In our current development cycle, I’d say 20 to 30% of our Flex dev time is building the actual Flex code for the UI parts, the remaining 80 to 70% is spent on integration. When you try to do concurrent development of the front and middle tiers, the part that suffers is communication and clarification of your data model. Let me show you the problem that we experience:
- Middle tier gives you a Transfer/Value Object (i.e. what gets sent from them to you that houses the data they have and you need) at the beginning of the project
- You (the flex peep) code to that object
- If you’re lucky, you get a stub web service call that sends you back one of these objects
- You test your code against the stub and tweak your code until it works perfectly
- Middle tier changes the object for justifiable reasons. However, due to schedule and delivery timeframe, they forget to inform you of the change and most definitely do not update the stub web service
- Integration testing comes and it doesn’t work obviously
- You tweak your code so it works with the new object
- After all integration bugs are solved, you hand it back to the Business Systems Analysts or user for a test run. They say the data is wrong and needs to change again
- Both you and the middle-tier folks make the changes and finally wrap up the project
Sound painful? Yes, it is. What would help is a tool that all parties (users, Business Systems Analysts, java devvers, Flex devvers, heck even QA) can use to visualize the data objects and spit out code for the front and middle tier developers to stay in sync with.
The parts of Saffron that I’m most excited about are:
- Wireframe editor allows both developers and/or designers to create wireframes for their projects
- Allows for Actionscript 2, Actionscript 3, PHP4 and Java Code generation directly from the app.
- Enterprise level capability having the ability to support models with hundreds of classes without performance degradation
- Integrated Version Control
I’ll admit that I don’t know Samuel Agesilas Paste personally, but if you do tell him to drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org because the developer world needs him to speak about Saffron at our 360|Flex Conference in August!