OpenLaszlo More Than Just Flashy Graphics

OpenLaszlo Photo Application

OpenLaszlo has always been a strong player (technically at least) in the rich internet application space. (I also wrote about it back in May last year).

OpenLaszlo applications are deployed on the server-side, from where they serve up a rich UI via the Flash plug-in in your browser. But the product has just become a lot more versatile: the latest version has jumped on the AJAX bandwagon with an alternative runtime based on DHTML.

Their main demo, LZPIX Photo Application, is viewable in both Flash and DHTML versions; and they’re virtually indistinguishable from each other. So if you want to target the largest possible user-base then probably the DHTML version is the one to choose. Or flick a switch and offer your users a choice, of course.

The LZPIX Photo Application is actually a front-end to the ever popular Flickr website. Admittedly it isn’t the most imaginative Flickr front-end that I’ve seen, but it’s still a great demonstration of Laszlo’s ability to create a rich, dynamic UI using not very much code. (Laszlo apps are created declaratively on the server using XUL-style XML).

To all intents and purposes, OpenLaszlo is a direct competitor to Adobe/Macromedia’s Flex; except, of course, Flex can only “do” Flash. Now that OpenLaszlo has an alternative, extremely pervasive DHTML runtime, more power to them.

About the Author

Matt Stephens is a senior architect, programmer and project leader based in Central London. He co-wrote Agile Development with ICONIX Process, Extreme Programming Refactored, and Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML - Theory and Practice.