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I am a Realtor in a large metro area. Our MLS provider is building the next generation of its MLS software on Flash. Many in the beta test group are against this, citing numerous reasons including lack of native iPad compatibility, buggy behavior, and the general assertion that Flash is simply the "wrong" platform upon which to build an enterprise level system such as this.

Ultimately, as a Realtor, I continue to be dismayed at the poor quality of software products provided to our industry's software providers while at the same time wondering why sites like Redfin, Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow are so far ahead of us in user interface and functionality, at least from the end user standpoint.

Any thoughts or opinions?

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i don't think flash is an appropriate platform for anything. –  Rein Henrichs May 8 '11 at 6:52
    
@Rein: I don't think this comment is appropriate in any way. –  back2dos May 8 '11 at 11:10
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4 Answers

I don't have any experience developing real estate systems, but I do develop data driven applications in Flash. We develop data warehouse applications using Adobe's Flex framework, but it should be apparent how useful it would be for your application as well. As far as lacking iPad compatibility, Flex applications are coming to iOS, and can already be developed for Andriod, and share code with web and desktop applications. Flash is a mature, cross-platform framework that is perfect for data driven enterprise applications. To say that it has current limitations in certain platforms is correct, but to say that it is "simply wrong" for enterprise development is not correct in my opinion.

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Flash doesn't have any more inherent problems than the alternatives. It's just, that it recently became very hip not to use it, much like it was very hip to use it 10 years ago.

A good Flash developer can create good applications, much like a good HTML/JS programmer can create good applications. There's a number of very high quality frameworks and libraries for both platforms, which will permit an experienced programmer to create great user experiences.

The same way, poor Flash or HTML/JS developers will create crappy applications using either platform. There is little reason to believe, that when they switch platform, they will produce better results. You on the other hand will lose time, because you will have no updates until this new version is usable at all, while there's a risk that it will be worse than what you have now and it is almost certain, that the software of your competitors will not stall meanwhile. I suggest this article for further reading.

You should consider switching your MLS provider an option.

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> You should consider switching your MLS provider an option. That has been my want. The reluctance to do so is based on two realities: a) Our "business rules", as we term the back-end computations and functionality, are very complex. b) Because of our size (10K users/subscribers), many products simply can't do the heavy lifting required of our MLS system. This limits the number of candidate products. c) The last migration to the current system a few years ago was a wholesale disaster, resulting in outrage user. It just seems easier to stick with the same provider. –  Steve May 8 '11 at 15:24
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You mentioned that this is an enterprise system. If all the devices in your enterprise are controlled, i.e. all desktops/laptops/mobile devices are flash compatible, then I don't see flash coming in the way of a successful implementation.

Flash support on Linux is not great. And iOS is a problem. So if you have devices running any of these that will be accessin your software, you would want to raise a red flag.

Many enterprises use Windows for Desktops/Laptops exclusively, and Blackberry for mobile devices. If you're like that, just hope your developer does a good job with the software.

However there are several enterprises I know where desktops/laptops with Linux, or iPhones are in use too.

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Assuming this is a web based application, unless there was a very good, specific reason why they needed flash for the entire client application, I would advise keeping to HTML to ensure the widest possible compatibility with clients. You dont need flash for dynamic maps, for search forms, etc. Augment the HTML interface with Flash as needed for things like video, but dont flat out make the client inaccessible because Flash isnt supported on their device.

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