Adobe has revealed that it plans to open up its Flex platform, allowing developers to access the platform under an open source licence. Flex is a solution that allows programmers to develop interactive Flash applications in a more refined manner than simply using the Flash GUI and ActionScript. Under this new arrangement, Adobe will make Flex’s source code available to everyone in line with platforms such as .Net and J2EE.
Although it’s been a long time coming, this represents a big step forward for Adobe, who was perhaps getting a little twitchy about the impact that new open source technology, such as AJAX and Ruby was having on the world of Flash development. By allowing developers to access the code improvements can be made to Flex that will benefit the user community as a whole, and the burden on Adobe’s in-house team will be eased.
Many within the Web development community will argue that Adobe still isn’t doing enough to open its technology to the masses. Maybe not, but it’s definitely a refreshing move, and it’s a good indicator that the company is committed to the needs of hardcore application developers rather than just designers who want to do a bit of programming on the side. Flex could be a very important tool for the future of Flash-based site creation and by building an open source community the platform should go from strength-to-strength. Now, Adobe, how about opening up the Flash runtime environment itself?