Adobe's plan to open-source its Flex Web development framework offers at least a partial open-source alternative to Microsoft's Silverlight and Extensible Application Markup Language.
Adobe Systems has announced its plans to open-source its Flex Web development framework.
The San Jose, Calif., company is releasing its Adobe Flex source code to the open-source community to enable developers throughout the world to tap the capabilities of Flex and participate in the ongoing development of the technology.
Flex is a framework for building cross-operating system RIAs (rich Internet applications) for the Web and enabling new Adobe Apollo applications for the desktop, the company said.
"Well be open-sourcing Flex with the next release of the technology, which is code-named Moxie," said Jeff Whatcott, vice president of product marketing in Adobes Enterprise and Developer Business Unit.
Whatcott said Adobe will introduce the first public pre-release version of "Moxie" in June, "and well be providing public daily builds of the technology starting at that time. Well also be launching a public bug database, so itll look, act and feel like an open-source project" even then.
However, the technology will not be open-sourced until "Moxie" is released in the second half of 2007most likely in the fall, Whatcott said.
Upon release, the open-source Flex software development kit (SDK) and documentation will be available under the MPL (Mozilla Public License), Whatcott said.
Using the MPL for open-sourcing Flex will allow full and free access to source code, and developers will be able to freely download, extend and contribute to the source code for the Flex compiler, components and application framework.
Adobe will also continue to make the Flex SDK and other Flex products available under their existing commercial licenses, allowing both new and existing partners and customers to choose the license terms that best suit their requirements.
Whatcott said the MPL "strikes a good balance" for developers, particularly those who want to take a staged approach to working with open-source technology.
"This is the culmination of a long path toward opening up Flex," Whatcott said.
Adobe releases alpha of Apollo. Click here to read more.
Last June, Adobe announced plans to give away the Flex 2 SDK free to developers, but the company did not go so far as to open-source the technology.
And the free Adobe Flex SDK includes the MXML compiler and the ActionScript 3.0 libraries that make up the popular Flex framework. Together, these elements provide the modern, standards-based language and programming model used by leading businesses such as BMC Software, eBay, Salesforce.com, Scrapblog and Samsung to create RIAs deployed on the ubiquitous Adobe Flash Player, the company said.
This announcement expands on Adobes commitment to open technology, including the contribution of source code for the ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation under the Tamarin project, the use of the open-source WebKit engine in the "Apollo" project, and the release of the full PDF 1.7 specification for ISO standardization, the company said.
"Weve been very interested in using the Flex SDK to put a more usable and engaging face on enterprise content management, and this move by Adobe makes that all the more attractive." said John Newton, chief technology officer of Alfresco, an enterprise content management company based in the UK.
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Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.