The Flex 2 Beta is live and you can check it out at Adobe Labs. This is the second significant new product we have revealed on Labs since the acquisition of Macromedia late last year.
Flex 2 is a big change. A change for Adobe. A change for Flex. A change in the licensing. A change in the amount of associated collateral, adjuncts and how open we are going to be with our frameworks, SDKs and encouraging different approaches to developing on our platform.
For our many LiveCycle customers, watch for the integration with our LiveCycle products, namely LiveCycle Forms and LiveCycle Workflow, with Flex applications. This is not integration in the typical software company sense of the word – we have just been using “above the API” development to get things working together, and so have a few of our customers and partners. We have already built some powerful examples of how this can benefit the Web 2.0 user experience, seen in the form of integration between Flex applications and PDF forms, ColdFusion and PDF Forms using our XPAAJ download (XML PDF Access APIs for Java) and using Flex to build a portal-type application to manage all of a user’s PDF forms. We plan to get this integration posted as bits on Labs over the next little while and I will keep you posted.
There has already been a lot of excitement around the beta for Flex 2, so much so that there have been some misconceptions and information put out there that is not accurate. I would like to clear some of this up. You may have read on some of the news sites that FlexBuilder was going to cost $1,000 per developer. It is going to be under $1,000. You may have read that there was going to be a developer version of Flex Enterprise Services – which you might expect since many of the other products like ColdFusion, Flash, Dreamweaver and even LiveCycle products have developer versions. In fact, we are going to be giving away for free a version that will allow you to have up to 20 users connected to a deployed application. Yes, you can use this for development, and that is the intent, but at this point it is fair to speculate that applications will be deployed on Flex Enterprise Services using this version.
We are also putting the final touches on the Flex2 SDK and this will be available on the Labs site in the next little while. While the SDK in its current iteration is for Windows only, my team and many others are working to get an “official” Mac version released as well.
A lot of this may come as no surprise to developers that had been working Macromedia, but, I think this marks a new dedication to how Adobe works with developers and how we bring products out into the market in cooperation with developers, gaining more and more feedback, input, and community support for our launches.
IMHO, Web 2.0 just went beta, and now that we are here and launching, I can’t imagine ever doing it any differently. Now, get down to the lab and improve your user’s experience.