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Adobe Announces Open Source Roadmap for Flex

by Scott Delap on Apr 25, 2007 |
Continuing their dive into open source Adobe has announced a road map for the transition of the Flex SDK to open source. Last fall Adobe contributed source code for the ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation to create the Tamarin project. Currently the Flex SDK which includes the Flex framework (with source), compiler, and debugger are available for free. The roadmap outlines that the Mozilla Public License is being considered for the project. The open sourcing of the Flex SDK will make the compiler and debugger which are written in Java as well as the Flex framework open source. Outside developers will be able to submit patches and enhancements. Flex Data Services and the FlexBuilder IDE are not included in the products being open sourced however.  A commercially licensed version of the Flex SDK will continue to be available as well however.  Adobe has posted a FAQ on the transition on their website.

From the press release:

...Using the MPL for open sourcing Flex will allow full and free access to source code. Developers will be able to freely download, extend, and contribute to the source code for the Flex compiler, components and application framework. Adobe also will continue to make the Flex SDK and other Flex products available under their existing commercial licenses, allowing both new and existing partners and customers to choose the license terms that best suit their requirements...

The open source licensing of Flex is part of an initiative to engage the community in the creation of Flex technology. Starting this summer with the pre-release versions of the next release of the Flex product line, code named “Moxie,” Adobe will post daily software builds of the Flex SDK on a public download site with a public bug database. The release of open source Flex under the MPL will occur in conjunction with the final release of Moxie, currently scheduled for the second half of 2007...

InfoQ sat down with Adobe's James Ward and Ely Greenfield to discuss the announcement.  Greenfield commented that the reasoning behind the move was to continue to build the developer community around the Flex RIA platform. He noted that it is one thing to have people using technology and another to have a community actively contributing to it. Ward outlined the transition as having the following steps:

  • Today - Creation of Mailing List for Discussion
  • Summer 2007 - Public Bug Database and Daily Builds
  • Second Half 2007 - Flex 3 Released
  • December 2007 - Read Only SVN Access, Patches Welcome
  • 2008 - Committers with Write Access, Creation of Possible Subprojects

Ward also commented on open source Flex in relation to Adobe's Apollo desktop platform. Since Apollo provides a runtime for Flex applications similar to the Flash player itself, changes to Flex by developers will be able to run on Apollo without changes to the Apollo runtime. In response to how development would be lead after the transition, Greenfield replied that the Flex SDK team would continue to drive the big picture of development. Adobe wants to get the community as involved as possible however in terms of providing feedback for where the SDK should go.

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Good news ! by Cyril Gambis

Great!
With a good community behind Flex, there is a chance Microsoft' Silverlight & XAML will have a worthy opponent.

Re: Good news ! by Floyd Marinescu

I also think this is a brilliant move, now when evaluationg the "open source" RIA framework landscape, Flex can be easily included in any product evaluations. And definitely a good poosition to be in against MS.

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