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Should I use Flex to make a front-end for a job board?
April 10, 2009 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Are there any problems with building the front-end for a job board in Adobe Flex?

The back-end for the site will be in Python (Django). And my programmer suggests to save time and money, we create the front-end interface with Adobe Flex. I know it used to be a bad idea to make an entire site in Flash... if I made the front-end in Flex, would I be setting myself up for problems? If so, what alternatives should I consider?
posted by ckohrman to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The "Whole site" argument pretty much refers to the front-end - it relates to client experience (high CPU usage, no bookmarking, no forward/back buttons, etc). Speaking as a user, I couldn't care less what your back end is written in, because I'll never know; your front end is the site as far as I'm concerned.

I'll put it this way, there are more than enough job boards that aren't in Flash. Unless yours is already being heavily used by people whose jobs I really want, there's no way I'm going to deal with the aggravation.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:14 PM on April 10, 2009


My guess is HTML/CSS/Javascript is best, but for the record, you CAN make bookmarking and forward/back buttons work with Flash/Flex. People just don't bother to do it most of the time.

Flex makes Flash movies (SWFs). The best argument to use it isn't speedy development. (It's not all that much faster than AJAX, if you know what you're doing with standard technology and use good libraries, such as jquery.) The reason to use Flex is because you want to create an experience that involves something Flash does better than Javascript, e.g. play movies and sound, run animations, etc.
posted by grumblebee at 12:26 PM on April 10, 2009


As mentioned "the front end interface" is essentially the whole site. Find out from the programmer where a user will navigate to another page, because my thought from your description is "you won't".

Is this an internal job board just for your company to list available positions? If so, it's probably okay. Not great, but... okay. Kind of slow and awkward. Google will have a hard time with it and unless you take extraordinary steps people won't be able to link directly to a job posting (ugh). Does your company have accessibility guidelines that it has to follow on its site? In that case it can be a bit of a trick to meet them in Flash.

If it's a job collection board like a Monster.com then it's a bad idea without putting a lot of effort into it, which it sounds like exactly what you don't want to do. Search engines have a hard time crawling Flash pages, and so do advertisers. Again, it's hard to link directly to a posting which is annoying for everyone.

If a person is supposed to submit/compose a text resume, Flash doesn't have a built-in spell checker, like most browsers use for HTML fields. There are better WYSIWYG HTML editors than Flash editors. Making a Flex page that expands to fill the page gracefully is a pain, whereas it's dead simple in HTML. Many users will have to needlessly scroll or have it only take up half the screen.

All of these limitations and problems can be gotten around in Flash, but not simply or quickly.

If I was looking for "cheaper and faster" I'd go for good old HTML.

And I like Flash quite a bit and don't have much love for HTML/Javascript.
posted by Ookseer at 12:47 PM on April 10, 2009


there are lots of things flash/flex is really good at. many more now that it's so fast and easy to extend. displaying textual information has never and probably will never be a strong point.

i'm going to assume that your job board will be 99% text and tabular at that. this flash dev says ixnay on the ashflay.
posted by klanawa at 12:47 PM on April 10, 2009



there are lots of things flash/flex is really good at. many more now that it's so fast and easy to extend. displaying textual information has never and probably will never be a strong point.

i'm going to assume that your job board will be 99% text and tabular at that. this flash dev says ixnay on the ashflay.


Agreed, I'm a Flex developer, and it's miles past the dark old days of Flash IDE and timelines... but basically Flex is rich media. If you don't need anything fancy, stick to HTML.

One caveat: If you do plan to a lot of fancy AJAX-type stuff, you may want to consider Flex. You mention having only one programmer- Flex development is pretty lean and mean- you can do a lot fast, and you don't have to worry much about testing on infinite browser permutations, because once they have the Flash player it runs the same on every browser.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:02 PM on April 10, 2009


Arg. I'm going to sound like a Flash apologist. I'm not. I agree with most people here that HTML is the way to go. But...


displaying textual information has never and probably will never be a strong point.


Watch.
posted by grumblebee at 1:03 PM on April 10, 2009


Making a Flex page that expands to fill the page gracefully is a pain, whereas it's dead simple in HTML.

I do feel I should mention that this is exactly the opposite of the truth. But, hey good luck with that 100% height and that doctype and that quirks mode...
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:05 PM on April 10, 2009


displaying textual information has never and probably will never be a strong point.

Well yeah, it's perfectly fine at it. I just took that to mean, it's overkill, when tabular text is the one thing html can do pretty well.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:07 PM on April 10, 2009


right. flash is kickass with text in some ways, but sometimes one has to admit that the browser is simply fantastic at some things and using it as a host for a plugin that does something that the browser is better at anyway, well... it seems like a bit of a waste.
posted by klanawa at 9:09 PM on April 10, 2009


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