Macromedia will ship Flex Builder this week, which is designed to provide an interactive development environment for the company's Flex presentation server.
Flex Builder, formerly code-named Brady, was specifically tuned to work with Flex so that users could visually design Internet applications without having to write them in code first, vice-president of product management at Macromedia, Jeff Whatcott, said.
Developers can, for example, drag and drop UI widgets and components for use in an application interface. Also, enhanced coding support enables quick use of ActionScript or MXML (Macromedia Flex Markup Language) to build Flex apps.
"It's going to help developers learn MXML and ActionScript more quickly," Whatcott said. "It will improve the ability of people already using Flex." Flex Builder also offered role-based team development of applications, Whatcott said.
For example, a team could separately work on design, UI logic, and back-end services and then check them into a source-code management system. Also featured are an integrated debugger and a network monitor to gauge interactions between the UI and the back-end system. Featuring server and framework components, Flex is intended for generating graphically strong user interfaces for what Macromedia calls "rich Internet applications".
Although tools such as Visual Studio and Eclipse can work with Flex, Flex Builder provided a focused framework for the platform, Whatcott said. Flex Builder is sold as part of the Flex license, which costs $US12,000 for a two-CPU configuration.
The company also announced that on September 1 it would ship Flash Video Kit to enable users of its authoring tools suite, Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional, to add video to websites.
Video is added through use of a Dreamweaver MX 2004 extension.