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Nowadays a new data interchange format is born more or less every day. Today I saw a couple of posts on MXNA announcing SWX, so, curious as I am I checked it out. Now I shake my head in wonder of how people find the time to reinvent the wheel time and time again.

The reasons for why SWX is not worth a second look are outlined in SWX: a bad idea by Patrick Mineault (there is also a rebuttal to that post on the SWX site).

I do agree with Patrick that SWX looks like a hack, partly because of the questionable implementation of the client side deserializer (which may or may not be just a temporary version) but also because the sample code on the site is so backwards. loadMovie is used to send data, onEnterFrame is used to poll for the new data and display it when loaded and then there is the mysterious first line: org.swxformat.PHP.init(), which doesn’t make any sense in the context. Fair enough, it’s an example, but hello? events? semantic naming of methods? I wouldn’t hire people who wrote code that looked like that, and I sure wouldn’t use their frameworks.

There are so many alternatives to SWX that it’s not even funny. Data interchange isn’t very hard, and SWX doesn’t seem to me like it makes it easier. If you want PHP integration write a WDDX de/serializer in ActionScript, it could be done in 30 minutes tops, or use one of the many JSON de/serializer for both ActionScript and PHP, that makes you less bound to the PHP platform.

SWX doesn’t look simple to me, it looks like a mess. It looks sloppy and backwards.

9 Responses to “On SWX”

  1. Claus Wahlers Says:

    And.. there still is.. ducking.. XML.. ;)

  2. Aral Balkan Says:

    Hi Theo,

    You can find my view on this subject in detail at http://aralbalkan.com/895. SWX is about simplicity and it has different use-case scenarios. It’s not meant for enterprise applications.

    It’s funny that you mention that you wouldn’t use frameworks written by people “who write code like that” (referring to myself and to Arp, I’m assuming). Well, the great thing is, Arp is open source and you can use it or not, it’s up to you! A lot of great Flash developers do use Arp and I’m sure many more Flash developers will use SWX as well.

    SWX is not a “mess”, “sloppy” or “backwards”. It captures the essence of Flash and it is meant for Flash developers. It’s meant to be used to create quick mashups and for people to experiment with. It is meant to create a crack in the perception that some developers want to perpetuate that doing data transfers is rocket science. SWX is about fun — not suits.

  3. 5 1/2 blog » SWX: still a bad idea Says:

    [...] (more on this later). As for my statement that SWX is a hack, I stand by that, and I think other people agree. But of course, you could argue that once a hack is sufficiently abstracted away in classes, it [...]

  4. SWX: Still a good idea at Aral Balkan Says:

    [...] I disagree strongly. SWX is quite clever thanks, but it wasn’t merely an intellectual exercise for me. It was born out of the very real need that I felt for a simpler way to create data-driven applications in Flash. This is a real need that I have and I am sure that others share this need. As such, by fulfilling this need, SWX is going to benefit the community. For other benefits of SWX, see my previous post (SWX: A good idea) in which I outline the advantages of SWX on a more technical level. As for my statement that SWX is a hack, I stand by that, and I think other people agree. [...]

  5. Theo Says:

    Woa, this post inspired some serious typing, although I can’t take full credit for that, as you see above Aral and Patrick have each another round of posts (cleverly named SWX: Still a bad/good idea). Aral gave me quite a beating in his, and if you’re looking to see some Java antagonism Aral says it all.

  6. brooklyn Says:

    SWX is the best idea ; The reason is that it is easier to exchange data; (forget about amfphp; It sucks when exchanging text)

  7. Getting Data into Your Flash Files - A Million Ways Can’t Be Wrong? | Visualrinse | Design and Development by Chad Udell Says:

    [...] somewhat larger growing sentiment. The Flash community is definitely changing. These posts here and here seem to prove it to me. Lots of negativity for what should be a positive thing: A member of the [...]

  8. BitTubeBlog » Blog Archive » Thoughts on SWX, Flash and Hacking Code Says:

    [...] some of the responses to this project has also bought a smile to my face. This time not for particularly good reasons. [...]

  9. Piter Says:

    Thank you for the useful informations. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It?s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else?s point of view? makes you think more. So please keep up the great work. Best regards…

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