New server solution set to radically improve the effectiveness of enterprise applications
Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) announced the immediate availability of Macromedia Flex, a new presentation server and application framework that enables enterprise development teams to put more effective interfaces on critical business applications. The Flex server offers a standards-based, declarative programming methodology for delivering rich user experiences via the ubiquitous Macromedia Flash Player. These experiences, known as rich Internet applications, combine the rich user interface of desktop software with the reach and ease of deployment of the web. Partners and developers have already found strategic uses for Flex based rich Internet applications (see quotes at the end of the release). For more information, to get a trial version of Flex, or to see rich Internet applications built with Flex, visit http://www.macromedia.com/go/flex/.
"Everyone knows the limitations of HTML for application user interfaces, but until now, there hasn't been an alternative that works for enterprise development teams," said David Mendels, senior vice president, Macromedia. "Flex is going to create a renaissance in enterprise application development."
The Flex presentation server is designed to help development teams deliver rich Internet applications in scenarios where traditional page-based HTML applications are inadequate. Examples include rich visual data dashboards, online product selection and configuration tools and customer self-service applications. These applications are multi-step processes that involve visualisation techniques, immediate user feedback and local processing that are difficult if not impossible to deliver in HTML. The Flex application framework offers an extensible and customisable class library of pre-built components, effects, behaviours and layout managers for creating more effective experiences for these uses. The release of Flex represents a key milestone in the emergence of an important new application architecture. This new approach blends the flexibility of services-oriented data access with the superior reach and effectiveness of a cross-platform rich client. The result is applications that are easier to build and maintain, use less bandwidth, deliver more functionality and run on all leading server and desktop operating systems. "There is a major industry-wide push toward the use of service-oriented architectures and rich clients as a way of delivering more effective experiences to enterprise customers," said Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst, ZapThink, LLC. "Macromedia Flex perfectly encapsulates the kind of solution that enables enterprise developers to use their existing tools and architecture to bring a more intuitive, compelling user experience to online applications."
The Flex framework supports open tooling, allowing developers to use their text editor or IDE of choice to create applications that run on the Flex presentation server. Later this year, Macromedia plans to release a new Flex development tool code-named "Brady." Built on Dreamweaver MX 2004, Brady will offer visual layout, code editing, debugging and data connectivity tools for creating Flex applications. In addition, IBM is working with Macromedia to develop a Flex plug-in for the WebSphere Studio Application Developer development environment. A pre-release version of this plug-in is available on IBM Alphaworks at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/wsadflex/.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The Macromedia Flex presentation server released today runs on leading Java application servers, including IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic, Macromedia JRun and Apache Tomcat. A native .NET version is in beta and expected to ship later this year. The trial version, which converts to a non-expiring Developer Edition after 60 days, is available today from http://www.macromedia.com/go/flex/. Flex pricing starts at AUD$17,880 for two CPUs and includes annual maintenance. Flex is offered exclusively through the Macromedia Volume Licensing Program. See http://www.macromedia.com/go/mvlp/ for more information. OEM/ISV pricing is also available. See http://www.macromedia.com/go/flexoem for more information. Brady is scheduled for release later this year and pricing information is not yet available.
Experience matters. Macromedia is motivated by the belief that great experiences build great businesses. Our software empowers millions of business users, developers and designers to create and deliver effective, compelling and memorable experiences - on the Internet, on fixed media, on wireless and on digital devices. www.macromedia.com/ap
Copyright 2004 Macromedia, Inc. All rights reserved. Macromedia, the Macromedia logo, Macromedia Flash and Dreamweaver are trademarks or registered trademarks of Macromedia, Inc., which may be registered in the United States and internationally. Other product or service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.
PARTNERS AND DEVELOPERS SUPPORT FLEX FOR ENTERPRISE APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT
IBM Global Services
"Enhancing the user interface of web applications will help organisations reduce costs and increase revenue and Flex enables the next generation of web applications to provide rich, effective interactions. Our customers are looking for ways to deliver greater value to their customers as well as streamline their internal processes and with Flex, we can now rapidly create solutions that will help organisations achieve these results." - Roger L'Italien, partner, Interactive Branding & Design, Usability and eBusiness Innovation Centers, IBM Global Services
"Enterprise customers remain focused on quality software engineering practices and adoption of technologies that fit within existing development workflows, developer skill sets and IT infrastructures. With Macromedia Flex, we can now deliver enhanced user experiences that meet enterprise requirements." - Steven Webster, technical director, iteration::two.
Taliant Software, LLP
"Flex empowers developers to deliver better user experiences at a fraction of both the effort and time required by other development technologies. It allows developers to build robust, usable application interfaces quickly, easily, and, most importantly, consistently, without having to focus on needless details." - Sean Voisen, developer, Taliant Software, LLP Terra Payments, Inc.
"Terra Payments' success is based on providing easy worldwide access to the underlying complexity of electronic payments. Flex fits right into our strategy, helping us deliver the best customer experience at the lowest cost and with the fastest time to market." - David Jokinen, vice president of product development, Terra Payments, Inc.
"We are looking at Flex as a way to extend the online Flash-based gaming experience we provide so it can include more sophisticated features previously only practicable in Java - such as rich personalisation, client-side logic and robust back-end integration. Our Java developers easily understand the Flex components and syntax and really like the ability to use their existing expertise and familiar Java technologies like Struts, Eclipse and Ant. Flex fits seamlessly within our development workflow." - Michael Montagna, architect, Wagerworks, Inc.