Macromedia Flash effort does slow burn

A year after Macromedia revealed ambitious plans to expand the reach of its Flash format, the software maker appears to have trouble building support for the effort among developers and information technology planners.

So far, only a handful of applications have been released for Central, a framework for allowing Flash applications to run outside a Web browser. Downloads of the Central player, available in a "developer beta" version since last fall, appear to be minimal, and Flash developers that CNET News.com spoke to showed little interest in Central. "There's not exactly a stampede for this," said John Dalton, an analyst for Forrester Research. "Technically, it's a great idea. But I think it's going to be a very hard sell for them to get developers on board."

But Macromedia executives say Central is coming along nicely, despite the paucity of public support since last year's announcement. That's part of a deliberately drawn-out product launch intended to give Flash developers plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the technology, said Lea Hickman, senior director of market development for Macromedia. The company expects to have a revamped version of Central ready for a public launch in late summer or early fall, Hickman said, at which time, there should be plenty of applications from the thousands of Flash developers who have downloaded Central development kits. "We're really focused now on improving the platform by adding the top things developers have been asking for," she said.

News source: C|Net News.com

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