Breaking news for the Flex community

In my opinion this is THE biggest announcement that I’ve heard from Adobe after release Flex 2 in the Summer of 2006. This is bigger than open sourcing Flex. This is bigger than AIR. Here’s the news: Adobe is open sourcing AMF protocol and messaging under LGPL V3. Christophe Coenraets, a Senior Flex Evangelist from Adobe told me about this new free product called BlazeDS.

While many people are using Flex for creating cool widgets that can make your Web page prettier, enterprise Flex developers have to deal with such boring things as bringing data to the client. And they want to do this as fast as possible. AMF3 protocol allows your Web application to send the data over the wire at lease ten times faster than a regular HTTP.

Basically, Adobe extracted the libraries that supported AMF protocol from LiveCycle Data Services ES and gave it to us for free. On top of that, BlazeDS introduces a new channel for messaging: DHTTPStreaming that will support messaging on top of HTTP. In this mode the Web browser keeps the connection open. RTMP protocol will not be open-sourced at this time.

Like the news? I know. And here’s something for dessert. Adobe is publishing a full specification of the AMF3 protocol, which will allow anyone to implement Flex remoting for any server-side programming language.

Based on my experience, the price tag of LCDS licenses was too hefty for many small and mid-size businesses. They’d love to have faster communication with POJO , but purchasing just the communication piece was not available. Now you’ll get it for free.
For those who are afraid of jumping into open source waters and want a product that is backed up by a large company, Adobe will maintain LiveCycle Data Services Community Edition, which is BlazeDS certified by Adobe. in the diagram below, LCDS components that won’t be included in BlazeDS are shown in gray.

The product will stay in Beta for a couple of months, but since it’s a pretty stable software, the GA release will follow up shortly. Visit http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/blazeds for more details.

Now, why this announcement is important for the company I work for:

1. Now we’ll have a lot more consulting requests.
2. Our firm will start selling more of our software components, namely ClearBI and Clear Data Builder. We can just say to our customers that other than our licenses, there’s nothing else to purchase.
3. We’ll have more training requests since Flex will be used by a lot more organizations since BlazeDS will definitely open many enterprise doors to Flex development.

Overall, Adobe made a very smart move, which on the long run will lead to more sales of LCDS too. But for now let’s enjoy free BlazeDS.

2 thoughts on “Breaking news for the Flex community

  1. Hmmm… I see that in your diagram Hibernate is shown as grayed-out, i.e. it will not be included in BlazeDS.
    However, the free trial of LCDS contains full source code of Hibernate Assembler… Is(will be) it free or commercial with open code?

  2. Concerning the lack of Hibernate in Blaze DS, what you can do is write a Java class that is a destination end point (RemoteObject with AMF protocol). This class then calls a Hibernate adapter class that does the real work of mapping Java classes to database tables. In our project at work, although we do have an LCDS license, we do not use the Hibernate adapter. Instead, we have a Java class that acts as an endpoint for AMF, then calls a business class that uses EJB3 to pull data from a SYBASE.

    So, you use RemoteObject instead of using Flex Data Management Services and you also decouple your client from the implementation on the server.

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