Another passenger on the Eclipse bandwagon: Flash?!

Macromedia has joined the growing masses busily porting their top-end development tools to the Eclipse platform.

In a flurry of press releases and publicity on its website, Macromedia this week announced the Flash Platform, which really isn’t anything new — just a, er, flashy reminder of everything that Flash can do.

What is new, and of particular interest to Java developers, is the news that the next-generation development tool (codenamed “Zorn”) to replace Macromedia’s custom-built Flex Builder IDE will be based on the Eclipse platform.

Flex is a platform for rapidly developing Web applications that use rich, Flash-based interfaces generated on-the-fly on the server side, and that interact in real time with server-side applications, typically written in Java. Although this is an amazingly slick and powerful development environment, I think it’s safe to say that uptake has been slow among Java developers, who are typically reluctant to leave their development tools of choice to try a custom IDE.

Moving Flex development to the Eclipse platform will not only put the technology directly in the sights of millions of Java Web developers, but it will also enable them to continue using their favourite Eclipse plugins as they build rich Internet applications with Flash. With Borland JBuilder also on its way to Eclipse, developers who favour that popular IDE will also have the opportunity to discover Flex in their IDE of choice.

Whether designing Web applications with Flash interfaces is a Good Thing or not is a debate for another day, but Macromedia definitely seems to be giving this technology every opportunity to flourish.

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  • http://www.lopsica.com BerislavLopac

    Now if all of them only embraced SVG/Javascript instead the classic SWF/ActionScript format…

  • John Dowdell

    Re: SVG/JS….

    Part of the great difficulty in this type of work is getting a predictable runtime engine onto all of the audience members’ individual machines.

    The Macromedia Flash Player already has very high desktop presence (higher than IE/Win!), and the adoption costs (download, installation, habits & UI) are much lower than for any browser.

    The document browsers *are* converging on advanced functionality — this year, for example, marks the first time large numbers of developers are comfortable in doing live data requests from their audience members’ varied machines — but if you can do something in some SVG and JavaScript today, go for it!

    Regards,
    John Dowdell
    Macromedia Support

  • Henke

    Answer to BerislavLopac…

    SVG is a good standard for graphics, and JavaScript is also a good language, but you’re missing your target saying that… The reason (amongst others) developers/designers use flash is because of the ease in which you implement media into flash and then customize it.

    I can load audio, video, xml, POSTs and WebServices into Flash, on the fly – try doing that with JavaScript ;) – xml is only supported in IE as far as I know via JavaScript and it’s blocked after SP2 in XP, isn’t it? Audio is non-streaming, mostly either wave or in the form of MIDI, and now we’re talking the happy days of 1997 :) with the black personal homepages with midi sounds and abundant moving gifs.
    In my opinion Flash is a development environment, and not only a creative graphics tool. This is something I believe even more after reading the news-post above.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    xml is only supported in IE as far as I know via JavaScript and it’s blocked after SP2 in XP, isn’t it?

    For the record, that’s not right. XML works to a useful level in most modern browsers. SVG support is still sadly lacking, however, let alone SVG with embedded multimedia.

  • http://www.igeek.info asp_funda

    I can load audio, video, xml, POSTs and WebServices into Flash, on the fly – try doing that with JavaScript ;) –

    LOL, you live in an ancient world!! All that can be done in JavaScript too. Dude, you ought to come out from your cabin & visit the outside world(latest on web development) often!! ;)

    xml is only supported in IE as far as I know via JavaScript and it’s blocked after SP2 in XP, isn’t it?

    Like I said, you ought to get around & know what’s happening around!! ;) XML is not restricted to IE only!! Its available in Mozilla/FireFox & Opera as well, though their implementation is different than IE. But you can come over that by writing a wrapper which detects the browser & executes the proper code.