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Adobe Open Sources Remoting and Messaging Technologies Along With AMF Protocol Specification

by Scott Delap on Dec 13, 2007 |
Today Adobe announced they are opening sourcing the remoting and messaging technologies previously only available as part of their commercial LifeCycle Data Services product. The new open source product will be called BlazeDS. They are also open sourcing the AMF protocol specification. All three will be released under the LGPL license. From the press release:

...developers can productively connect rich clients to existing server applications, including Java™ and Adobe ColdFusion® components. For added support, Adobe will offer Adobe LiveCycle Data Services, Community Edition, a subscription offering that includes certified builds of BlazeDS, access to Adobe enterprise support resources and additional benefits, such as product warranty and infringement indemnity, as well as additional developer support. The commercial version of the product, LiveCycle Data Services ES, includes enterprise class capabilities for building advanced customer engagement applications that require massive messaging scalability, advanced client-server data synchronization, conflict detection/resolution, offline data management services for Adobe AIR applications, and RIA-to-PDF generation...

In relation to AMF:

...“While there are open source projects and technologies that offer remoting and messaging to Adobe Flash® and Flex client applications, the contribution of these technologies and the AMF protocol specification represents a huge step forward for standardizing implementations across multiple platforms,” said Wade Arnold with AMFPHP. “Working with Adobe, we can create a common programming model that enables RIA developers to extend the reach of their applications across different server technologies in a compatible and consistent approach. The AMFPHP project is ecstatic to be able to work directly with Adobe in order to better leverage the AMF protocol in LAMP applications.”...

Today Adobe also released updated betas of Flex and AIR available on Adobe Labs. InfoQ sat down with Christophe Coenraets, an Adobe Product Evangelist, to discuss the new offerings. The obvious first question was why open source the products. Coenraets explained that Adobe was seeing lots of remoting efforts related to Flex in the industry. However many companies couldn't afford an expensive commercial solution. Open sourcing the products is being done to accelerate adoption of Flex. InfoQ then went on to discuss the products being open sourced versus the previous LifeCycle Data Services product. Coenraets noted that the data management features were not being open sourced at this time. The RTMP binary messaging channel is also not being included. The BlazeDS project will include the traditional polling and long polling channels for retrieving messages. It will also include a new streaming http channel that does not close for applications that need a faster channel.

Coenraets and InfoQ then discussed the open sourcing of the AMF protocol. AMF is a binary format used to exchange data between clients and servers. The remoting portion of the BlazeDS project includes an implementation to communicate with Java. Coenraets noted that Adobe has found AMF to have significant performance advantages to other transport forms such as XML. They are looking forward to working with the AMFPHP project and Midnight Coders which makes an AMF to .NET offering. They are hoping that the release of the specification will cause other projects to be formed for supporting AMF access to other languages.

Finally, InfoQ took the opportunity to catch up on the open source roadmap for Flex that was announced in April of this year. Adobe has been marking their progress based on three criteria: Builds Available with Source, Availability of an Open Bug Database, and Public Access to A Source Control System. For Flex regular builds are available today and a bug database is also live. Coenraets said that Adobe is shooting to have the source control system publicly available when Flex 3 is released in early 2008. Similarly, builds of BlazeDS and the bug database are available today with source control also being available in early 2008.

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