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Macromedia Makes a Data Connection

Looking to attract a larger corp of developers, Macromedia today announced the Macromedia Flash MX Data Connection Kit. The goal of the development tool is to make it easier for Flash applications to integrate with a wide range of data sources such as XML documents, databases, application servers and Web services.

The kit includes Macromedia Firefly Components as well as a developer edition of Macromedia Flash Remoting MX and addresses the need to access existing data sources with a "plug in architecture," Paul Gubbay, Macromedia's director of engineering, told ASPnews. "Developers will use it for more than the presentation layer. It's more of a platform and development language — more like Visual Basic. Developers can create real applications out of the box with very little code."

The Macromedia Firefly Component framework is designed to provide a rapid development environment in which developers can create data aware components to access, display and update data within Macromedia Flash applications.

Gubbay said that developers can connect with data sources using Firefly plug-in connectors for XML, Microsoft SQL Server and Macromedia Flash Remoting (all three plug-ins are included with the Flash MX Data Connection Kit). For consistent data display, the components include common visual building blocks designed to separate the presentation layer from the application logic.

The plug-in for Macromedia's Flash Remoting MX will offer the most functionality, Gubbay told ASPnews. Remoting is a communication layer designed to integrate Macromedia Flash applications with ColdFusion MX, Microsoft .NET and Java applications servers and SOAP-based Web services.

The components also use shadowing technology, Gubbay said, to save information back to the data source. "Shadowing technology keeps track of all the changes made to data in the Flash application and updates the original source."

Gubbay said he expects to see the developer community begin to build their own plug-ins. He added that while initially Macromedia will target its existing base of Flash developers, he expects to draw users from other areas such as the Visual Basic developer community.

The Macromedia Flash MX Data Connection Kit will b available next week and is priced at $299 for commercial users and $199 for the education channel.

Macromedia is listed by ASPnews as a Top 30 Service Enabler.


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