Macromedia Unveils MX Family

Macromedia Monday released Macromedia MX, an integrated collection of
tool, server, and client technologies developed to function as a single
environment.

The release represents the first fruit of Macromedia’s merger with
Allaire, being the the first major release since the company merged in March
2001.

Macromedia CTO Jeremy Allaire told ServerWatch that he sees the release
of the suite as “the fourth repositioning of Macromedia.” The MX family,
Allaire notes, represents “an outgrowth of the Allaire-Macromedia merger.”

The synergy among the products in the Macromedia MX family is easy to
see. Many of Allaire’s products were server focused, Cold Fusion being a
prime example, whereas Macromedia’s products were client focused, Flash
coming instantly to mind. By combining the two sides and offering tools to
integrate them further, Macromedia strives to offer a comprehensive
solution.

Allaire says that the Internet has stagnated in the past two years,
falling into an HTML-only rut. He believes the MX product line will begin to
remedy this. Allaire describes the mantra of the product as changing the Web
from being all about browsing to making it all about doing.

To do this, Macromedia MX has three core components: a rich client, a
J2EE server, and tools to enable clients to communicate with application
servers when performing Web services.

Flash is the rich-client component. With a presence on 98.3 percent of
desktops, according to Allaire, it would be difficult to argue that Flash
not a market leader. In addition to it its desktop penetration, Flash is
embedded in a variety of smart phones, PDAs, and pocket PCs.

Flash MX has been shipping since March 15.

There is already some user overlap between Flash and the server component
of Macromedia MX. Phil Costa, director of product marketing for ColdFusion,
told ServerWatch that 30 percent of current ColdFusion users also use
Flash.

While all of the products in Macromedia MX have been enhanced and had
feature sets added, ColdFusion has undergone the most dramatic
transformation. Up until the MX release, ColdFusion had been strictly an
application server.

ColdFusion MX (formerly known by the code name “Neo
), is being touted for its capability to function as both a stand-alone
server and as an overlay on top of Java application servers that enables Web
services and a host of other capabilities.

ColdFusion MX does this with the Macromedia Flash Remoting service
through which developers can encapsulate and reuse code to create
structured applications that can be automatically accessed as Web services
or as remote services for Flash clients also using the Flash Remoting
service. This creates a write once, use many times environment.

By using ColdFusion Components or the new support for server-side
ActionScript, developers familiar with ColdFusion or Flash can, according to
the Macromedia, create applications that “combine the responsiveness and
functionality of client/server applications with the reach and low-cost
deployment of the Internet.”

Flash Remoting is a native service within ColdFusion MX, and ColdFusion
also supports connecting Macromedia Flash Player clients directly to .NET
and J2EE components.

Other key feature in ColdFusion MX include:

  • A completely new standards-based architecture
  • Native support for XML and Web services
  • Support for rich Internet applications
  • A component-based development model

Enterprises deploying ColdFusion MX have two options. ColdFusion MX
Server offers everything necessary to build and deploy ColdFusion
applications, and ColdFusion MX for J2EE Application Servers contains
everything for building and deploying ColdFusion applications on other app
servers, specifically Macromedia’s own JRun server, IBM WebSphere, Sun ONE
Application Server (formerly iPlanet Application Server), and BEA WebLogic
Server.

Sun Microsystems and IBM have already hopped on the MX bandwagon. Both
vendors have partnered to release versions of ColdFusion optimized for their
respective application servers. Both ColdFusion MX for IBM WebSphere
Application Server and ColdFusion MX for Sun ONE Application Server are
scheduled to ship in the third quarter. The two flavors of ColdFusion will
be marketed and sold by their respective vendors and Macromedia.

ColdFusion MX is scheduled to ship in May. It is priced at $799 per
server for the Professional Edition and $4,999 per server for the Enterprise
Edition. Upgrades are $549 per server and $2,499 per server,
respectively.

The complete ColdFusion MX for J2EE is priced at $3,999 per CPU.
Educational, Government and volume licensing are also available.

Macromedia Flash Remoting for .NET and J2EE Servers is included with
ColdFusion MX. Starting in June, it is scheduled to be available for
purchase separately for $799 per server.

The tools component pulls the Macromedia MX family together. Studio MX,
which will ship with Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and Freehand 10,
provides the integration that enables Flash and ColdFusion to function and
interact with as if they are a single product.

Macromedia Studio MX has an introductory price of $799. Upgrades from
select Macromedia products to Macromedia Studio MX are $599, and upgrading
from two select products or the
Dreamweaver Fireworks Studio is $399. Studio MX will be available in
English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Swedish, Italian,
Portuguese, and Spanish.

Amy Newman is managing editor of sister site, ServerWatch.

News Around the Web