Based on XML, the Flex server offers tools to support team development for applications that use Macromedia's Flash Player, a plug-in widely deployed on web browsers. Macromedia's aim is to support the development of rich internet applications which combine the user interface of desktop software with the reach and ease of deployment of web-based programs.
Andi Hindle, senior technical manager at Macromedia, said Flex could be used to build browser-based applications that support local processing on end-users' PCs. For instance, he said Flex could be used to build a mortgage application that requires multi-step forms.
Flex allows developers to use their existing text editors or interactive development tools to create applications that run on the Flex server.
Later this year, Macromedia plans to release a Flex visual development tool code-named "Brady", based on Dreamweaver MX 2004. Macromedia said Brady would offer visual layout, code editing, debugging and data connectivity tools for creating Flex applications. IBM is also working with Macromedia to develop a Flex plug-in for the Websphere Studio Application Developer development environment.