June 5, 2005 9:00 PM PDT

Macromedia aligns with Eclipse

In a bid to get Java developers writing Flash applications, Macromedia is throwing its weight behind the Eclipse programming system.

Eclipse is an open-source "integrated development environment," or IDE, which provides application developers with programming tools and reusable components. While based on Sun Microsystems' Java programming language, Eclipse can be used to create applications in formats competitive with Java, including Flash.

Macromedia said it will join the Eclipse Foundation and create a "next-generation rich Internet application development tool," code-named Zorn, based on Eclipse.

"This is a big move for us because we've always used our own tools," said Kevin Lynch, Macromedia's chief software architect. "Now we're adopting an open-source framework to build a new tool. It's important for the Flash platform because there's a growing community of developers adopting Eclipse and we would like to enable developers for the Flash platform to take advantage of it."

For the past few years, Macromedia has been trying to transform Flash from a Web design and animation tool into a technology for creating Internet-based applications. Against heated competition by everything from existing Web technologies to Microsoft's long-delayed new operating system, code-named Longhorn, Macromedia has claimed some success with the adoption by more than 300 enterprises of its Flex application server software, which is used to create Flash applications.

Now Macromedia, which Adobe Systems in April announced its intention to acquire, is taking the Web application fight to developers, many of whom have long regarded Flash as a design language.

"Historically, one of the challenges Macromedia has faced is that the Flash development metaphor has been foreign to people familiar with (Microsoft's) Visual Basic and Visual Studio," said Burton Group analyst Peter O'Kelly. "These people think in terms of projects and forms and code modules, as opposed to timelines, movies and scripts that Flash's creative designers know."

Macromedia's embrace of Eclipse won't be the first time that developers have been able to bypass traditional, design-oriented Flash tools to create Flash applications. Xamlon, a company focused on Longhorn's XAML markup language, in April released software that lets Windows developers create Flash applications without knowing Flash.

O'Kelly said Macromedia could give Flash development a significant boost by embracing Eclipse.

"There's a huge market designed to extend Eclipse," O'Kelly said. "If you want Flex to be a full competitor, you need to support the mainstream application developers in the tools that they're working with. In the case of the Java developers, that's Eclipse."

Macromedia said it would now refer to Flash as a "platform," indicating that recently announced upgrades to Flash technologies, along with the Eclipse project, qualified the technology as a broader set of tools for application development.

"The pieces have been evolving, but we've been reluctant to tell the story of how it all fits together," Lynch said.

7 comments

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Wonderful!
What is more: integration of "ColdFusion and Eclipse".
Posted by (1 comment )
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Wrong titile!
It should be "Adobe aligns with Eclipse".
Posted by mxiong (7 comments )
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not so fast...
The transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, and the companies don't expect it to close until the fourth quarter.
Posted by (23 comments )
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I no longer care what Macromedia does
I literally lost months of development time trying to use their half-baked forms implementation on a project. I would not choose Flash as a development platform. Use it for what it's meant for: ads, cartoons, ads, games, and ads.
Posted by Harfeld Bilgewing (60 comments )
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I have to admit...
I have to admit I was a die hard fan of Maromedia. They produced good software, were open to small developers, offered pretty good support and even better support through their online forums and they offered good upgrades.

But, with Adobe I know most of that is gone. Adobe is the exact oposite of what Macromedia is. First thing that will go is the small developers of extensions won't be allowed to post new extension releases on the User to User' forum. Adobe has pretty much outlawed that practice on the ones they have. Next we will end up with poor and expensive paid support. The quality of the upgrades will drop, but the prices will stay the same, and worst of all they will re-work all of the Macromedia programs (the ones the deam worthy of keeping) so that they have an Adobe like interface. What this means is a bastardized interface like GoLive which is neither Adobe or what the original owners have done.

Macromedia products are about to get raped right along with their customers all because as it turns out the people running Macromedia are stupid and their shareholders are greedy and stupid. As for passing muster with the government, even though it will kill pretty much all competition for web design and Flash development products they will approve it because like the rest of them they are stupid and don't give a dam about the consumers they are supposed to be protecting.

I just hope some other company sees they gaping opening and comes out with something I can use besides the Adobe/Macromedia crap.

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
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I don't like Flash anymore
This is becase Macromedia has very bad support for Flash. Where is works properly is basicly only Windows and IE. But as soon as you move to some alternative browser or other platform support is no longer very good. A feature missing here and there and in some cases there is absolutely no support. For example where the heck is 64-bit Flash plugin for 64-bit Linux (waiting for over a year) and Windows x64. Becase of this I don't use Flash anymore. If they can't support more platforms which are getting very popular properly then they should make at least the plugin/player code open source so that people who know how to code can do it properly. So if they can't do it themselves or let other people do it, well goodbye Flash and other products from Macromedia.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
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Macromedia joined the XML platforms battle - along with Avalon and Google
I've tried to dissecate the subject about the next battle of the Rich Internet Applications giants on my blog.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.interaktonline.com/blogs/alexandru/index.php?view=article&#38;id_art=62" target="_newWindow">http://www.interaktonline.com/blogs/alexandru/index.php?view=article&#38;id_art=62</a>

Literally, if the Flash platform is not free, they will have hard time fighting Microsoft. But if they make it free, they will have to make this Eclipse plugin commercial to get some money out of it... So it's a catch-22 situation, as usually happens with platform builders: without platform omnipresence, there are no developers, to get platform omnipresence, you have to make it free.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/Platforms.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/Platforms.html</a>

Alexandru
Posted by acostin (1 comment )
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