I’ve found myself enjoying working with Adobe Flex. Flex does a lot of things really well, except its support of the HTTP protocol. Here’s a few things folks don’t know about the Flash Players HTTP support:

  • It only support GET and POST methods. In order to use other methods such as DELETE and PUT, you have to the proxy service in Live Cycle Data Services. Lame!
  • The Flash Player can’t read entity responses if a service returns a response code higher than 200. The LDS proxy gets around this limitation by forcing the response to a 200 status and returning the fault entity. Without LDS, there’s no way to get the response entity. Still lame.
  • You are extremely limited to the number of header values you can set. The following header values cannot be used by the URLRequestHeader class: Accept-Charset, Accept-Encoding, Accept-Ranges, Age, Allow, Allowed, Connection, Content-Length, Content-Location, Content-Range, Date, Delete, ETag, Expect, Get, Host, Keep-Alive, Last-Modified, Location, Max-Forwards, Options, Post, Proxy-Authenticate, Proxy-Authorization, Public, Put, Range, Referer, Retry-After, Server, TE, Trace, Trailer, Transfer-Encoding, Upgrade, URI, User-Agent, Vary, Via, Warning, WWW-Authenticate, x-flash-version.

These features are extremely limiting for an RIA platform. It’s not always easy to try an sell RIA solution that is based on a platform crippled by limited networking support. I sincerely hope that future incarnations can get around these issues by providing a real HTTP implementation.

A lot of people have been giving a lot of oooh’s and aaah’s to Microsofts still beta/alpha Silverlight’s HD video features. While HD video in Silverlight is cool and all, it was only a matter of time before Adobe offered up their HD offering. According to News.com, an upcoming Flash player update code named “Moviestar” will bring high-definition video along with H.264 compression as well as HE-AAC version 2 audio.

The new Flash player will offer hardware-accelerated, full-screen video playback. Additionally, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for Adobe to take advantage of the hardware-based H.264 decoder in the iPhone. If that’s the case, then one could argue that this is the Flash update that Apple will include in the next iPhone update.

This update is important to Adobe in their effort against Silverlight. Unlike Silverlight which only supports Windows Media specific codecs, Adobe have chosen an industry standard approach. And to date, Adobe’s cross-platform track record has been extremely good when compared to MS. Granted, Linux support still needs a little more work, but Flash 9 has been leaps and bounds better than before. So now with HD video and industry standard compression, what makes Silverlight anymore compelling than Flash?

If you’ve been disappointed to learn that Adobe does not offer an installer for Live Cycle Data Services ES, you may be happy to learn that the AIX installer runs just peachy under Mac OS X. The AIX installer is an executable JAR file that runs an InstallAnywhere installer. Simply double-click the JAR and go. However, you will need to have a servlet container handy such as Tomcat or JBoss.