"Blue Iris represents a pioneering use of Flash MX to a build a true enterprise-class application. We think the rich user experience MITEM has created using Flash MX will influence an entirely new segment of developers to choose this method for building mission-critical applications."

Lucian Beebe

Sr. Flash Product Manager Macromedia


.Net? Java? No Thanks, We'll take Macromedia Instead.

By InternetWeek:

"MITEM Corporation is experienced in Java and Microsoft's .Net framework, but when the business software maker decided to build its newest application for the healthcare industry, it passed on both. Instead, the privately held company decided to build the application using Macromedia's Flash technology."

Read the full articleInternetWeek Article


Macromedia Showcase

Read the Blue Iris case study developed by Macromedia

Macromedia Showcase


Macromedia Presentation

View Breeze presentation that Macromedia produced to promote Blue Iris

See the CSF Case Study


 

 

 

Macromedia Flash

Choosing a User Interface Technology for Rich Internet Applications

When considering the features and benefits that Web-based composite applications should deliver to the enterprise, developers must consider interface technologies and design approaches that provide:

  • Optimal performance in an enterprise environment
  • Optimal end-user workflow by delivering rich functionality
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Thin-client application

Considering the plethora of options available, the Internet community has primarily settled on a small number of solutions. Although HTML is used as the primary delivery mechanism for almost all Internet sites, it does not offer the best capability of delivering a Rich Internet Application (RIA). Its limitiation is that it was oringally designed to be a framework for describing documents and text.

The demands of today dictate powerful, dynamic and efficient workflow based environments that mimic a Windows look and feel, but offer the simplicity and ease of deployment that comes with thin-client based applications. That leaves only a handful of technology solutions to the developmment community. The three leading contenders are Java, Microsoft's ActiveX and Macromedia's Flash.

Java, typically used to develop thick-client user interfaces, is notoriously brittle and requires ample administration to maintain. In addition, despite it's intent to be cross-platform capable, it has inherent constraints in deployment capabilities depending upon the target operating systems.

ActiveX ties the deployment to specific versions on the Windows operating system and excludes users from using other opertaing systems such as those from Apple or Sun MircoSystems.

Eliminating HTML, Java and ActiveX leaves one real contender to the RIA environment - Flash. Built using Macromedia's Flash MX 2004 product, RIA's can be portable, highly efficent and yet yield the same experience and provide for the same workflow as any thick-client desktop application. Flash offers many advantages as a user interface technology for developing business-class, composite applications. These include:  

  • Broad platform compatibility (Windows, Macintosh, Linux, PDAs, etc.)
  • A dominant install base, reflecting usage in 98% of the world's Web browsers, ensuring compatibility with existing systems and ease of maintenance
  • Operability across low-bandwidth dial-up or broadband connections without compromising the user experience
  • The combined benefits of a rich user experience and the convenience of a truly portable thin client

In addition, Flash offers performance advantages when combined with other Macromedia products such as JRun and Flash Remoting in a server-based architecture.

For example, the combination of MITEM's legacy integration platform with the JRun server, Flash Remoting, and the Flash user interface can be deployed in a mission critical environment to present users with data from multiple back-end systems.

MITEM's Event-Driven Integration Platform and Flash Optimize Performance and the User Experience

A MITEM integration server communicates asynchronously with back-end systems, enabling the transaction of multiple data sets while simultaneously allowing the user interactive control with the client application.

When combined in a product architecture with MITEM's integration platform, Flash is a highly complementary technology owing to its ability to communicate asynchronously between the client and the back-end systems. Flash allows this architecture to conduct multiple transactions between the user and the server without a blocking form interaction. For example, a user might initiate a client's request for an update while simultaneously interacting with other portions of the application as that request is processed on the back-end.

Conversely, with HTML pages, when a users sends a request from a browser to the Web server, the server must complete the transaction before returning the result to the browser. This makes Web-based enterprise applications that integrate with multiple disparate back-end systems seem sluggish even when operating on a broadband Internet connection. Combining a Flash-based user interface and MITEM's integration platform lets composite applications operate in an entirely asynchronous mode, enabling a massive performance gain and significantly improving the user experience.

Example: Blue Iris Delivers Desktop Richness of Functionality in a Web-Based Application

Blue Iris enhances, extends and integrates existing hospital information systems. Acting as a real-time, read/write portal for physicians, Blue Iris pulls from back end systems critical patient data such as lab results, medications, images, and dictated voice recordings and delivers them directly to the desktop or to any mobile computing device. Blue Iris presents all of this critical data in a single-view, Web-based application that mirrors the natural workflow of clinicians.

The Blue Iris client, built with Flash MX 2004, provides a rich, dynamic user environment that enables such features as context-sensitive pop-up windows that can be dragged around the screen to interact with the whole application, affording functionality now expected by users familiar with Windows and Macintosh environments. The interactive features of Flash make the Blue Iris user interface more responsive to the user. Collapsible headers and dynamically-inserted information are among the features that can be presented in a more efficient and intuitive way.

For a live demonstration of the Blue Iris user interface please sign-up for a forthcoming web seminar by visiting http://www.blueiris.md.



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