It was announced today that Adobe and Salesforce.com teamed up and built a new Flash Builder implementation for Force.com. The general release is slated for the first half of next year, but you can get your developer preview right now. Michael Coté, an analyst with Redmonk, says it's likely that Salesforce.com chose Flash over Microsoft's Silverlight because of Adobe's more time-tested software.
Adobe's Flash Builder 4, formerly Flex Builder, is currently in its second beta. This IDE is Eclipse based, so it allows plenty of creative options with Flash's animation capabilities and over 100 reusable UI components. Further, integration with Adobe's LiveCycle Data Services allows data synchronization between Force.com and client-side stores.
Flash Builder for Force.com lets you create data visualization, filtering data aggregators, and interactive user interfaces with drag-and-drop capabilities for Force.com apps. It won't replace Force.com's IDE but instead will add more design versatility in building a Salesforce.com app. Eric Stahl, Senior Director of product marketing, says that the Force.com IDE will still be used to make "the guts of the application." Flash components will be available for embedding into UIs or the Flash Builder for Force.com can completely takeover the UI production. The Flash Builder is intended to modify Force.com applications, adding the richness and slickness that comes with Adobe design software.
You can see Eric Stahl present applications built with the new Flash Builder for Force.com in this online video.
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