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Macromedia builds a data component handler

Macromedia has developed a unique approach to Web-oriented development over the years. It is probably most famous for Dreamweaver, which started life as a WYSIWYG HTML page creator. That product has grown up right along with Web-based computing, after adding a host of components to attach to diverse data sources, server types and more.

Probably as important to the company is Flash, a fairly ubiquitous browser plug-in that has gained popularity among creative Web designers.

With the purchases of server-maker Elemental and its Drumbeat product and, more especially, Allaire with its ColdFusion and JRun products, Macromedia has increasingly sought to improve its status among more traditional software developers while keeping creative Web designers happy, too. As part of that effort, the company is looking to encapsulate parts of the developer's toughest integration tasks into ready-made connectors.

This week, Macromedia announced a Flash MX Data Connection Kit that could help meet the needs of both the designer and the developer. The kit comprises pre-built connections that link to a variety of data sources to jumpstart development, and includes a developer edition of Macromedia Flash Remoting MX, said Paul Gubbay, the firm's director of engineering.

The component approach may gain more favor, especially as architects seek to implement so-called Web services in which diverse service-oriented applications are delivered in new combinations to users' Web browsers. Pre-built connections link apps to databases and app servers.

Macromedia's component architecture, acquired from CyberSage Software, is dubbed "Firefly." Macromedia's new Firefly Remoting connector is tightly integrated with ColdFusion and supports server-side introspection and automatic updates.

The developer edition of Macromedia Flash Remoting MX (included in the Data Connection Kit) can be used with Macromedia Firefly Components to access additional data sources such as Macromedia ColdFusion MX, Microsoft .NET, Java and SOAP-based Web services.

"This is designed to make it easier for traditional developers to come on board and build Flash apps," said Gubbay. He noted that the kit includes a visual property editor that should prove useful for sorting out components in a benchtop setting.

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About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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