Should you use Cairngorm?

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Since the release of Flex 2.0 there has been alot of interest generated within the Flex community about the use of the Cairngorm micro-architecture. There is also alot of new Flex developers who are not yet familiar with both Flex and ActionScript that are jumping into everything all at once. I think that this is a really bad idea for developers who are new to Flex.

Cairngorm provides an architectural solution for common design problems. It has been tried and tested in both Flex 1.5 and Flex 2.0. Cairngorm is currently considered the defacto-standard for developing enterprise RIA’s with Adobe Flex. However, if you are new to Flex and ActionScript you should first concentrate on learning all of the new tools that are now available to you. Trying to learn Cairngorm on top of all of this is only going to confuse you, and even worse, might discourage you.

So when should you use Cairngorm? I would suggest you only use Cairngorm once you have a good understanding of how both Flex and ActionScript work. If you try to tie it all together without really understanding how Flex works you are bound to run into problems. Once you have learned the basics of Flex and ActionScript you should apply your new knowledge to build some small applications.

Once you have built a few small applications are you then ready for Cairngorm? I would say only if you have a good understanding of Design Patterns, why they are used, and how they apply to the development of Flex applications. And you should also have a clear understanding of the different patterns that are implemented in the Cairngorm architecture, most of which have been adopted from the core J2EE patterns such as the Front Controller Pattern, View Helper Pattern and so on. Once you have a solid understanding of Flex, ActionScript and Design Patterns, as well as some experience under your belt, then you are ready to start developing applications with Cairngorm.

As I have mentioned in a previous entry, I will be posting various sample applications which demonstrate some of the most common Design Patterns and how they are implemented in ActionScript 3, as well as tutorials on Cairngorm. You can view my previous posts which demonstrate a simple implementation of the Singleton Pattern and the Factory Pattern (both of which are implemented in cairngorm).

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