Will Zorn require a Flex server?

A couple of days ago I made a post asking everyone what features they would like to see in Zorn (Zorn is the code name for a next-generation rich Internet application IDE based on Eclipse that we are currently working on). As expected, we got a ton of great input, and lots of cool feature ideas (many of which are already planned). Anyway, there is one question that kept coming up, which I wanted to quickly address in order to help everyone better understand the significance of Zorn.


The question that kept coming up, was whether Zorn would be able to compile apps / SWFs without requiring a server to deploy. Well, everyone who asked this (and probably a few others) should be happy to find out that you will be able to use Zorn to develop and deploy applications based on MXML, ActionScript and the next generation of the Flex framework (all without requiring a server). We will be updating the Zorn FAQ later today to make this clearer.I am really excited about this. As we have said previously, we have always planned to create tiered offerings around Flex, but we wanted to establish a foothold in the enterprise and make sure we got the programming model right before doing so. With the next version of Flex, we’re ready to take that step. So Zorn will not only be a great tool for existing Flex customers, it will also open up the Flex framework and Flash Platform to a much larger number of developers. Plus, Zorn’s focus on application development will make it a great complement to Flash authoring’s strength in creating rich content (of course, you will still be able to develop apps in Flash Authoring as you always have).In addition, there will also be new enterprise-class features of the Flex framework that require the Flex server. You will be able to take advantage of Zorn to author those applications too, but you will need a Flex server to deploy them. We are currently working on the next version of the Flex server, code-named “Mistral”, which will make enterprise level RIA development, much, much easier (you can find more info on Mistral in the Flash Platform whitepaper).Anyways, I can’t go into much more feature details right now (on Zorn or Mistral), but I can say that you should expect to hear much, much more about the future of Zorn, the Flex framework and application development for the Flash Platform over the coming weeks and months. Hmm…. might be a good time to register for MAX.

51 Responses to Will Zorn require a Flex server?

  1. Dominick says:

    this is so exciting!

  2. Ryan Guill says:

    Okay, hold on a second, am I reading this correctly? We will be able to purchase zorn, write mxml and AS and then compile that into a non-expiring swf, and stick it out on a webserver to use? Without purchasing flex? Am I correct in reading it this way?

  3. Igor Costa says:

    Great news mikethat’s what we need to

  4. mike chambers says:

    Yes.You are correct.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  5. Mike,Does this then open up 3rd party Flex component developing for companies like myself, using the Flex framework and extending it?Mike

  6. merhl says:

    So did we buy flex for no reason?If so my company wants there 12 grand back? lol.I am assuming that the server version will have a lot more features then the non-server version.btw. see you at MAX

  7. mike chambers says:

    >I am assuming that the server version will have a lot more features then the non-server version.Yes. That is correct. Especially around features focused at enterprise level development.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  8. João Fernandes says:

    I’m already seeing the next level of hosting solutions and open-source projects like phpBB based on the flex framework.”One small step for man, one giant leap for Web” ?

  9. BOKEL says:

    This is great news and will give Flex a much bigger userbase.Cheers,Ralf.

  10. Sweet! Way to go guys. My hat goes off to Macromedia on this great decision.

  11. Kenny Bunch says:

    This is extremely good news!

  12. Hans Omli says:

    I’ve had a blast developing with Flex for the past year, and am glad to see many more developers will be joining the party soon! Thanks Mesh!

  13. diamondtearz says:

    Mike,Do you have any idea the kind of blogstorm you just set off!? That’s pretty exciting news. You’ve got our attention now!!!Mani

  14. Bongiovanni Francesco says:

    God bless MM :pThese are GREAT news !!!

  15. Whoa. I had almost lost hope with you guys (Macromedia) …Central, Flex, the Adobe Buyout…I was really getting scared. My hope and trust are 90% restored with this move. The other 10% will come when I build an application unhindered.

  16. poopah says:

    Wow. Mike, please let anyone you can know, that Macromedia listening to the users the way they have over the last 5 years is a large part of their continued success. If Adobe can continue this great intra-developer relationship, the next five will be truly revolutionary.

  17. Ryan Guill says:

    This is such great news I almost feel as though I am dreaming. So lets see just how much you will/can tell us. What are some of these ‘enterprise features’ that will only be available with the flex server? And is there any ballpark talk about how much this zorn is going to run?

  18. With all of this good news about Zorn, I’m sort of starting to get curious about the details about MM’s role with CFEclipse, other than saying they are “supporting” it now which is fairly vague I think..

  19. Kim Hansen says:

    Very smart move from Macromedia.Can’t wait to see the capabilities of Zorn.Any news of release dates and pricing?

  20. Mark says:

    MM should bundle FLEX “lite”, zorn and CFEclipse with coldfusion MX8 enterprise. Flex Lite would sell well and coldfusion MX8 would set new sales records.

  21. Mike K. says:

    Wow! You guys rock!!Many developers, who like to think of themselves as “hardcore,” always give the Flash IDE as their excuse not to develop in Flash. And, they have a point. Zorn, together with the usual diff tools, build tools, etc., will certainly open Flash to a whole new community.

  22. ilya says:

    @mark,Are you kidding me? Zorn as part of cf mx8? the great stuff of zorn is that YOU don’t require a server if you don’t need the server features!i’m not even interested in CF.what if I want to use ruby on rails on the back-end, or python, or plain ol java objects?

  23. João Fernandes says:

    ilya,It makes sence, if “flex-lite” was bundle integrated (no manual installation like now with flex 1.5) zorn could develop flex based applications inside coldfusion, we could call that, extending flash forms. zorn could allow us to develop on any flex framework version (server,without server or Scorpio). Why not extend one of their best products(if not the best) with flex?If i’m not wrong, what mark mean is that scorpio should provide this tools within the package, like flex does with flex-builder.

  24. Lars says:

    First of all I have to admit that I like the concept. But on second thought I remember the relation MM allready had with IBM to integrate a Flexeditor into WSAD. IBM canceled this relation a few month later. I´m not sure if MM has enoughgood programmers to make Zorn as good as JDK without the knowledge of IBM. I hope for the best but the history shows that MM is allways making big announcments without anything behind them.If they want to gain my believe back Zorn should include public extentionpoints. It´s one reason that makes eclipse such a greate IDE. If you need something write it yourself. But without any extentionpoint to a plugin you can not integrate it.my 2 cent

  25. Adam Reynolds says:

    Can I just say that this is what OpenLaszlo 3.0 can already do with it’s SOLO deployment.For those that don’t know Laszlo is the open source rival to Flex, used to cost 20k per licence then they gave to the open community last November.www.openlaszlo.org for those that want to know more.

  26. mike chambers says:

    >Can I just say that this is what OpenLaszlo 3.0 can already do with it’s SOLO deployment.This has nothing to do with laslow. And flex already allows serverless deployment.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  27. Adam Reynolds says:

    >This has nothing to do with laslow. And flex already allows serverless deployment.Mike,There seem to be a number of discussions going on about Flex and what it should be doing (as well as the price) and how some people want some functionality bundled with CF 8.Laszlo and Flex both compile XML + script to Flash apps that talk to a server component.They are comparative solutions and it appears that Flex is taking some of the features of Laszlo (Stand alone deployment) and integrating them. Good for Flex!People should be comparing Flex and laszlo. They basically do the same job and there are a number of articles out there comparing laszlo to flex.If people however want to have stand alone deployment now, want to extend the system as they see fit, or don’t have 12k to spend, then Laszlo, being an open source product, should be investigated.Adam

  28. rd says:

    Oh snap this is good news! Please don’t say Remoting is an enterprise feature. I have a feeling i’m still gonna want full blown Flex even for non enterprise development… please prove me wrong.

  29. Jake says:

    I would like to know how Zorn will work with application code such as C# and Java at a local machine level. I also want to know what type of data managed connections are possible on a Flex app.I guess I am not understanding how Zorn is going to be flexible when it is stand alone. Do all the files load in the temp and then teh RIA access them?Also if it is stand alone is it deployed in the local 8080 browser, or is a install required.

  30. Hi mike,Price really does matter when the case of flex server or flascom server.What will be the price of new flex framework?Does is more costly than the flex server?

  31. Joshua Dale says:

    This is cool, I am excited to see what is going to come out of this.Now, what is the catch? You charge way too much for flex server but you are now going to pretty much give this away (price wise, not actually ;o) )What kind of features are you going to remove?Also, when are you going to build in file access in flash??? I wouldn’t have a problem building rich client apps if only users could upload files.

  32. mike chambers says:

    >Also, when are you going to build in file access in flash??? I wouldn’t have a problem building rich client apps if only users could upload files.Flash 8 will support file upload. (this and other info is in the Flash Platform whitepaper).http://www.macromedia.com/go/platform/mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  33. Taras Tim Bredel says:

    I’m amazed….This is so exiting.Does anyone know when Zorn will be released?

  34. Paul says:

    If Macromedia is smart they would offer an IDE that allowed mxml development and serverless deployment even for the enterprise, this would be the end of all other client side technologies… I know tons and tons of developers would absolutely just jump on the flash platform wagon if this were the case, if I am reading correctly it seems this is precisely what you might be offering, which is just a huge step in the right direction for flash to be adopted as a tool for heavy client side lifting.. but my hope is macromedia does not exclude essentials that would render the IDE based deployments useless.. if your gonna offer a serverless deployment of Mxml based code make it count for something and that will propel macromedia into some serious competition with the upcoming Microsoft stuff!!

  35. Tom K says:

    If I read this correctly, some people think Zorn is a server product because of references to it being ‘stand alone’. But I think it is only stand alone in the sense that it compiles stand alone SWF files. Those SWF files could then be dropped into a Flex or CF server application. So ‘stand alone’ is another way of saying ‘non-expiring’.Have I got this right? If yes, then I’m looking forward to using Zorn instead of the Flash IDE product, assuming its about the same price.

  36. Renaun Erickson says:

    I want to get this straight too.The Flex License as we know it now, will just be for running a Flex Server. And Zorn will be a new development product tool that allows compiling SWF from MXML and AS ( basically a IDE with the Flex compiler built in). Thats how I understand it.So the big question is, does this mean that we can deploy SWF’s compiled by the Flex compiler on servers with neither a Flex Server installation nor a Flex License?Then if so, anyone with a Flex License as of now that is not using the Flex Server features could use the compiler to deploy generated SWF’s as they wish, correct?

  37. DjoDjo says:

    It is not says on witch platform server Zorn will run…?Will it be available for .NET solutions ?

  38. Rakesh says:

    Mike,amazing…..we hope this will be the flexible step in flex development by macromedia…and thanks for adding file upload technology in flash player sandbox….

  39. shyam says:

    Mike,You said “flex already allows serverless deployment”.Does it ? If so, how do we do serverless deployment with flex. I could not find documentation regarding this in Flex 1.5Laslzo has clearcut instructions on how to create SOLO applications.

  40. Vidal says:

    Will Zorn work with .NET?

  41. Anna says:

    Mike,As a .NET developer I would like to know if Zorn will work with .NET as I think this is an extremely important issue ….

  42. Kerry says:

    I might have missed if this is already mentioned but:Am I right in thinking that a flex swf with no flex server cannot utilise remoting / web services?So its relatively useless?

  43. mike chambers says:

    >Am I right in thinking that a flex swf with no flex server cannot utilise remoting / web services?No, that is incorrect.Where did you hear that?mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  44. Lee McColl says:

    But, apart from using MXML, isn’t this something that’s already done? ie. Xamlon?

  45. Mike Kollen says:

    To clear up the .NET issue. Yes, you can use Zorn with .NET (C#, VB.NET) through Web Services for FREE. Why? Because Zorn will compile MXML & Actionscript code to a SWF which will run on the Flash 7 & 8 platform (Player). The Flash 7 & 8 support Web Services so the same rules apply.The second and more attractive option is to use Flash Remoting, which is a binary protocol. This is 3x to 6x faster than Web Services. You can either buy the .NET Flash Remoting from Macromedia or use FlashOrb.com’s implementation. This is excellent news for all .NET developers who want a code based approach (MXML & AS) to create amazing Rich Internet Applications with a Flash front-end. I can’t wait for MAX 2005 Conference for the detailed announcement and demonstration of the product!

  46. Jack says:

    Will Zorn work with .MONO?

  47. Ross says:

    Hi there, just wanted to know if this was still the case: Flex apps can be compiled and deployed as standalone swf files without the need for the flex server?This is a fairly important question, as I am currently considering using the flex framework/builder in an upcoming project. I thought it wise to make sure that this is still the case (post adobe merger etc).Thanks in advance.Ross Crawford

  48. mike chambers says:

    –Hi there, just wanted to know if this was still the case: Flex apps can be compiled and deployed as standalone swf files without the need for the flex server?–Yes. This is and will be the case. In fact, you can download a beta of Flex Builder 2 (aka zorn) from here:http://labs.macromedia.comhope that helps…mike chambersmesh@adobe.com

  49. Jones says:

    Where can I download Zorn?

  50. mike chambers says:

    You can download Zorn / Flex Builder from:http://labs.macromedia.comHope that helps…mike chambersmchamber@adobe.com

  51. morfey says:

    Can I just say that this is what OpenLaszlo 3.0 can already do with it’s SOLO deployment.For those that don’t know Laszlo is the open source rival to Flex, used to cost 20k per licence then they gave to the open community last November.www.openlaszlo.org for those that want to know more.