The release represents the first fruit of Macromedia''s merger with Allaire, being the the first major release since the company merged in March 2001.
Macromedia cheif technology officer Jeremy Allaire told ServerWatch that he sees the release of the suite as "the fourth repositioning of Macromedia." The MX family, Allaire notes, represents "an outgrowth of the Allaire-Macromedia merger."
The synergy among the products in the Macromedia MX family is easy to see. Many of Allaire''s products were server focused, Cold Fusion being a prime example, whereas Macromedia''s products were client focused, Flash coming instantly to mind. By combining the two sides and offering tools to integrate them further, Macromedia strives to offer a comprehensive solution.
Allaire says that the Internet has stagnated in the past two years, falling into an HTML-only rut. He believes the MX product line will begin to remedy this. Allaire describes the mantra of the product as changing the Web from being all about browsing to making it all about doing.
To do this, Macromedia MX has three core components: a rich client, a J2EE server, and tools to enable clients to communicate with application servers when performing Web services.
Flash MX is the rich-client component. With a presence on 98.3 percent of desktops, according to Allaire, it would be difficult to argue that Flash not a market leader. In addition to it its desktop penetration, Flash is embedded in a variety of smart phones, PDAs, and pocket PCs.
Flash MX has been shipping since March 15.
There is already some user overlap between Flash and the server component of Macromedia MX. Phil Costa, director of product marketing for ColdFusion, told ServerWatch that 30 percent of current ColdFusion users also use Flash.
While all of the products in Macromedia MX have been enhanced and had feature sets added, ColdFusion has undergone the most dramatic transformation. Up until the MX release, ColdFusion had been strictly an application server.
ColdFusion MX (formerly known by the code name "Neo"), is being touted for its capability to function as both a stand-alone server and as an overlay on top of Java application servers that enables Web services and a host of other capabilities.
ColdFusion MX does this with the Macromedia Flash Remoting service through which developers can encapsulate and reuse code to create structured applications that can be automatically accessed as Web services or as remote services for Flash clients also using the Flash Remoting service. This creates a write once, use many times environment.
By using ColdFusion Components or the new support for server-side ActionScript, developers familiar with ColdFusion or Flash can, according to the Macromedia, create applications that "combine the responsiveness and functionality of client/server applications with the reach and low-cost deployment of the Internet."
Flash Remoting is a native service within ColdFusion MX, and ColdFusion also supports connecting Macromedia Flash Player clients directly to .NET and J2EE components.
Other key feature in ColdFusion MX include:
- A completely new standards-based architecture
- Native support for XML and Web services
- Support for rich Internet applications
- A component-based development model
Enterprises deploying ColdFusion MX have two options. ColdFusion MX Server offers everything necessary to build and deploy ColdFusion applications, and ColdFusion MX for J2EE Application Servers contains everything for building and deploying ColdFusion applications on other app servers, specifically Macromedia''s own JRun server, IBM WebSphere, Sun ONE Application Server (formerly iPlanet Application Server), and BEA WebLogic Server.
Sun Microsystems and IBM have already hopped on the MX bandwagon. Both vendors have partnered to release versions of ColdFusion optimized for their respective application servers. Both ColdFusion MX for IBM WebSphere Application Server and ColdFusion MX for Sun ONE Application Server are scheduled to ship in the third quarter. The two flavors of ColdFusion will be marketed and sold by their respective vendors and Macromedia.
ColdFusion MX is scheduled to ship in May. It is priced at $799 per server for the Professional Edition and $4,999 per server for the Enterprise Edition. Upgrades are $549 per server and $2,499 per server, respectively.
The complete ColdFusion MX for J2EE is priced at $3,999 per CPU. Educational, Government and volume licensing are also available.
Macromedia Flash Remoting for .NET and J2EE Servers is included with ColdFusion MX. Starting in June, it is scheduled to be available for purchase separately for $799 per server.
The tools component pulls the Macromedia MX family together. Studio MX, which will ship with Dreamweaver MX, Flash MX, Fireworks MX, FreeHand 10, ColdFusion MX Developer Edition (Windows Only), and Macromedia Flash Player 6, provides the integration that enables Flash and ColdFusion to function and interact with as if they are a single product.
Macromedia Studio MX has an introductory price of $799. Upgrades from select Macromedia products to Macromedia Studio MX are $599, and upgrading from two select products or the Dreamweaver Fireworks Studio is $399. Studio MX will be available in English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Evaluation copies of Dreamweaver, ColdFusion, Fireworks, and Flash are available for download at http://www.macromedia.com/software/trial_download/.