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Xamlon Betas XAML Flash Edition

When Xamlon released Xamlon Pro, its application development package that allows developers to code in XAML, it beat Microsoft to the punch on spreading the declarative markup language to developers. Now, with its latest offering, the company hopes to do the same to Macromedia .

Xamlon launched a beta version of Xamlon Pro, Flash Edition, which allows developers to write Flash application user interfaces (UI) using XAML, an XML-based markup language, on any .NET-based programming language platform.

XAML support is one of the components expected from Microsoft's ever-delayed Longhorn operating system. The markup language separates the UI code from application logic, making it easier to modify the UI without also having to alter the underlying event-handling code.

Microsoft intends to ship a beta version of Avalon, its advanced graphics subsystem based on XAML, in the first half of 2005. Longhorn isn't expected until sometime in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Xamlon Pro application has given developers an opportunity to develop XAML-based application UIs since its launch last October.

In the case of Xamlon Pro, Flash Edition, officials said it's about giving developers that UI and application logic separation to create Flash application UIs. So instead of using Macromedia's Flash MX platform to create the user interface, developers can use Xamlon's Flash product.

This, according to Paul Colton, Xamlon CEO and founder, results in a UI built by developers themselves in standards-based XML, not someone like a graphics designer.

"Generally speaking, today, Flash is built using the Flash IDE , which is really not a programmatic tool; it's more of an animation tool," he said.

Just as important, Colton said, is you can use programming languages like Visual Basic and C++ to build Flash applications rather than using Macromedia Flex, a server-side technology that -- though it uses XML -- runs ActionScript, a JavaScript derivative. It's not strongly typed and it's not really a programmer's programming language, he said.

"We've taken the approach of, 'how would you like to use a real language with real development tools like Visual Studio and XML as a UI to be able to deploy anywhere Flash can be deployed?'" Colton said.

Initial developer reaction has been keen on this distinction. In Andrew Stopford's Web blog, he states, "[no] longer will this mean that a developer will need to use scripting language such as [ActiveScript] when they can use the same language they have always used, day in, day out."

Xamlon Pro, Flash Edition, is available for free as a beta download before its final release, expected in March.