A new Flash Platform Service for social networking highlights Adobe’s broad release today of Flash Builder 4 and a new ColdFusion IDE, as well as the Flex 4 development framework.
The Flash Platform Services Social Service lets Flash application developers write to a single API that can connect to 14 supported social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter, according to David Gruber, group product marketing manager for the Flash platform.
The service can be licensed through social network optimization site Gigya under an annual licensing plan based on the size and type of application using the service, he explained.
Flash Builder 4, formerly called Flex Builder, gets a new skinning architecture called Spark that provides for the complete separation of the presentation layer from the business logic that sits behind it, Gruber said. “This will enable people to create more expressive applications. Developers will have complete control over the UI components, unrestrained,” he said. Flex 4 is the first version of the framework that supports this separation, which goes down to the component level, he added.
The previous versions of the framework supported Adobe’s MX architecture, and Gruber said he expects developers will use a combination of MX components and Spark components “for a while.”
With the release later this year of the Flash Catalyst UI design tool, designers will be able to create rich interfaces and pass them along to developers to wire up the logic. “We will start seeing a new class of [rich Internet applications],” Gruber said. “When Catalyst hits the market, creative professionals will be exposed to UI development.”
Flash Builder 4 lets developers take advantage of what Adobe calls data-centric development, easing how back-end data or service logic can be bound to the application with drag-and-drop technology.
Also new to Flash Builder 4 is FlexUnit, an open-source functional test framework, and a network monitor that can “sniff data in the pipe” for problems, Gruber said. Flash Builder 4 will be offered in two editions: a Standard configuration that will sell for US$249 per seat, and the Premium edition will be $699 per seat and includes the new CF Builder IDE.
CF Builder is an Eclipse-based IDE targeting ColdFusion developers, who up until now had to work in DreamWeaver or an open-source ColdFusion Eclipse tool. In CF Builder, developers can use CFML Assist to write code for the ColdFusion 9 platform, with which there is deep integration. Developers can also create applications for the Flash platform through a tight integration with Flash Builder 4.
Further, integrations with Microsoft SharePoint Server and Exchange Server allow data from those systems to be brought into Flash applications, he added. With this release, Gruber said, “Every ColdFusion developer is becoming a Flex developer.
“ColdFusion developers had difficulty understanding Flex,” Gruber continued. “It was not script-based or tag-based; it was object-oriented. It took us a while to get the tooling to where [ColdFusion] developers could understand it.”
CF Builder sells for $299 per seat and includes Flash Builder 4 Standard Edition.