each platform separately using HTML5—phone, tablet, and desktop. The tablet and phone versions of Flex 5 will be available as downloadable apps. And yes, since the apps will be written in HTML5, we will be able to deploy them to various operating systems easily without having to develop separately for each operating system. I’m looking at you, Android users.
We are still considering how much we want to change in the Flex UI. As Chris, our CEO, is known to say,
Now, that’s all in regards to the desktop version of Flex 5. The tablet and phone versions will definitely have a new look and feel because we are designing them in a way that works best for use on each device. There will still be plenty of things in the tablet and phone versions that are familiar, but quite a bit will be rethought and redesigned so you can have the best experience using Flex.
I will let Roger Diller, our technical lead, answer this in his upcoming post. But I will say that we are taking full advantage of this rewrite, and will be digging deeper than just the UI so we can tackle some long-standing speed and performance issues. This, in part, is why the process has been taking a bit longer. We aren’t just redesigning a new Flex UI. In a sense, we’re redesigning Flex from the ground up.
The tablet version of Flex 5 is in active development. We have a working beta version that can connect to a live Flex database and we are working on a great set of features for version 1
Flex 5 Introductory Webinar
On Tuesday January 31st we held a webinar to introduce Flex 5 progress to our users. It was a well attended event and everyone came away excited for what’s coming ahead. Check out the video below!