Macromedia links Flash apps to data

Macromedia on Tuesday plans to announce Macromedia Flash MX Data Connection Kit, which provides pre-built connections to data sources for the purpose of boosting development of data-aware Internet applications, the company said.

Scheduled to ship next week for US$299, the kit includes Macromedia Firefly Components and the developer edition of Macromedia Flash Remoting MX. The Remoting technology enables remote calls to a server for getting data into Flash. The Firefly Components provide a framework for displaying and updating data from within Flash applications, according to Macromedia. Macromedia acquired the technology from CyberSage last month.

"(Firefly features) a suite of components that we've built that work inside the Flash component and they make it easier to get data into Flash and actually build applications," said Paul Gubbay, director of engineering at Macromedia, in San Francisco . Gubbay formerly worked for CyberSage.

The product release will make it easier to build Flash applications in a manner similar to how desktop applications are built with tools such as Visual Basic or Borland Delphi, Gubbay said.

The Firefly architecture includes connectors and resolvers that integrate with multiple data sources including XML, Microsoft SQL Server, and Macromedia Flash Remoting. Components include visual building blocks that separate presentation from application logic to enable a consistent data display. Through the components, database operations can be performed without the need for client-side code. Shadowing technology used by the components enables saving of information to original data sources.

The Firefly Remoting connector is integrated with Macromedia ColdFusion and offers functionality such as server-side introspection and automatic updates. The developer edition of Macromedia Flash Remoting MX, which is included in the data connection kit, can be used with Firefly Components to access additional data sources such as ColdFusion MX, Microsoft .Net, and Java as well as SOAP-based Web services.

For implementing Flash Remoting in applications, a $999 deployment license is required.

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