Open source alternatives to LiveCycle Data Servcies

Development of enterprise Flex/Java rich Internet applications benefits from using automated data integration solutions and productivity tools. Currently Adobe offers LiveCycle Data Services ES2 (LCDS) and open source BlazeDS 3.  While LCDS is certainly a great piece of software for those who are looking to support thousands concurrent users via the most efficient communication protocols, its high licensing cost makes LCDS not affordable for the vast majority of the enterprise applications let alone small businesses and startups.

If you are looking for an alternative solution for to integrate Flex and Java EE layers consider using GraniteDS, WebOrb, and Clear Toolkit. The first two products offer their own implementation of the AMF protocol, and Clear Toolkit uses the AMF libraries that come with BlazeDS . If you are looking for an open source implementation of the Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), the Red5 server (currently in version 0.7) may be your option.


The feature matrix below lists compares LCDS, BlazeDS, and open source Clear Toolkit. This feature matrix was created using the data from LCDS/BlazeDS comparison chart published by Adobe .

The current version of Clear Toolkit is 3.2.1. The features that are currently not available but will be implemented in Clear Toolkit version 4 by the end of 2010 and are marked as v4 in the chart below.

 

Disclaimer. I’m one of the creators of Clear Toolkit. But if the owners of GraniteDS, WebOrb, and Red5 would like to be listed here, please let me know, and I’ll gladly update this feature matrix.

Feature Matrix: Adobe Live Cycle Data Services ES2, BlazeDS 3, Clear Toolkit 3+


Feature

BlazeDS 3

BlazeDS+Clear Toolkit

LCDS ES2

RPC services

Java remoting/AMF

X

X

X

AJAX to Java

X

X

X

WS/JSON proxy

X

X

X

Messaging

Servlet-based messaging (hundreds of clients per CPU)

X

X

X

Servlet-based NIO messaging (thousands of clients per CPU)

X*

Java NIO high-performance messaging (thousands of clients per CPU)

X

Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP)

X

Data throttling

v4

X

Reliable communications

v4

X

Data Management

Transaction (batch processing)

X

X

Data paging

v4

X

Lazy loading (on demand)

v4

X

Hierarchical data collections X X

Conflict resolution and synchronization

X

X

SQL adapter

X

X

Hibernate adapter

v4

X

Fiber-aware assembler

v4**

X

Offline Web applications

X

Development and deployment

Spring integration support

X

v4

X

Adobe Flash® Builder™ modeling plug-in

X

Enterprise support

X

X

RIA PDF generation

X***

X

WSRP portal integration

X

Load/stress testing tool

X

Source code available

X

X

Edge server

X

Enterprise support plans

X

X

Productivity Tools

Generator of CRUD application

X

X

Generator of ActionScript data transfer object based on their Java peers

X

X

Generator of ANT script based on the properties of Flash Builder project

X

Automated Data synchronization of AIR locale cache

X

X

Flash-based Web reporter

v4

Cost of production deployment

License type and cost

LGPL v3,

Free

MIT,

Free

Commercial, about $30K per CPU****

*   Farata Systems can develop an NIO based BlazeDS solution on a per-customer basis under a separate consulting agreement. Read and watch performance tests of our high concurrency Jetty/NIO/BlazeDS solution at http://flex.sys-con.com/node/720304


** Currently, Farata Systems is working on a solution for introducing the model-driven development to Clear Toolkit.


*** LCDS offers advanced server-side PDF generation. Clear Toolkit components support PDF generation on the client (WYSIWYG), but does not support working with forms.


**** Adobe doesn’t publish the cost of LCDS ES2 license. The price listed here is taken based on the data shared by current users whose employers allegedly paid (read the comments to the following blog post of Adobe LCDS/BlazeDS Product Manager).


I’ll be demoing Clear Toolkit in action at the Flash and The City conference in May in New York City. If you’ll be in town on May 17, consider attending our hands-on master class on modularization of Flex applications.


Yakov Fain

10 thoughts on “Open source alternatives to LiveCycle Data Servcies

  1. Great news after LCDS has become unavailable because of their licence.. especially future v4 features look nice

    Time to try Clear Toolkit has arrived.

  2. Another open source project just starting up is called mulertmp, published out on Google Code. It integrates BlazeDS with Red5 RTMP protocol support.

  3. Great up-to-date comparison. Yes, LCDS is so luxury these days… ;) You should also consider to add a granite ds to comparison, that can be most competive open-source alternative to BlazeDS+Clear Toolkit.

  4. @Joshua I don’t know about the conference organizers, but I’m planning to record this preso as a screencast and will publish it online right after the event.

  5. @zax yes, it recursively queries all your Flex containers and gets the appropriate fragment for the PDF file. Then the code attaches the required PDF heads and footer and saves it into a .pdf file (AIR, need to add FP10 support) or send it to any server-side program that can bounce this PDF back attaching the appropriate MIME time so the Web browser will start the Acrobat Reader plugin for this content.

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