Rich internet applications have exploded in the past few years and the technology to build them has improved by leaps and bounds. But there are still technical challenges to face when you attempt to replicate the user experience we take for granted in most desktop applications.
Initially we attempted to build our application entirely in Flash but after months of development we realized there were distinct advantages and production efficiencies to be gained by converting to Adobe’s Flex 2.0, which was a relatively new release but was already gaining traction with the developer community. Although we essentially had to start over and delay our launch, ultimately we knew we would be able to release new features and improvements much more quickly using the Flex application framework, which was an important part of our service offering.
Saving versions and the ability to “undo” actions presented another challenge unique to web-based applications. Since it would be unprofessional for a photographer’s changes to occur in real-time on their published site, it was important to hold all edits and additions in memory until the user was ready to commit their updates. For example, users can add photos to portfolios, rearrange the viewing order, rename folders and even delete images without affecting their live website until they choose to publish their changes.
We also spent a considerable amount of time re-skinning Flex’s built-in components to be consistent with clickbooq’s design and enhance usability and we are happy with the outcome. You’ll see most of the Flex applications out there stick to the Flex’s standard look-and-feel, but we were able to nearly replicate the original mock-ups of our GUI and produce a nice, slick interface for our users to interact with.