In light of Microsoft's recent "Moonlight" announcement with Novell, it should come as no surprise that Adobe quietly slipped out the first test version of its planned Linux plug-in for Flex at its MAX 2007 conference this week.
On Wednesday, the tools giant made available the public alpha of Flex Builder IDE for Linux, the first release of Flex Builder for Desktop Linux. It is an Eclipse plug-in available from Adobe Labs and is "officially supported by Adobe,"' gushed CH Swaroop, the Flex developer who worked on the Linux IDE coding.
It features some of the latest and greatest features of the forthoming tool upgrade including project creation, code coloring, code hints, compilation, the Ajax Bridge, Find All References, and debugging but it is not part of the Flex Builder 3 beta release that was announced earlier this week at MAX 2007.
Adobe has yet announced a date of availability or packaging plan for the Flex Builder IDE for Linux but details are expected in early 2008.
Roughly one month ago, Microsoft and Novell-back Mono project announced a cooperation to port Microsoft's Silverlight web development tool to Linux.
The Flex builder IDE for Linux requires use of FlashPlayer 9 for Linux and works only with Firefox and Eclipse 3.3. It has been tested and is supported on 32-bit versions of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation 4 and the recently released Ubuntu 7.0.4.
There are several other features of Flex 3 included such as design view, states view, refactoring, Adobe integrated run-time (AIR) support, automated testing, data Wizards, ColdFusion Extensions, Web Services introspection, a profiler and data visualization components but they are unsupported at this time.
Developers have already begun providing feedback on the Adobe Forum, requesting integration of an (enabled) layout design view and a request that Adobe offer an open source development model and dual licensing strategy.
This could include a "free community edition and a more complete version that we can pay for. This would help spread flash over Silverlight for the hobbyists that can't afford the $500 IDE," wrote one person who identified himself as Nelson Batista. "Companies would still pay the license, for the mode complete tool. Remember, MonoDevelop is free for Moonlight."