Macromedia flexes Flash muscle

Macromedia is set to release on Monday a new server product intended to expand the use of its Flash format for presenting Web applications.

Flex, formerly code-named Royale, allows developers to create scripts in common languages such as Java and .Net and to run them on top of Web applications. Flex breaks them down into a Macromedia dialect of extensible markup language (XML) that can be read by the Flash Player, the widespread Flash client commonly used to spice up Web pages. Jeff Whatcott, a vice president of product management and marketing for Macromedia, said the main use for Flex will be to create compelling and attractive interfaces for Web applications, an area that often gets overlooked by developers.

"It's focused on enabling enterprise application developers to get involved in creating rich applications," Whatcott said. "Improving the user experience helps ensure the application actually succeeds." Macromedia is in the midst of a broad effort to expand the Flash format, once mainly used to present blinking ads on Web pages, into a broad platform for delivering Web applications and content. The company has launched a Web conferencing service based on Flash, begun an experiment to run Flash applications outside a Web browser and added video and other multimedia capabilities to the format. Flex extends the Flash campaign by allowing mainstream developers to take advantage of the format without having to learn Macromedia's Flash development tools, which use a timeline-based interface more familiar to graphics professionals.

News source: C|net

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