Macromedia extending Flash to Java, .Net app servers

Macromedia on Monday will extend Macromedia Flash Remoting MX to .Net and Java application servers, enabling Internet application development for these platforms based on Macromedia's technology.

Macromedia Flash Remoting MX for .Net and Java enables integration of Macromedia Flash content with applications built for leading Web application servers, according to the company. Macromedia Flash provides a client run-time environment capable of interacting with business logic and data stored on the server, Macromedia said. The addition of Macromedia Flash Remoting MX for .Net and Java enables developers to build rich Macromedia Flash interfaces using their existing infrastructure.

The new products extend Macromedia's technology beyond its own ColdFusion MX and JRun platforms to third-party application severs, including IBM WebSphere and BEA WebLogic Server, said David Gruber, Macromedia senior product marketing manager for Flash Remoting MX, in Newton, Mass.

"What's new is we have previously shipped this technology as part of our own server technology," and now, Macromedia is making Flash usable directly with .Net and Java technologies, Gruber said.

Developers can access Web application services such as EJB (Enterprise Java Beans), .Net components, Macromedia ColdFusion components, or SOAP-based Web services through the use of four commands.

"Flash technology brings a rich Windows-like experience inside the context of a browser," Gruber said.

Macromedia Flash Remoting MX for .Net supports ASP.Net pages, ADO.Net objects, DLLs, Assemblies, and Web services. The Java version supports Java Objects, Java Beans, and J2EE resources including Java classes, EJBs, and JMX beans.

Macromedia now can connect to legacy applications that were built in Java but did not support Flash, Gruber said.

Macromedia Flash Remoting MX also includes new capabilities for record set handling and databinding to simplify development.

An early user of Macromedia Flash Routing MX for Java said the product had eliminated a lot of legwork as far as code writing.

"We love it for doing applications that have Flash interfaces. It definitely streamlines a lot of development," said Alon Salant, principal at Carbon Five, a San Francisco developer of custom J2EE applications.

Carbon Five builds a services-based architecture and uses Flash Remoting to assemble a series of business functionalities, Salant said.

Before Flash Remoting, Carbon Five built solutions that sent objects serialized as XML, and then sent them to Flash. Flash Remoting MX for Java "lets you talk to objects between Flash and the server, which is great," said Salant.

Carbon Five did have to build a utility as a translator for passing objects between Flash and the application server, Salant said. But this development was a one-time-only necessity, he added.

Salant also cautioned that developers need to be aware of security concerns.

"What you're essentially doing is you're exposing objects on the server to the outside world," Salant said. "You need to make sure that you actually want to be exposing services," and determine whether there should be limitations on access, he said.

The new products are available on Monday and cost US$999 per processor. The functionality also is available natively in Macromedia ColdFusion MX and JRun 4.

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