Cairngorm = Narcotic for Flex developers

Posted on 19 September 2008

It’s impossible to be a Flex consultant and NOT deal with Cairngorm at some point. Cairngorm is everywhere and everyone seems to be talking about it.

We need to understand that Cairngorm is not a solution to a problem. It is an architecture to force stricter standards compliance with the MVC concept.

MVC (“Model-View-Controller”) is a concept, and we as developers are free to adhere as closely or as loose to this concept as we like.

Each project will have different requirements for the structure that is used to follow an MVC concept and this is where true developers shine.

Common problems or pitfalls in current languages are solved by the use of well known design patterns, not architectures. Design patterns hand a solution to a developer and allow him/her to integrate it in the most appropriate fashion.

Architectures such as Cairngorm create many layers of communication that for some projects may be perfect but for others just too much. They are heavy, commonly break development standards such as encapsulation and programming to interface as well as create vast amounts of linked classes that are near impossible to re-factor in large projects.

Cairngorm has its benefits if used sparingly, but all too often there is an overkill of usage, in which adding one simple feature can cause an avalanche of class modifications.

I find that I become easily annoyed with the half dozen layers, retyping the same code over and over again in each class component and begin to find myself breaking out of Cairngorm standards after only a few hours of development.

Creating a common standard is a good thing, but isn’t that what the language is in itself? A developer is taught standards, best practices and theories for design and some will expand upon these basics and become experts, while others will become lazy and produce poor results.

Let’s all not be punished by those with poor coding practices and be forced to use these training wheels.

… and don’t get me started on rails.

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