We had some cool news yesterday at Adobe. Ted Patrick has a pretty good round up of the news but I wanted to fill in some things for those people who aren't as familiar with Adobe's technology.The first bit of news is the Beta 3 release of Flex and AIR. For the most part on the Flex side we've cleaned up some bugs and gotten it that much closer to release. Those of you currently using the Flex 3 beta to create applications should upgrade right away. The new AIR beta is the last one before we release the product early next year. One of the great things for developers in this release is that the APIs aren't going to change much at all to the next release. That means after porting your beta 2 applications you can be reasonably sure that you won't have huge code overhauls for the final version. I know a few companies that have been waiting until beta 3 was out to release applications so I think we'll see a few more cool applications.
Opening up AMF
Now for the big news. We've done a couple of really cool things around our messaging protocol, AMF (ActionScript Messaging Format). AMF is a binary data format that allows for extremely fast and light weight data transfer. It's what we use for our of our LiveCycle products and lets you take advantage of real time messaging. For a long time this was a proprietary format but the community had reversed engineered it and there were a number of initiatives like OpenAMF and AMFPHP. Now we've released the spec [pdf] so everyone can look at it and implement it. Hopefully we'll see more widespread usage of AMF.
Along those same lines we've released something called BlazeDS. You may be familiar with our LiveCycle Data Services product which enables real time communication and push messaging. BlazeDS is a free, open source version of that product. There is tremendous potential out there for this kind of real time messaging and I think enabling rich Internet applications with this technology is going to be a great thing for the web. What BlazeDS does is lowers that barrier to entry so more people can experiment with adding real time communication to their applications. The open source nature means that (hopefully) more people will be receptive to looking at the project as well as moving the entire idea forward.
One of the Flash Platform's strengths has always been the robust data exchange which enabled real time communication. You could always do cool things with the player but it was costly and in some cases hard to implement. By opening these things up more people will be able to see what makes it so compelling. This should make rich Internet applications even richer and change the way people think about moving data and communicating.