For a long time, developing rich user interfaces with OpenLaszlo was fun and exciting. Like Flex, it had a really extensive UI component set, as well as powerful data-binding capabilities. But OpenLaszlo is now pretty much a defunct project, so there is little to no developer support to improve the platform. We were starting to run into compatibility issues on different browsers related to the platform. On top of that, although Flash is supposed to have similar compatibility on all browsers, as new Flash Players were released, we started to notice new problems that were Flash-specific on certain browsers (especially on Macs and on Chrome). We also found it harder and harder to find really good developers who were Flash developers. On the side, we had been keeping tabs on HTML5 and the progress of its growing developer support, frameworks, and speed.
- There’s no compile step, so we can increase productivity
- We have access to great debugging tools like Firebug, as well as Unit testing frameworks like Jasmine
- We can use CSS to do extensible styling of components
- We get to join the vibrant HTML5 development community, where you can pretty much find any sort of framework or plugin to suit your needs and new things seem to appear daily
- JQuery not only hides a lot of cross-browser issues, but also boosts up productivity with dozens of shortcut functions to most of the stuff people normally need to do on the web
Sometimes I miss the more robust graphics API, rendering logic, and frame-rate of Flash. But seeing where the progress of the HTML and Canvas specs are going, and with much more browser support that is sure to include better performance enhancements, the opportunities to create productive and innovative applications is exciting.