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Macromedia introduces Macromedia Flex Product

Macromedia introduces Macromedia Flex Product Strategy

New server and presentation tier framework for rich Internet applications enters beta phase, planned for 2004 release

AUCKLAND New Zealand - 20 November 2003 - Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) unveiled Macromedia Flex, a presentation server and application framework that enables enterprise developers to deliver rich Internet applications using existing tools, design patterns and infrastructure. Flex expands the Macromedia MX product family to address the requirements of enterprise IT departments seeking to deliver end user experiences that combine the responsiveness and richness of desktop software with the broad reach of the web. Previously code named "Royale" Flex offers a standards-based, declarative programming methodology and server runtime services for delivering rich, intelligent user interfaces with the ubiquitous cross-platform, cross-device Macromedia Flash client. The Flex beta program is now accepting applications, in preparation for release in the first half of 2004. For more information abou

"Flex brings the proven effectiveness of rich Internet application development to a new community," said Norm Meyrowitz, president of products, Macromedia. "The solution builds on the expertise, tools and standards enterprise developers already use today to deliver a whole new class of enterprise rich Internet applications."

"There's a great deal of industry momentum and customer interest in building applications with thin, rich clients," said Rod Smith, IBM's vice president of Emerging Technologies and IBM Fellow. "We think that the combination of Flex and IBM's WebSphere delivers a great architecture and model that works with existing infrastructure to meet this emerging need. IBM is working closely with Macromedia on the Flex product development and marketing and believe that the combination of Flex and WebSphere is going to give customers a great option to build applications with rich client user interfaces."

Flex is built to meet the expectations and practical requirements of enterprise development teams, leveraging their existing tools, workflow, design patterns and infrastructure. Flex developers define rich user interfaces using an intuitive XML-based language that the Flex server renders into intelligent client applications running in the ubiquitous Flash Player. The Flex application framework combines an elegant yet familiar programming syntax; a rich, extensible class library of building blocks for creating effective applications and powerful runtime services for data connectivity, deployment and experience management. The initial Flex release will run on top of leading J2EE application servers and a .NET version is planned for future releases. Consistent with Macromedia's ongoing commitment to standards, Flex is based on widely adopted, published standards such as XML, ECMAScript

"An increasing number of enterprises are growing frustrated with the limitations of their current web applications," said Mark Driver, Gartner analyst. "Rich Internet applications overcome the challenges by delivering great user experiences in a ubiquitous manner."

"Flex is a compelling evolution of the rich Internet application development offerings from Macromedia," said Chris Rogers, lead programmer analyst/architect, e-learning team, Boeing. "Our team has already had great success building rich user interface applications with Flash MX Professional 2004 and it's clear that the powerful Flex framework, programming model and class libraries will have an even deeper impact on the technology landscape utilised by my team."

Macromedia is also working on two Flex related projects to provide rich tool support for the Flex framework and server runtime environment. The first project, code-named Brady, is based on Dreamweaver MX 2004 and provides visual layout and integrated development and debugging for Flex applications. The second project, code-named Partridge, adds integrated Flex programming support to the open-source Eclipse development environment, enabling enterprise programmers to code, test and debug Flex applications from within the Eclipse IDE. Brady beta testing is scheduled to begin in December and Flex beta participants will be eligible to join that program. Partridge beta testing will begin at a later date. Macromedia also plans to release an XML schema that adds basic Flex language support to additional third party IDEs.

"Rich Internet applications provide the ability to work with information in a format that is visual and more comprehensible, which is extremely important in terms of increased user productivity and decreased chances for making mistakes," said Rikki Kirzner, research director, IDC. "The use of XML-based languages in the creation of these applications and their interfaces will help developers create more dynamic, interactive graphics in enterprise applications faster and with less effort."

Macromedia Flex is expected to ship in the first half of 2004. The Flex server will be licensed as an enterprise server software product. Free licenses are planned for evaluation and single user workstation development. Additional information on Brady, Partridge, pricing, licensing and configurations will be available at a later date.

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