Macromedia, Inc. today announced the immediate availability of Macromedia Flex, a new presentation server and application framework that enables enterprise development teams to put more effective interfaces on critical business applications.
The Flex server offers a standards-based, declarative programming methodology for delivering rich user experiences via the ubiquitous Macromedia Flash Player. These experiences, known as rich Internet applications, combine the rich user interface of desktop software with the reach and ease of deployment of the web. Partners and developers have already found strategic uses for Flex based rich Internet applications (see attached quote sheet). For more information, to get a trial version of Flex, or to see rich Internet applications built with Flex, visit www.macromedia.com/go/flex.
“Everyone knows the limitations of HTML for application user interfaces, but until now, there hasn’t been an alternative that works for enterprise development teams,” said David Mendels, senior vice president, Macromedia. “Flex is going to create a renaissance in enterprise application development.”
The Flex presentation server is designed to help development teams deliver rich Internet applications in scenarios where traditional page-based HTML applications are inadequate.
Example selection and configuration tools, and customer self-service applications. These applications are multi-step processes that involve visualization techniques, immediate user feedback, and local processing that are difficult if not impossible to deliver in HTML. The Flex application framework offers an extensible and customizable class library of pre-built components, effects, behaviors, and layout managers for creating more effective experiences for these uses.
The release of Flex represents a key milestone in the emergence of an important new application architecture. This new approach blends the flexibility of services-oriented data access with the superior reach and effectiveness of a cross-platform rich client. The result is applications that are easier to build and maintain, use less bandwidth, deliver more functionality, and run on all leading server and desktop operating systems.
“There is a major industry-wide push toward the use of service-oriented architectures and rich clients as a way of delivering more effective experiences to enterprise customers,” said Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst, ZapThink, LLC. “Macromedia Flex perfectly encapsulates the kind of solution that enables enterprise developers to use their existing tools and architecture to bring a more intuitive, compelling user experience to online applications.”
The Flex framework supports open tooling, allowing developers to use their text editor or IDE of choice to create applications that run on the Flex presentation server. Later this year, Macromedia plans to release a new Flex development tool code-named “Brady”. Built on Dreamweaver MX 2004, “Brady” will offer visual layout, code editing, debugging, and data connectivity tools for creating Flex applications. In addition, IBM is working with Macromedia to develop a Flex plug-in for the WebSphere Studio Application Developer development environment. A pre-release version of this plug-in is available on IBM Alphaworks at www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/wsadflex.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The Macromedia Flex presentation server released today runs on leading Java application servers, including IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic, Macromedia JRun, and Apache Tomcat. A native .NET version is in beta and expected to ship later this year. The trial version, which converts to a non-expiring Developer Edition after 60 days, is available today from www.macromedia.com/go/flex. Flex pricing starts at $12,000 for two CPUs and includes annual maintenance. Discounts are available in some regions for government and educational organizations. Flex is offered exclusively through the Macromedia Volume Licensing Program. See www.macromedia.com/go/mvlp for more information. OEM/ISV pricing information is also available at www.macromedia.com/go/flexoem. “Brady” is scheduled for release later this year, and pricing information is not yet available.