Rich Internet applications (RIAs) have been mostly a consumer phenomenon, providing more flash than practical use, but Adobe Systems and SpringSource are set to change that with today’s announcement of an integration initiative.
The two firms are wedding their technologies, which will allow for the development of enterprise and business-class applications using Adobe’s Flash/Flex on the client/presentation side and SpringSource’s Java technologies that integrate into the back end.
“Increasingly, our user base wants to create RIA-style interfaces to back-end logic,” said Peter Cooper-Ellis, senior vice president of engineering and product management at SpringSource. “It has been possible to integrate Flex with Spring for some time, but the integration requires you to exit from the Spring programming model and style. The integration can be made more natural for a developer accustomed to developing in Spring.”
More natural and easier. “Spring has always been agnostic to the client,” Cooper-Ellis told InternetNews.com. “The problem for Spring developers is the way you did that did not feel natural to the Spring programming model.”
The two companies will use Adobe BlazeDS, an open source project that exposes Java remoting, data access and messaging services in Adobe LiveCycle products. Up to now, BlazeDS has only used the proprietary AMF protocol. The problem was that Spring server-side business logic, called Spring Beans, didn’t speak AMF, just HTML.
That’s because AMF is a binary format, whereas most data coming from clients is in plain HTTP key value pairs, or text. With this project, Spring Beans will be able to communicate via AMF and HTTP along with HTML.
Coming soon, a new open source product
The two firms will work together to create a new open source product, Spring BlazeDS, due in mid-December. It will allow Java programmers to use basic messaging (publish and subscribe) and data services from SpringSource Platform servers to communicate with Adobe BlazeDS.
The next steps will come in March 2009 with the release of the SpringSource Adapter for Adobe LiveCycle Data Services ES. LiveCycle Data Services is an enterprise-scale app service, with features like more sophisticated data management, such as conflict resolution, real-time data QOS, and data paging. This integration will allow for the creation of server push-based applications based on Adobe Flex for real-time and near real-time solutions.
SpringSource will maintain its support for other RIA technologies, particularly AJAX, and it will support migration of AJAX clients to Spring or LiveCycle applications over time, according to Anil Channappa, senior product manager of LiveCycle Data Services and BlazeDS at Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE).
“We’re helping customers build their back-end business logic once and let them access it through multiple protocols,” said Channappa. “They will be able to access it through legacy AJAX clients while moving their app into Flex.”
For the Flash/Flex programmer, this means they will be able to build front-end applications that can connect to large-scale Java applications. By supporting two open source clients as well as Java programmers, Adobe and Spring source are hoping to attract the participation of the open source developer community.
Channappa said the company will be looking for feedback from the open source community on the release of Spring BlazeDS.