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Macromedia looks to extend Flash technology

Macromedia has a full agenda of improvements planned for its multimedia application development products, including re-architecting its Flash Player technology and readying the upcoming release of the Flex framework. 

Macromedia chief software architect Kevin Lynch outlined Macromedia’s plans and intentions for 2004 and beyond, citing Macromedia’s emphasis on "rich client" application development. 

"It’s about the transition of web processing from purely being on web servers to being on your local machine," Lynch said.

Expanded Linux support also is a goal at Macromedia. "What we've been watching is, when will it be time to bring our authoring tools to Linux?"

Lynch anticipated greater adoption of the company’s Flash Player technology on PCs.

"In terms of building content, what we’re working on now is how we can extend the ecosystem of Flash a bit to people who don’t currently use the Flash Player in their work," Lynch said.

Macromedia hoped to enable people such as enterprise programmers and architects to use Flash and build applications for the Internet. 

To boost Flash, the company is re-architecting the internal workings of the Flash Player. "This one’s really designed around raising the performance of applications dramatically," said Lynch. The company also pledges to keep developing its native Flash Player for Linux. 

Macromedia Flex is coming out soon. "This is a server product. It’s aimed at developers who are interested in developing applications with a better visual experience but don’t know how to design these applications," Lynch said. 

"This is going to enable people to create applications with some very specific patterns. We think this is actually going to expand the demand for great Flash design." 

A release of Flex Server in 2005 will work with the company’s Central extension to Flash Player for running sometimes-connected Flash applications. 

Set for 2004 release is Macromedia’s "Brady" technology. Brady is based on Dreamweaver MX 2004 and provides a visual layout and integrated development environment and debugging for Flex applications. 

Macromedia in 2004 will update both its Flash MX authoring tool and Central.  The company is working on moving Central to its Flash Player 7. Central also is to be moved to other platforms as it matures. 

This spring, Central will be integrated with AOL Instant Messaging in a software development kit that enables IM communications between Central and IM. 

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld


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