Yesterday evening I presented a session on data services at a Flex Camp in Toronto. I ran through a series of demos (and ran over time, of course) and several attendees asked (repeatedly, both during the session and afterwards) for me to clarify which needed Data Services and which didn’t, as well as which needed LiveCycle Data Services versus those which could use the free open-source BlazeDS.
And so, in the order that they were presented:

  1. Basic HTTP calls via – nothing special needed on the back-end, any server or app that can respond to HTTP calls can be invoked this way, and this is definitely the crudest (and generally least preferred) form of integration.
  2. Web Service calls via – nothing special needed on the back-end, if you have code that is exposed as a Web Service, then the Flash Player can invoke it (although this generally does not perform as well as the next option).
  3. Flash Remoting via – this obviously requires a back-end that can respond to AMF requests, if you are a ColdFusion user then you have Flash Remoting built-in and so nothing more is needed, if you are a Java user then you’ll want to install data services to give you this functionality (either BlazeDS or LiveCycle DS will do), and if you are using some other back-end then you’ll want to look at community and 3rd party offerings (as a rule, use this option over Web Services).
  4. Messaging via and – this is what powered the chat apps and real-data push updates, and this does require data services on the back-end, and either BlazeDS or LiveCycle DS (including the LiveCycle integrated into ColdFusion 8) will do.
  5. Data management and synchronization via – this is what powered the synchronized data editing screens (including pushing updates, conflict resolution, auto-commits, and more) and this requires LiveCycle DS on the back-end (sorry, BlazeDS won’t do for this one).

8 thoughts

  1. Dude, you rocked last night!
    Since I couldn’t ask my question then, I’ll ask it now. Is it in the roadmap, that ColdFusion will be able to do server-side AS3? To be able to work in a single language like ActionScript 3 within my Flex RIA as well as on the server-side would be tremendous. I think that this would really raise the bar above what the competion has.
    Kudos to the fine work you Adobe guys are doing.
    — Johnny

  2. Hi Ben
    Thank you for everything at FlexCamp 2 on Thursday night Ben. It was pleasure to finally get to meet you and hear you speak. I look forward to catching you again some day.

  3. Glad to hear that Adobe is looking into doing server-side AS3 in ColdFusion. A platform that let’s me quickly code in AS3 on both ends of the wire, and let’s me leverage existing server-side Java and .NET assets, and on top of that act as a CORBA bridge to legacy mainframe apps would be very well received in the enterprise world.

  4. AFAIK the "LiveCycle integrated into ColdFusion 8" has NOT been updated in the latest
    ColdFusion 8.0.1 updater; what could still be the advantage of using this CF8 integrated
    LCDS ? I know that it is running in the same JVM as CF8. Can this still be advantageous to
    using the newest LCDS running in its own JVM ?

  5. Kai,
    The LCDS in CF8 was not updated because LCDS 2.6 is in beta and is not released yet. See http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/livecycle_dataservices2_6/. As for what version to run, you can indeed use an external LCDS or BlazeDS with CF, or you can continue to use the integrated version. It depends if you need the new features in 2.6 or not. For basic use, pushing messages and experimenting with data management, the integrated LCDS will be far simpler.
    — Ben

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