Confronting Microsoft

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-04-26 Print this article Print

Mark Driver, an analyst with Gartner, called the move to open-source Flex a big deal, noting that it helps Adobe competitively against incursion by Microsoft. "I think it will help head off Silverlight and remove concerns of proprietary nature of Flex in the Web world," he said.

"Open-source co-creation is a powerful way to build a strong development community," said James Governor, founder of the RedMonk market analysis firm. "Adobes decision to open-source the Flex SDK is a radical move which should attract a new class of developer to the platform."
Richard Monson-Haefel, an analyst with Burton Group, agreed that Adobes plan to open-source Flex is a good idea.
"Flex has been doing well in the market so this is not one of those occasions when a vendor throws their software out to open source as a last ditch effort to save it," he said. "In this case, Adobe is being really smart because they know that as an open-source project the Flex SDK is going to evolve more quickly and probably in some directions they had not anticipated." Moreover, Monson-Haefel said Adobe sells an "excellent IDE [integrated development environment]" in Flex Builder 2. And this open-source move "can only help bolster already healthy sales of that product as well as their Enterprise Data Server," he said. Monson-Haefel said that in addition, this move will help Adobe with their Apollo platform. "The more people using the Flex framework, the more attractive the Apollo platform. I cant see a down side for Adobe or the development community at all." Whatcott said that the Web development community is talking about how to deliver RIAs. "And now into that environment were saying its time to blow the doors wide open," he said. "So were open-sourcing Flex and thats going to take this fledgling developer community and grow it up." Adobe and Microsoft score high on scripting security. Click here to read more. Meanwhile, Adobe will continue to sell its Flex Builder IDE. That product starts at $499. Adobe did not say anything about open-sourcing its Flash or Apollo technology. Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst with Forrester, said he sees the battle unfolding between Adobe with Apollo and Flex versus Microsoft with its Silverlight and XAML (Extensible Application markup Language). Additionally, Hammond said he believes the platform ubiquity of Microsofts WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) versus the potential ubiquity of open source should be a real test of classic models versus new business models in software. Hammond also said that until Adobe announced its open-source plans for Flex, "it was one proprietary technology against another, so there was no reason for the standards-based crowd to join either side. Now, the standards crowd has some interesting reasons to join the Adobe camp." Microsoft will hold its Mix 07 conference next week (April 29-May 2) in Las Vegas, where the company is slated to discuss various plans regarding its own RIA and Web development strategies. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

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.

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