Adobe Systems Inc is fleshing out its Flex and Flash releases. At its MAX user conference, it announced the availability of a beta version of the Flex IDE (integrated development environment) for Mac OS/X. It announced a similar pre-release of a Linux version of the popular Flash 9 player.
And it promised that early next year, it would release the GA versions of the Flex IDE for Windows and Mac, based on the Eclipse 3.2 framework, along with the final release version of the Linux Flash player.
Both fill holes in the Flex/Flash framework, which is supposed to be multi-platform. Specifically, it fleshes out the decoupling of the Flash player from Windows, where it had been previously tied at the hip. All this is occurring in a mounting competition pitting Adobe, IBM, and Microsoft in a rivalry to control the de facto standard for the next generation Rich Internet Applications in dedicated environments.
Adobe’s announcement of a Mac Flex IDE was little mystery. When it released the current windows version last summer, it promised to follow up on the Mac. As for Flash on Linux, the goal was to cement the promise for making the player fully cross platform.
Ironically, while Windows preceded the Mac when it came to the Flex IDE, for now, the Mac beta release is actually more advanced than Windows because it already supports Eclipse 3.2. By contrast, the Windows product is on the previous Eclipse 3.1.1 version. At the end of the day, the versions make a difference only to developers who are also using the latest versions of tooling form other vendors that only support Eclipse 3.2.
All this leaves open the question of whether Adobe will also come out with a version of the Flex IDE for Linux. Yet, given the fact that Linux geeks tend to be known for their preferences for hard-core command line tools over visual ones, the lack of IDE support for Linux may be a non-issue. And you can already use VI or other popular code editors if you want to write Flex code from a Linux client.
For the record, Adobe isn’t making any commitments to a Linux Flex IDE, but is considering it.