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The difference with the new vSphere Web Client SDK is that it is a much deeper and richer integration than with the previous C# client. The new client was built with extensibility at its core, it offers a multitude of extension points to help 3rd party plugins provide a consistent user experience for managing and monitoring vSphere objects or their own custom objects. This UI extensibility requires a Flex UI at the moment, the data extensibility is done on the app server with java extensions. It's true that there will be a Flex learning curve for plugin writers but the amount of code required is minimized because of what the platform offers out of the box (try our SDK samples or the Eclipse wizard to create new views). We're committed to improving our new platform over time and there will be other forms of integration in the future.
Also, the new Web Client supports existing html plugins that were built for the C# client.
VMware Web Client platform
Can you please elaborate a little bit on your previous response?
Does that mean that there is absolutely no way to support HTML based plugins?
Thanks in advance,
Right, a true integration with the 5.1 vSphere Web Client requires a Flex plugin. We support old style HTML plugins in this release but this doesn't take advantage of the new extensibility features of the client.
Appreciate the fast response.
This is a bit of troublesome news then. With all the recent news and uncertainty that has been revolving around Flash, Flash Mobile out of the picture and Flex going to the community (sounds like Adobe is not really supporting it directly anymore to many) as well as the increasing popularity and expansion of applications based on HTML5. I personally also have doubts about browsers supporting Flash in the future or better how that support will be across the board.
Are there any plans to reconsider the decisions that were made for Flex since I am fairly confident they were made before all of these events?
Thanks in advance,
We are not ignorant to HTML5 and looking into ways to incorporate it in future releases.For the time being, though, the options are: use HTML and be limited or use Flex and get tighter & better integration.Your SDK complient flex plugins will work with future versions of the client.
Thanks for the response.
So HTML still works, "just limited" for now.
Can you please define "be limited" if possible? Don't mean to keep asking questions but it's really important for us to understand the clear demarcation point between the flex features and HTML "limited". What would one loose functionality wise if decide to go with HTML?
Really appreciate the responses. I've looked in other places and have not found clear and concise responses to these questions.
If there is a place that goes over the distinction between HTML Vs Flex features, please feel free to point me to it.
Thanks in advance,
You would have to look at the SDK doc to see in details what "deep integration" means, but the summary of what is not supported for legacy HTML plugins is:
- ability to add custom views under the Manage or Monitor top level tabs
- ability to add custom objects to the inventory and define object views consistent with the rest of the UI
- ability to extend existing views (adding portlets in a summary view) and existing vSphere objects lists (adding columns)
- ability to add categories to the inventory list
The details of the HTML support is in Appendix B of the vSphere Web Client Extensions Programming Guide.
This is exactly what I was looking for.
Appreciate all the help and I am hopeful that the "legacy" term for HTML will change in the near future to being the "standard-best practice" way of integrating and supporting plugins in vCenter. After all most people seem to think that HTML5 is the future platform for web, "desktop" and certainly mobile development with some of the latest features it now supports.
Thanks again for the help,
Thanks Laurent for your clarification, but one thing that is not convincing is of Flex for third party plugin.
I agree with your point that web client has been developed with keeping extensibility in mind, but I disagree with your argument that for that Flex is required for that. How extensibility is compromised if web client would have developed in HTML is not something that I am able to understand.
You mentioned that one needs some learning curve because of flex – agree but story not ends here. We offer our product as a third party vSphere plugin. It is completely developed in Flex. As per our initial analysis of work required for web client support, it is estimated that lot of rework will required. There is no room for seamless porting. If plugin UI would have been in HTML, a complete rewrite of UI would have been required.
Coming back to your point - 'For that flex is required'. I have cited one example in my question; I have mentioned an example of Symantec's VOM (A universal web client for integrating various Symantec products). I felt that ( maybe I am wrong ), vShpere web client has taken lot of ideas from it because by design I can see similar layout and nomenclature. That is good thing if it has taken; VOM is completely developed in HTML. It also offers extensibility, plug ability.
Was wondering if you could please take a look at my question under:
I would really appreciate it if you could tell me how the plugins are supposed to be debugged. I have researched and tried a few things but as of now I don't see how one can do regular, standard UI development where I am able to set breakpoints, hit my backend server, make changes, refresh the browser, etc..
I am able to do that now with a regular Flex/Java backend. However, due to the hooks I see in the framework now, it seems that one would have to develop, compile, deploy before being able to see any results. I mean, you can see some results, you just can't really test until deploying the way I see things now.
Can you please shed some light as to what the recommended approach for this is? I hate to highjack this thread but you seem to be one of the only responsive individuals in this forum.
If it helps for anything, I work for VCE. Vmware is one of our parent companies.
Would really appreciate if you could give me some pointers here, it'll hopefully help others with similar questions. I am actually surprised that I haven't found anything for this in the documentation or forums.
Would the old style HTML plugins be supported in 6.0 also?
I am not sure the limited support for old-style HTML plugins will remain in 6.0. It was added to 5.1 only to help with the transition to our new Web Client SDK.
It certainly impacts on security.
Flash has been associated with so many vulnerabilities and reliability issues.. simply choosing to "not install on a server or secure machine" became a mandated policy for many businesses.
Suddenly, they need to install it in order to access a VMware client. Truely a huge step backwards.
How long does VMware plan to support/continue usage of the Flex Client ?