WPF vs Apollo/Flex as interpreted by a MS Certified Professional.

Parvez Ansari, Microsoft Certified professional gives his rather straight forward view on Flex, Apollo and Flash vs WPF. I think it is more then interesting what state of mind he is in.

He kicks off with this :
“Now a days people are creating hype about Apollo and Flex. When I had a look at what these two products are, I found that Apollo and Flex is just the replica of .NET Framework. They are talking so loud about Flash and Flex. Guys Flash is just an animation software which was made with the intention of being a preloader.”

Wow…so Flex is a replica of .NET ? Let me see…wasn’t it the Avalon team to hire well-known figures from the Flash industry to work on Sparkle ? That being established; I’m not going to tell you what was there first; mxml or xaml. Basically, I just don’t know. What I do know is that Flex 1 has been around a lot longer then the similar MS tech….

Furthermore Parvez states :
“It cannot take place of programming Language.”

….you obviously havn’t seen what AS3 (yes it’s a scripting language, I know) in the hands of a developer can do….

Next :
‘Apollo people are giving counts of Apollo runtime downloads. Dot NET Framework is downloaded four times more than their Apollo runtime.”

Considering Apollo is in developer ALPHA, that’s actually a compliment! .net has been around alot longer; but the 3 version to implement the WPF technology isn’t that well adopted at all yet.
Ow, and about that download : the installer for .net 3.0 is 2.8Mb, which will then continue to download another 30MB….compare that to Apollo’s current 6Mb footprint. On the bright side, .net’s footprint for Mac actually is 0Mb where Apollo is 8Mb. On the other hand; that 0Mb download comes from the fact that it’s not supported on Mac………

and continues into
“WPF technology and .NET Framework 3.0 brings in the years of experience of Microsoft in programming field. WPF is really a revolution. The combination of WPF/Expression Suite with the programming capabilities of Visual Studio makes it the best Programming Suite ever available.”

I’ll refrain on making any comments on the WPF technology. I haven’t spent enough time looking into WPF to tell you anything about the core technology, or how good it is, or it’s not.
But I will take you up on the “years of experience” :
I’ve always been a Windows user (after having to move away from the then dead AmigaOS). It’s good enough for me; I enjoyed the software, it enabled me to do my job, entertain myself, communicate, and get a fairly easy cleanly installed machine. XP is a stable and usable OS; all I need. Not complaining there. Recently I was lured by the Vista hype and gave it a try….that other product where MS so eagerly wishes to state is “built on top of years of experience”. I was just thinking : what did they actually do the last 5 years ? What really happened ? Couldn’t get halve of my hardware working, got several crashes on otherwise stable machine, and decided to go back to XP. I needed a killer machine to actually run it. Maybe my next-gen os will be X. Please do not use the “years of experience” as a proof of quality, it fails quite badly at this point in time; and as history has proven, years of experience doesn’t necessarily make you the best.

Mr. Ansari concludes :
“Let this year of 2007 come to an end then we will see where this Apollo and Flex stand :D

Well if all MS Certified professionals have this kind of attitude towards competitive products, I’m willing to take you up on that one ! You’ll never noticed what just hit you, if you don’t know it’s coming.

I’ll leave my personal views on WPF technology and such out of this, but with such an invitation to correct ignorance, I couldn’t resist myself. I would never underestimate another technology, without having a proper look at it.

Found this via Actionscript Hero. who elegantly choose to just link, and not reply to anything….that’s what I should’ve done here ;-)

Just remember the blogs slogan : “Parvez Ansari Told You….”

This entry was posted in Flex. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to WPF vs Apollo/Flex as interpreted by a MS Certified Professional.

  1. Martin says:

    It must be a stooge.
    I reckon he’s actually been hired by Adobe because its full of classic bait ‘flash is just animation’, ‘.net is everywhere so its great’, ‘linux is just an m$ copy’

    its just asking to be ripped apart.

    mind you, if its real then i just feel a bit sorry for him.

    [RALPH]
    I recon it is..it’s so much flamebait….

    Adobe should hope this guy opinion is copied all over, and then they really need to send him a cake for done services
    [/RALPH]

  2. Daniel says:

    Oh boy, this guy should have done what you did in regard to WPF: If you don’t know enough about a certain technology, then refrain from making ignorant stereotypical assumptions about it; especially not on the internet.

    I too feel kinda sorry for the guy now. :(

    Fantastic rebuttal Ralf.

  3. I just can’t believe this kind of statement: “Guys, Flash is just an animation software which was made with the intention of being a preloader”

    That’s like saying, “guys, a computer is only meant for writing text documents.”

    Jesse James Garrett, the guy who coined the term AJAX made a similar ridiculous statement last year at The Web And Beyond conference in Tuschinski, Amsterdam.
    He mentioned that ‘most people that work with Flash are animators’. Is he really that ignorant of alternatives for AJAX? Or is he bashing the competition, showing his own lack of knowledge, just like this guy?

    The most positive term I can think of for this phenomenon is Oldschool :)

    PS: I noticed Yahoo Maps is now a Flash app! Wasn’t it AJAX before? They now call that the dial-up version, lol!

  4. MOLOKO says:

    that guy’s an idiot quite frankly – it’s barely even worth responding to his poorly argued comments! The very fact that he sticks ‘Microsoft Certified Professional’ at the top of his blog as if it’s something to be proud of – you only have to pass one MS exam to be an MCP and most of them really aren’t that hard (especially when there’s so many cheat sites around you can go into the exam knowing enough answers in advance to guarantee a pass). I passed three with flying colours and you don’t see me harping on about being an MCP!

    One thing you didn’t mention – .NET only works on Windows whereas Flex works on all platforms. Similarly Apollo will eventually run on Windows, Mac and the major Linux distros – I bet WPF won’t!

  5. JD on EP says:

    Have mercy!

    Have mercy! Parvez Ansari, a Microsoft Certified Professional, is getting pretty beat up for writing things like “Apollo and Flex are just a replica of .NET Framework” and “Flash is just an animation software which was made with the intention of being …

  6. Parvez is a Blind fool!!!

    Nuff said

  7. christian says:

    Sorry Ralph, but I’m wondering why people spend time reading, and writing about, stuff written by someone that doesn’t seem to have a clue about IT. How can someone that uses computers and softwares from many years talk like that? Personally I use: Mircosoft, Apple, Linux and quite often I hate them all. I would have stuff to say about WPF and Vista, but I really think it doesn’t worth to talk about.

  8. Scott Barnes says:

    “Wow…so Flex is a replica of .NET ? Let me see…wasn’t it the Avalon team to hire well-known figures from the Flash industry to work on Sparkle ? That being established; I’m not going to tell you what was their first; mxml or xaml. Basically, I just don’t know. What I do know is that Flex 1 has been around a lot longer then the similar MS tech….”

    Well, I’m not going to call the race finished, but when I was tinkering in the Flex Alpha, in the actual early days, I do recall seeing XAML in its flavoured form existing at the same time. I can probably dig deep into the vaults of MS here and figure out the date/time stamp of which was built but it’s our word against Macromedia’s? ;)

    That being said, Clause’s DENG was initially similar along with a whole array of folks out there doing it at the time (people were getting that XML could be used to describe UI. Say, didn’t HTML do that?)

    I think you place a little more stock into the whole employment of ex-Macromedians as being the absolute stock of why Expression etc are the way it is today. I’ve meet & interacted with a lot of the product teams here at Microsoft in my short time so far, and I got to say, these folk are smart and innovative enough to think for themselves ;)

    I do however agree with your initial approach to this post, the concept of FLEX and Apollo was being downplayed.

    I hold great respect for both these technology platforms, and while I’m a critic of Apollo, as I think they could do better and want them to do better – I still treat the products with enough respect they deserve.

    Flash language is extremely powerful in the right hands, I mean you should spend some time with Darren Schall, Ted Patrick, Jess Warden, Robin Debreuil, Nigel Pegg, Branden Hall, Sam Wan etc etc… all these guys have all contributed in many ways on how extremely powerful Flash as technology can be in a programmer’s hands.

    That being said, let’s take a step back and come back to why AS3 is the way it is. It’s there to entice both Java and C# engineers to the FLEX table, and make no mistake that’s why it’s in the format it’s in. We’ve all watched ActionScript grow from a basic prototype language that most Smalltalk developers loved through to a teenage OOP centric language which did leave the design community a little confused and lost.

    So there is a posture to move it into the .NET hands so I can appreciate why the comment was thrown, I disagree with the way it was stated but can understand the motivation.

    “Considering Apollo is in developer ALPHA, that’s actually a compliment! .net has been around allot longer; but the 3 version to implement the WPF technology isn’t that well adopted at all yet.
    Ow, and about that download : the installer for .net 3.0 is 2.8Mb, which will then continue to download another 30MB….compare that to Apollo’s current 6Mb footprint. On the bright side, .net’s footprint for Mac actually is 0Mb where Apollo is 8Mb. On the other hand; that 0Mb download comes from the fact that it’s not supported on Mac………”

    Firstly,

    .NET 3.0 gets bundled with software going forward, all it takes is one LOB application to require it and you have it installed (that’s pre Web discussion). Given there are a lot of mature .NET applications being built as we speak that are very likely to enter the corporate firewalls, let’s be realistic and associate the fact that 30mb isn’t much to chew on for non-Vista machines.

    Secondly,

    Windows Vista – you have it already so I could argue, that there is 0mb footprint. Given that all new machines now are going to have Vista installed, and the fact that in the past and in the future, Microsoft will have majority market share for client pc’s, do we really need to enter into this discussion (I know that sounds arrogant, but I’m tired of the Apple vs Vista thing, as the numbers are stacking in Vista’s favour and hell, even Apple user’s are buying Vista for Parallels – so let’s move on?).

    Thirdly,

    X-Platform is over-rated. I say that not to spark a religious debate, it’s to illustrate that all companies whom embark on the notion of X-Platform first need to qualify their target demographics more. “Does Apple users of my product(s) / service(s) generate revenue of some kind for me”. If you have 20% of your audience using Apple desktops, and they generate 2% revenue for you. Whilst you have 80% using Windows Platforms and out of which, are responsible for 65% revenue. Which do you choose? keeping in mind something always has to give when you go down X-Platform path.

    Apollo is dead sexy, I agree but it has limitations currently in alpha and I have no doubt it will have some of these limitations in 1.0 (maybe 2.0 we can rediscuss this piece of the argument going forward).

    Fourthly,

    Flex development hurts. Apollo provides beyond the browser experience which is awesome, yet the boundaries haven’t changed. It takes around 1-2 years to produce a quality FLEX developer, this is because of two reasons:

    - ActionScript 3.0 has to be absorbed, learnt and digested and then somehow architected back into development teams.

    - Flex SDK / Framework has to be done the same, as the mix-ins for FLEX do bake a lot of developers minds in terms of how it all comes together “behind the tag”. So the moment someone in a developer team decides to make his/her own “Component”, they will come to this realisation ;)

    WPF, WPF/e and etc going forward have two common elements going forward. C#/VB & XAML. You learn either of these and most in the Microsoft development world already know C#/VB like the back of their hands (which translates to established processes, workflow etc) and only need to learn XAML (which in reality isn’t a requirement as the tools kind of act as a crutch in many respect of the word) (MXML in FLEX is the easy part as well). So you have a passport already to all of Microsofts technology stack, which helps ROI when pitching it to upper tiers. AS3, it stops and starts with FLEX/FLASH IDE that’s it.

    Not so elegant in terms of ROI for LOB cycles of development. Does that mean it sux? hell no, it serves a powerful need and purpose but let’s qualify the reality vs. potential more is all I’m saying.

    I agree Flex/Apollo was downplayed and they should be respected more by the Microsoft community as to do so devalues both camps value propositions going forward.

    Right Tool, Right Job, Right Time.

    -
    Scott Barnes
    Developer Evangelist
    Microsoft.

  9. Joel says:

    “Given that all new machines now are going to have Vista installed,”

    And then quickly uninstalled in favor of a stable low-overhead XP install.

  10. I’m seriously begining to think that Apollo has Microsoft scared.

  11. ubi de feo says:

    I’ll throw my 2 cents on this.

    Obviously everybody has seen MS people often throwing words to the sky about this and that.

    the collection of failures cannot even be compared to the successes.
    I became a mac user 4 years ago and still need to use XP for some projects (I run it off a mac, of course).
    The os is stable enough and I don’t complain.

    I haven’t had time to look into apollo yet, but I’ll be glad to download the VM.
    a thing that ralph doen’t mention is that the .NET fw is also pushed towards you by the evil updater.
    if you keep rubbing something on my face, I’ll take it just not to have you do it again.
    except for a Nokia project we work on, I never had the need to use the .NET fw.

    do you think I installed MONO to be able to take advantage of this amazing technology?

    I develop my prototyping in flash because I can do it on mac.
    it’s faster, and I don’t have to learn anything nearly similar to VB or related languages.

    When Apollo will be more stable, I will go for it to deploy my applications to my clients.
    For now I rely on Flash8 and mProjector.
    If we need to develop anything more complex, we chose to use C++ and have the most stable solution for commercial projects.

    I’m looking forward to see very good uses of Apollo, and sure there won’t be much long to wait (already started).
    Anyone seen any use of this MS technology yet?

    let the facts speak

  12. Scott Barnes says:

    Andrew,

    Fanboi ;) hehehe.

    In order to get Apollo traction, you need a greater mass then under 10k developers sustaining the cycles required in order to use it. You furthermore need to grow the FLEX market more in order to entice Apollo into the marketshare per say.

    While I hear the same stuff you do man, 98% of the worlds computers have FLASH, 95% of the worlds computers also have Windows. less then 80% of the worlds computers don’t have FLASH 9. Keep it in perspective.

    Let’s also get back to basics, how many of the worlds computers have installed Apollo Runtime?
    110,000 right? That’s impressive.

    20million have bought Windows Vista in the first 2 months.

    Which marketshare do you think i’m going to hitch a ride with ?

    Ok, lets got another step further. What is the majority of the 98% for example using Flash for? YouTube or great applications like ScrapBlog?

    Take another step further, what’s the average RIA look like in Flash? how many users use it etc. Let’s start putting some realistic figures and disection of Flash on the table.

    We’ve got around 10k (to be generous, lets round up to 15k FLEX developers world wide. Producing how many actual FLEX applications per month?)

    What do you think the stats would likely show for .NET applications say Windows Forms for example would look like?

    Windows Vista is exceeding even our own expectations, will this sustain, probably not it may get stagnant or not. It could climb to say 20% for all we know.

    Vista is widely reported to be exceeding XP’s sales figures in its mayden voyages. Mac’s are actually on the decline for the first time in 9 months so something’s triggered this. Maybe everyones bought a MAC and using Vista inside it? ( which validates that Vista is still worthwhile to develop to).

    Is Microsoft “scared” Apollo? only as scared as we should be with other concepts out there like AJAX or whatever the latest buzz of the month is.

    There is no black/white winners here folks, it’s simply down to what consumers want to use, how the use it and when they use it.

    Google has its existance in life, just like Yahoo has its? :)

    -
    Scott Barnes
    Developer Evangelist
    Microsoft – Q. The fact I know both Adobe and Microsoft technlogy stack makes me weaker or stronger as a developer?

  13. This post is sparking some interesting debate. But comparing Apollo Alpha downloads to Windows Vista sales doesn’t make any sense!

    Using your numbers, it would make more sense to compare the 20% of all computers that DO have Flash9 to the definitely less than 20% of all computers that run Vista. Okay, it doesn’t matter. The only point I want to make is that developer Alpha downloads and worldwide OS-sales are just two completely different things :)

  14. Milan says:

    @ Scott Barnes.

    You are mixing apples and oranges. OS’s is one thing, applications another. Vista is OS, Apollo is runtime (alpha), so comparison isn’t possible. The point is that Flash player is a powerful toy and Flex is a powerful rad tool for it. So I don’t see why developers wouldn’t embrace them. I think they will, more and more.
    Then, Apollo is a revolution. Will it succeed? We’ll see. In the past Java took big part of the enterprise from MS, so there ARE reasons why MS should be scared, I think.
    But the main point is that reason for this blog post is a really bad technical comparison and I truly believe that technical comparisons should be made on the neutral ground…
    BR, Milan

  15. Scott Barnes says:

    Michiel,

    In this context it does :) I usually would agree but the context is that Windows based technologies have a larger hurdle to overcome in order to provide “reach” within the Expression Output(s) per say.

    Where as Flash Player has supposedly 98% of the worlds computers and “Apollo” is something to be feared.

    Point is when you start taking down actual statistics and compare them against the points located in this thread, one can paint a stark reality.

    Adoption cycles of Vista are growing, which in turn means WPF is a compelling argument to build to, given it has .XBAP (WPF housed within the browser) Capabilities.

    Now given Apollo is the pitch, there’s the notion that X-Platform is a must as – that’s what all the kids are doing now days right?

    Well going by that logic, then one has to equate the Apple marketshare going forward, as isn’t that a sales feature of Apollo? comprimise on access to the operating system to make way for wider reach in platforms?

    Yet, the Apple marketshare is around 6% and was noted as being on the decline (could pickup next qtr who knows). Given that it’s around the 6% this is a market worth fighting for by all accounts on the Apollo feature sales pitch?

    Yet if 110,000 downloads have occured of Apollo Runtime, we’re currently dealing with a minority. Ok so it’s Alpha, there’s more work to be done in this space and when 1.0 hits, look out. So lets assume it tripples the current download rates as we see it today.

    Is that still enough marketshare to make Apollo a relevant argument for the reasons why it is a saviour to X-platform thought leadership?

    Meanwhile, Vista is being adopted at a wider rate both in PC market but also creeping into the Apple market (folks want fingers in both barrells… thats fine, Vista still gets a sale right? usage of Vista occurs right? reach still stacks in its favour and so on).

    Back to Flash, so Flash sits at 98% of the worlds computers in one version or another. Yet, we know that Flash 9 isn’t the 98% its less. So rants like the original post are saying “Don’t build for Windows, as it has a lower reach rate but build for Flash as it has a higher reach rate” right?

    So if Flash 9 is below 98% and is more realistically around 70-80% and given that Windows XP is much higher? umm what are we discussing again?

    I’m all for Flash for lots of reasons, but sometimes I wonder what the hell is wrong with Flash advocates as they could probably spend more time pushing Adobe harder to make it a stronger marketshare firstly, and secondly work harder to produce easier workflow so discussons like this don’t occur.

    Yet, we pick the fight with Microsoft because all the kids are doing it right?

    -
    Scott Barnes
    Developer Evangelist
    Microsoft.

  16. It’s interesting to see that the author of the article in question has apologised for his remarks and has DELETED all comments from the post (Mr Barnes, I’m sure that you’re familiar with the idea of backing out of blog posts that you’ve made in the past: http://blogs.msdn.com/msmossyblog/archive/2007/01/22/taking-down-a-published-post-is-a-no-no-with-microsoft.aspx)

  17. Oops, my bad – comments were there, just linked lower down.

  18. ubi de feo says:

    mr. barnes, does the job descr
    “Developer Evangelist”
    allow you to act like a Scientology guy?
    I’m just waiting for you to jump on the “what’s your fear?” wagon to justify your ideas.
    on the “20 millions have bought Vista” thing, I’d say that it’s some hell of a number crunching you’re doing here.
    first of all:
    if I go to a store and whatever I buy (including groceries) comes with a pre-installed Vista, do you think I’m happy about it?
    don’t you read people’s opinions?
    You install Vista, realize it’s slow as hell and it hits your nerves, and you realize you want a simple and faster OS.
    then you switch back to your XP.

    people using parallels:
    I’m one of them, and you want to know why?
    I work for Nokia’s Flagship Stores, and my company creates some on-screen applications for user interaction.

    The stores’ screens are run by PC machines to display videos.
    Arean’t you aware of the fact that Quartz would have been a lot faster in video rendering of H264 contents on mac, rather than DirectWhatever on Windows playing MPEG?
    The format is not even native, we had to install codecs…

    Being this Nokia project one of the top revenues of my business, I’m forced to deploy my Flash products for the Windows Platform.
    What do you think I develop them on? Windows Vista?
    YOU have to be fool, sir.

    After 11 years of Windows usage, I switched to the mac platform 4 years ago.
    Main reasons: a Unix core, a real shell, a stable platform, turning off my laptop once a month or less (while needing to restart the parallels VM xp every now and then. not the Fedora though. that sticks).
    I develop little flash, always more focusing on hardware as my business grows.
    I’m more than happy with my macs (I own 5) and run XP on parallels because I didn’t decide the technology to be the base of that project.
    If it was for me, it would have been Macs.
    The reason why our main product BlueSocket is compiled for Windows, is that we created it initially for Nokia.
    We’re porting to Os X though, and Linux soon.

    the news this morning reported that MS will pull XP Oem off the shelves on jan 2k8.
    Do you think it’s a good idea?
    that thing is the only remaining strong point in the switch from win to mac.
    but I leave this to marketing experts, I’m just a young developer with an eye for (small) business.

    ralph, I beg your pardon for this bragging.

    ubi de feo
    twodotone.com

  19. Still at the numbers game. I’ll play along.

    It might be smart to look at what kind of users this 6% of computers (using Mac) is.
    We’re talking about lots of designers, developers, artists, all in all, people that use the web a lot and contribute to it. That’s different from the average PC in an average home.

    Besides, 6% doesn’t sound like a neglegible small number to me. It’s millions and millions of people!

    PS: I’m on a PC with Windows XP.

  20. christian says:

    I don’t think that any clever discussion here could help those 20 millions people on spend more money to switch OS and love again computers :(

  21. Ryan Taylor says:

    How entertaining. I’m reminded of my favorite quote from the movie “Pirates Of Silicon Valley”…

    Steve Jobs: We’re better than you are! We have better stuff.
    Bill Gates: You don’t get it, Steve. That doesn’t matter!

    Microsoft will never change.

  22. Donald hamm says:

    Well, I’m MCP, MCAD, MCSD and SCJP. I have over 20 years in the industry working with all kinds of MS and Java Technologies (been doing MS since 1988, Java since 1996, .NET since 2001). I’ve also worked with Ruby On Rails (GREAT product), Spring, Spring.NET, and now Flex. I’ve done ColdFusion in the past also. Hopefully, you are beginning to see my point. You use the technology that is best for the job you’re doing AND the client’s ability to support the product you’ve developed AFTER you’re gone.

    One thing to note: Microsoft has always been ‘get it out there and we’ll improve it as we go’. Usually by version 3 or 4, its a pretty good version. Look @ MS Office and Word — remember Lotus 123 and Word Perfect?

    So, what does this have to do with Flex? Flex is currently more stable and ActionScript 3.0 is more like a real language (still have issues with overloading constructors, and multi-threading, but those are SMALL issues). I’ve used Flex Builder 3 (I’m familiar with Eclipse too!) as well as Expressions Blend, Expressions Web, and VS 2008. I still find FB3 more ‘integrated’ when working with Flex vs Silverlight. Also, I use WebORB to do the backend (for .NET) and it really has made the work fun and rewarding.

    I learned long ago not to get to ‘excited’ by hype. Proof will come with actual apps and market presence (like Flash has right now). I will say MS will catch up — they always do. I just hope Adobe will continue the investment into Flex/Cairngorm and the community. Its why I’m working in Flex right now and still utilizing my .NET/Java experience for backend SOAs.

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