Adobe launches Flex 2 RIA platform; Flex SDK is now free
While the free SDK is aiming for mass adoption, Adobe provides enterprise clients with the new Eclipse-based Flex Builder IDE for $499. The Flex builder allows an integrated debugging environment; developers can set breakpoints in Flex code and trace through to Java code and back.
Finally, for enteprise customers, Flex Data Services is the repackaging of special data connectivity between Flex clients and server sides applications and includes messaging (data push, pub/sub), native remoting to Java, and data sychronization (suitable for offline uses). New in Flex 2 is real-time messaging between client and server over the RTMP protocol (which has been used for Flash video). According to Christophe, the real time messaging overcomes problems Ajax apps have with polling or long lived HTTP Connections and makes Flex apps suitable for enterprise uses such as real time collaboration (changes in one UI being propagated to N others) and real time monitoring applications. Flex Data Services costs $20,000/CPU and an express version is available for free for 1 CPU. Flex Data Services also include a Hiberrnate adaptor which sychronizes local objects with server side equivalents, taking care of persistence.
"If you listen to what some of the Ajax visionaries say about what's missing in the browser today, performance almost always comes first, then the lack of a JIT, messaging, vector graphics - all things where [Flex] provides added value" said Christophe. It should be interesting to see what impact this has on the rich client development space; while Ajax and DHTML widget toolkits continue to be developed, Flash although proprietary is ubiquitous and free, making Flex a compelling option considering the portability and performance issues common with Ajax/DHTML apps. In related news, Adobe recently leaked plans around Apollo, their vision for integrating Flash and PDF to allow rich client apps to run on the desktop, directly competing with Microsofts Windows Presentation Foundation efforts.
More on Flex 2 release and Apollo
BTW, more Q&A's about Apollo here:
and yes, it's gonna be 100% cross-platform with native interface, filesystem/db support and so forth.
Does this mark the beginning of the end for OpenLaszlo? I hope not. I think they have a great product.
I think Adobe had to make this move, especially considering that Microsoft has announced that some small parts of WPF are also going to be free and multi-platoform. Adobe will have beat them to the punch.
Re: More on Flex 2 release and Apollo
Floyd, a little note: it's not only Java community event, it's a whole RIA world event. Ruby on Rails plays nicely with Flex as well! ;)
Good point, our .NET and Ruby editors agree so we re-tagged it. :)