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Flexing Your Backend

Adobe Flex Interactive Agency

Flexing Your Backend : Leveraging Adobe Flex and AIR to create data driven rich internet applications

Flash is a technology that should be familiar to all of us. It is the driving force behind rich interactive content on the internet. It allows us to present content in a consistent manner, efficiently across platforms. Much time and effort is spent building these experiences. With this in mind, we must consider strategies for garnering the most value out of time spent creating the client facing content. One way to ensure this is by coupling the public facing experience with a rich backend solution for managing, adding, editing, and updating content.

Focusing on the presentation is vitally important. What our customers see is how they perceive our products and services. You get only one chance to make that first impression, and we don’t want to blow it. Making sure the content the customer sees is relevant and fresh should be a top priority. At times, traditional development has on many occasions created a presentation that was extremely difficult for a non-technical user to maintain and update the content that the customer ultimately sees. What’s the solution to this problem? How do we get a data driven application that is easy to maintain without having to call an uber-geek for even minor changes to the content?

Rich Internet Applications

Over the last several years, the Flash platform has added many tools that provide viable, lasting solutions for these problems. Two technologies in particular stand out as solutions; Flex and Air. Flex is a framework that provides a set of tools for rapidly developing Rich Internet Applications. AIR is a cross-platform tool for leveraging both Flash and Flex as desktop applications. These tools allow us to develop data driven backend solutions to provide quick and easy ways to manage our client facing presentations. They are a bridge between the customer, our products, and the underlying data that connects them.

Business Intelligence

Beyond providing an easy to manage interface for updating our content, what else can an RIA backend provide us with? When you have a bridge between your customers, your products, and the data that connects them, you are presented with the opportunity to visualize this connection. Analytics, reporting and trends equate to business intelligence. Flex and AIR provide robust tools for visualizing data. Charts and graphs are just the tip of the iceberg. Realtime regional maps showing orders as they happen. Visualize trends in three-dimensional space. There is virtually no limit to the variety of ways your data can be presented to provide your team with constant real-time statics and information about your products and clients.

User Experience

The experience of your clients is vital. It is equally as important to ensure that your team has access to tools that make their jobs easier. We want people to actually use the data that is available, and remove any obstacles that might prevent this from happening. We don’t want to create a solution that will be used for the first week after the roll-out meeting, and watch usage taper off because it is too difficult to use, ugly, or simply doesn’t function. What we want, what we need, is a lasting solution that will span many campaigns and iterations of the client facing content. By creating a robust, easy to use, backend solution we are providing tools for our team to use and rely on. We want a solution that will grow as business grows and meet the needs of next year as well as it meets the needs of today.

Tying it all Together

If a complete solution is the ultimate goal, than we need to focus on the user experience from both the customer perspective as well as the needs of our team to adequately support our customers and products. Data driven rich internet applications built on Adobe Flex and AIR provide a means to achieve this goal.

Feel free to check out our Atlanta Interactive Agency, and learn more about what we do.

Joel Hooks – Woven Interactive, LLC

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