Sunday, September 18, 2005

Macromedia Studio 8 Released; "Sparkle" in Development

On the heels of the release of ColdFusion MX 7.1, Studio 8 was recently released by Macromedia. What I have seen and experimented with thus far, it appears to be another great step forward in the technology. I am particularly impressed with the video capabilities I have seen thus far in Flash, the added capabilities in Fireworks and can't wait to start jumping in on a couple projects.

Microsoft recently dubbed it's upstart technology, "Sparkle", as the "Flash Killer". It is very unlikely that Microsoft will ever "kill" Flash. Everyone that is actually involved in development knows this statement borders on ludicrous. It's a different platform, and Flash is a deeply entrenched and established technology that has fanatical user support and a support infrastructure of users, educators, etc. It has this positive support for a reason -- it's a phenomenal technology that continues to improve every year. In typical Microsoft fashion, they are arrogantly trying to leverage their position in Windows to push an inferior technology on developers. As an aside, I never understood Microsoft's strategy of flaunting they want to "kill" a technology that the industry embraces. To me, this just alienates the same customer base you are trying to attract. Regardless, this appears to be the strategy in Redmond with many products, including their professed intentions to "kill" Google.

Macromedia's releases the last two years in ColdFusion, Flash, Fireworks have been huge leaps ahead of Microsoft in terms of what they've given developers. Look at the capabilities in ColdFusion alone when compared to .NET. It truly isn't even in the same ballpark as a high-level web development platform. The fact that Macromedia embraces J2EE, Eclipse, and other cooperative/ open source technologies (and not just profess to 'one day' do so) is refreshing in a world of Microsoft. Microsoft is very paranoid these days, as they should be. They are falling farther behind in terms of the performance of their key technologies every year. Yes they have dominant market share with Windows, but even the long-term view on this is in doubt as more and more capable software moves to the web in an interconnected world.

While I have developed and occassionally still do develop in .NET and VB6, the last few years I have been moving away from these technologies at each opportunity towards ColdFusion and Flash because of the huge improvements in efficiency and their more robust infrastructure with the MX/ JRun4 platform. What I can create using Flash on the client side, and ColdFusion on the server side are applications that are more secure, more reliable, and give my users a rich and interactive experience. I can do it all for a price less than what I would spend to develop software using Microsoft's technologies. I am very thankful to have explored and discovered the enabling products that Macromedia continues to evolve and am looking forward to the exploring this latest release.

Mark Holton

Monday, September 12, 2005

JRun4 Overview Link by Drew Falkman

Linked below is a nice overview of JRun4, Macromedia's J2EE compliant application server. The link contains a high level overview of the technology plus some history written by Macromedia's Drew Falkman.

The detailing of the technology here also provides a great glimpse of a wise move on Macromedia's part to tap into the large section of the server market (small to medium organizations or corporate divisions) by providing a very capable application server across their key platforms that is scalable. As users of ColdFusion, Flash Remoting, etc become proficient in their trade, they also become familiar with the bundled JRun app server and gives Macromedia inroads to expanding this market as well.

As a developer, it feels great to be in effect "partnered" with a company like Macromedia. This is the feeling one gets when you are a consumer of their products. The company enables you to leverage their work in ways that greatly enhance your productivity, while also welcoming choice, working with open-source communites (CFEclipse), etc.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Flash Lite -- Mobile

...a link to someone's site citing one of the (many) moves of manufacturers to rich mobile capabilities using Flash Lite. In this case, Nokia is releasing several phones with Flash Lite capabilities in Q1 2006