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< Bla-bla List criticisms (and Java rules, yes I love it, doh!)   Myth: Java can't scale down >
OpenLaszlo 3.0b2, two weeks later

It's been two weeks since I ported Bla-bla List to the latest release of OpenLaszlo. I must say that many of my previous gripes have been resolved.

I'll revisit them quickly:

  • Compilation time

    The LZX compiler is now written in plain Java instead of Jython, the compilation time really became much better and as soon you've done it once, further re-compilations are quite snappy.

  • HTTP POST requests

    The previous bugs with it seem to be resolved, everything is working fine now. It would be handy though to be able to set the request type as an attribute of the dataset tag, instead of having to manually change it to POST each time you perform the request.

  • Performance

    The resulting file is now targeted at Flash v6, which runs noticeably faster. The fact that most fonts can now be platform fonts and don't have to be embedded is also a nice bonus. This does however lead to a problem on some Linux installations since the Flash plugin mandates the presence of Microsoft's core fonts to fall back to. Ubuntu (and others) don't seem to install these, so when Flash's font fallback mechanism kicks in, the user sees no text at all. This is pretty annoying.

    I created a generic pane component class that I extend for every page. It defaults every page to late initialization and postpones resize events when the pane is not visible. This bumped up the performance quite a bit and the resizable interface is acceptably fast now, even on slower machine.

  • Javascript and XPath support

    Not much has improved there and it would really be nice if they would try to aim for full XPath compliance. Javascript can now however be run outside of Flash, in the embedding browser, which means that you can use it for expensive calculations. I haven't done this myself, but some people on the mailing list seem to be doing this. It looks to me as an acceptable solution for Flash's slow Actionscript.

  • Multi-line text editing

    After the 3.0b2 release, a Laszlo developer sent me one, and I modified it. I put the result on the forums and someone else made it even better. This component should imho be included in the core distribution. At least there's now one available that can directly be used.

  • Databound items reset & full drag and drop

    These issues remain.

Apart from these I really dig a couple of other (new) things that made me appreciate Laszlo a lot more than before.

  • Resizable canvas

    Any Laszlo application can now be resizable within the browser if you position your components relatively. I'm pleasantly surprised with the performance of this since I expected it to be unbearably slow.

    Sadly, the Flash plugin on Linux seems to have a bug that prevents the HTML object tag to be resized. You have to access the .swf directly instead.

  • Serverless deployment

    This feature seriously rocks. I just set up a compilelaszlo ant task in my build file, and an swf is generated during the build process and packaged afterwards into the war. I can drop this web application into any servlet container without having to run the Laszlo proxy server.

    People also requested me to send them the Flash file separately so that they could run the application inside GMail and other web applications. This is a major step forward for Laszlo's adoption imho.

  • LZX's component object model

    I feared that Laszlo would become very difficult to maintain, since everything is done in XML with embedded Javascript. However, when you structure your applications correctly by using classes and inheritance to avoid code duplication and work in an OO fashion, things become surprisingly maintainable. Everything is nicely isolated and making a change is quite intuitive.

    This object model pleased me particularly well since it behaves very similar to how we structured elements with our RIFE framework on the server-side.

For me, the main issue is still that Laszlo only targets the Flash runtime. The developers are however actively investigating other target platforms where Java (Applets) and DHTML (Ajax) are possible candidates. If you have suggestions or thoughts about this, sign up to the mailing lists and raise your voice, they really want to hear the open-source community talk and have you help them understand the needs better.

posted by Geert Bevin in Laszlo on Apr 5, 2005 11:38 AM : 2 comments [permalink]


Re: OpenLaszlo 3.0b2, two weeks later
Awesome :D
Re: OpenLaszlo 3.0b2, two weeks later
Apparently there seems to be a License conflict with your GPL'ed component and Laszlo. Could you sort it out, so that the component is included in the next release. By the way, Bla-Bla list is cool.

thanks :-)

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