Main concern: I want native print preview support in Flex.
When we talk about usability problem in Flash, you may expect I will repeat the back button support, deep link, save web page problem, SEO (1, 2, 3, 4) in Flash, of course not necessary. Ha! I understand we should talk in the same domain, use Flex to build “enterprise application”, “Intranet application”, which are not public facing, consumer website. We do not need to care about back button, SEO… those problems.
Starting from Doubt on Flex as the best option (3), I will focus on the usability problems. Yes, Flash usability problem can be solved but hard to solve, when you gain productivity in Flex framework, Flex builder, if you put in time in solving usability problem, you will loss more time than you gain.
One of important feature in enterprise application is printing: print report, print customer record.
Lack of print preview
In Flex, we can use print-specific child component to design what should print on a paper, which may different from what is shown in the screen. However, once the user click print button, a printer dialog appear, what he can do it print it immediately, he cannot preview what will print on paper.
Lucky to MAC user, MAC OS print provides a preview feature no matter what application you are using.
Lucky to HTML/AJAX based application user, the browser help you, the browser help the developer,too. It has a print preview natively support for any web page.
Flex has provided many visual UI element you can use them easily but lack of a strong integration with OS feature, what will happen when the application move to Apollo? Can user treat Apollo application like traditional desktop software, enjoy the existing, standard feature they have in other software?
In short term, we have to create our own print preview feature in the Flex application, in long term, Adobe must provide a print preview function natively work with OS, not just a simple PrintPreview component.
Is it possible to liquidize layout of print content in different oriented paper in Flex?
Another feature we are existing enjoyed in HTML/AJAX based application, inside print preview, user can choose landscape or portrait, the print content will liquidize to fit the paper width, it is not what Flash does scale to fit the paper width. It is a two lines wrapped tabular data in portrait and become one line tabular data in landscape.