Adobe BlazeDS goes open source

In its latest open source move, Adobe says it will release an open-source version of its BlazeDS tool for connecting data sources to Flash-based rich Internet applications.
Written by Matt Broersma, Contributor on

Adobe said last week it would introduce an open-source version of a tool for connecting data sources to Flash-based rich Internet applications. Adobe's announcement follows on from open-source plans for several of its other developer products.

The software, to be called "BlazeDS", is a component of LiveCycle Data Services Enterprise Suite (ES), which provides data services such as remoting, data push, publish and subscribe. This in turn is part of Adobe LiveCycle ES, a suite of Java 2 Enterprise Edition-based server software products.

LiveCycle ES, combining PDF technology and the Flex Flash-based developer tools, is aimed at creating enterprise Internet applications to be viewed through Adobe's Flash Player. Flash, Flex and LiveCycle Data Services were all inherited from Macromedia when the two companies merged in 2005.

BlazeDS was previously available for free, but with significant limitations, in a low-end version of LiveCycle Data Services. Open sourcing the technology could spur the development of better back-end connectivity for Flex-based Internet applications, for instance when it comes to connecting to data sources outside of the LiveCycle suite.

A public beta test of BlazeDS has been published on Adobe's Web site, with the final version set for release under the Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 3 early next year.

Adobe also plans to sell a BlazeDS subscription plan, offering updates, patches, technical support and intellectual property infringement indemnity. Pricing will be announced on the release of the final product.

BlazeDS is designed to complement messaging systems such as ESBs (enterprise service buses), allowing Flash-based applications to use ESBs to communicate with databases and enterprise applications, Adobe said.

The LiveCycle suite is at the heart of Adobe's strategy for developing its platform for Internet applications, a side of the business that the company sees as key to its future plans. Several Adobe developer tools are already set to be open sourced, such as the Flex 3 software development kit (SDK). On the other hand, Flash Player and Flex Builder, the integrated development environment (IDE) used to build Flex applications, remain proprietary.

Outgoing Adobe chief executive Bruce Chizen said in an interview in November that the company would keep strict limits on what it chooses to open source. "Clearly, where we are bringing out new innovations, where we're taking out our research and development resources to create entirely new solutions, those, I believe, will continue to be proprietary," he said.

Chizen characterized the open-source community as taking its inspiration from commercial companies. "The open-source community takes a lot of the practices and some of the ideas from commercial companies and enhances them," he said. "If we didn't exist, there would be less to enhance."

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