I meant to write about this yesterday, but apparently trying to squeeze a week's worth of work into four days prior to my day off today and fit in a trip to the gym meant I didn't quite get round to doing so.
Building rich web-based user interfaces sucks at the moment. Creating anything vaguely useful means working with a bunch of semi-related standards such as HTML, CSS, AJAX that between them just about manage to do what you want them to today. It's a mess and we need a better solution.
As Miguel commented on his blog, Microsoft have now consolidated their next-generation framework (now dubbed Silverlight) and I have no doubt that they will try hard to woo developers with this latest weapon in theirproprietary arsenal as they look to take over more and more of the web. Mozilla may finally be helping to claw back some of the browser share from M$, but if open standards can't win the battle to define the technologies that are used to build the next generation of applications then we're all in trouble. Unless you run Windows, of course.
Having Adobe choose an open source license to release their code under provides further validation that this is a model that works for businesses. As if we needed that, though :-)
Even more encouraging is Adobe's promise that as well as releasing the source code under the MPL, they will allow others to contribute to this code. That's when you start to get the full benefit of being an open source outfit, and Adobe have obviously twigged that.
There's no mention of their Flash player in the release, the lack of a full open source implementation of the player obviously being a significant barrier to the take-up of Flash on Linux in particular, which will limit it's usefulness on these platforms. Releasing this code under a similar license would no doubt win Adobe a lot more kudos in the open source community, but the Flex announcement will still be warmly welcomed by many. Maybe not by Mr Gates, though.
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