BEA and Adobe Systems forms rich Internet apps partnership

BEA Systems and Adobe Systems are partnering on rich Internet application development in an arrangement incorporating both SOA and Web 2.0 concepts. The deal is being announced Tuesday at the BEAWorld San Francisco conference. BEA will bundle Adobe Flex Builder 2 software with the BEA Workshop Studio Java development environment. Through this bundling, developers can […]

BEA Systems and Adobe Systems are partnering on rich Internet application development in an arrangement incorporating both SOA and Web 2.0 concepts.

The deal is being announced Tuesday at the BEAWorld San Francisco conference. BEA will bundle Adobe Flex Builder 2 software with the BEA Workshop Studio Java development environment. Through this bundling, developers can build cross-platform rich Internet applications that integrate with SOA and Web 2.0 infrastructure. Enterprise mashups also can result.

"[The agreement] gives our developers access to the most innovative, rich Internet application platform," said Bill Roth, vice president of BEA's Workshop business unit.

In the second part of the announcement, Adobe will distribute evaluation licenses of the BEA WebLogic Server Java application server with Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite software for building customer engagement applications.

Combining Flex Builder and Workshop Studio is intended to give developers a workflow for building applications like interactive dashboards, customer and employee self-service applications, and business-to-business systems, BEA said. Applications are deployed using the Adobe Flash Player runtime.

BEA's Workshop Bundle includes Flex Builder 2, Adobe's Eclipse-based IDE, and the Adobe Flex SDK, which is slated to be released under the open-source Mozilla Public License. The bundle is to enable developers to add rich interactivity to enterprise applications.

While Workshop already features an SDK and IDE, Roth insisted there was no redundancy. Both Adobe and BEA have built on the Eclipse platform. "That allows both Workshop and Flex Builder to exist in one IDE." Roth said. "Eclipse provides the basic IDE framework. Workshop and Flex fill it out."

Rich Internet applications developed with Workshop and Flex can be integrated with other BEA products, such as offerings from the WebLogic and AquaLogic families. This provides enterprise benefits pertinent to Web 2.0 and SOA, BEA said. Applications can be deployed using the planned Adobe Integrate Runtime technology for extending rich Internet applications to the desktop.

"The Web 2.0 angle is, I think, really where Flex is really strong in allowing a more focused user interface and allowing a richer environment," Roth said. "Web 2.0 is about collaboration," and interacting with the customer, he added.

For SOA, Adobe's architecture offers the notion of presentation services as well a framework for Flex applications to integrate with standard enterprise Java applications and SOA, Roth said.

BEA's endorsement of Flex does not necessarily mean the company is choosing it over the popular AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) technique for Web development.

"In fact, we view both AJAX and Flex as being important rich Internet options, and our customers are looking for that," Roth said. "We found that segments of the customer base that are more developer-centric have a preference for AJAX while those who are more concerned with the interaction and have fairly significant interaction needs in terms of flexibility and creativity tend to go with Flex," especially in an enterprise context, he said.

AJAX leverages HTML and JavaScript while Flex runs in the Flash Player, extends the browser, and has capabilities around graphics rendering, animation, and client code performance, said Adobe's Phil Costa, director of product management for Adobe Flex and ColdFusion. The Flex programming model focuses on data-driven applications as opposed to HTML, which was developed primarily around a documents paradigm, Costa said.

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