Peace breaks out between AJAX and Flash: Meet the FABridge

Adobe just announced the FLEX-AJAX bridge (FABridge), an open-source component that facilitates communication between AJAX and FLEX code. The meeting where it was announced showed amazing integration between AJAX applications built with Rails / prototype and individual screen components built with FLEX.
Update: here’s the blog entry with all the demos and details.

The FABridge lets you to directly make calls deep into a FLEX component from javascript. You can also easily call functions or retrieve data from your FLEX component .You can hook up callbacks to your javascript code from your FLEX code.
You can also directly write to the FLEX DOM, adding UI elements at runtime in your FLEX Component, using javascript calls.
The FLEX-AJAX Bridge ships as an actionscript / javascript library. The actionscript part needs to be included as a tag in your FLEX application. The javascript part needs to be included using a “script” tag.
The bridge will be released under the MIT open source license, which allows you to use it for commercial development.
This is really awesome. The upshot is that this lets AJAX developers use small sections of FLEX where it makes sense in their application (for example, to include a charting, or to get a datagrids).
AJAX client for FLEX data services is currently vaporware, but Adobe announced it today at the FABridge announcement, and it sounds even cooler. The client lets AJAX clients connect directly to the FLEX data services. It is due to ship later this year. When it does, AJAX developers will be able to use Flash sockets to “push” data to their applications from the server (critical for real-time applications like games or stock trading). They will also be able to use Flash local objects (the flash equivalent of cookies), without having any visible Flash in their application.
I’ve pissed off, since I’ve had this idea for a while but never implemented it. Flash is an insanely powerful client technology that is hobbled by the perception that it’s all about slick UI widgets. Providing a way for AJAX applications to use the non-UI part (sockets, Flash local objects, and how about camera and microphone input?) opens up that functionality to ALL web developers.
These two announcements are a big move towards openness and compatibility from Adobe. Way to go, guys!
One question I have: couldn’t I use the FABridge to do everything that the AJAX client for FLEX data services will do? The main difference seems to be that the data services client will probably be simpler for AJAX hackers to use, since it will be a pure javascript interface.

2 thoughts on “Peace breaks out between AJAX and Flash: Meet the FABridge

  1. Jon March 8, 2006 / 8:16 pm

    Thanks Jeff!
    Very cool stuff. I think this may well be the key to unlocking the value of the flash player for developers at large. Way to go!
    Man are we living in interesting times…

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