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Adobe LiveCyle Update Unites Flash, Acrobat

Though Adobe acquired Macromedia in 2005, this is the first real combination of their technologies. It looks like a welcome update of LiveCycle for the world of mashups and agile applications, moving the development environment to Eclipse and adding support for Flash on the client side. Many users prefer Flash to the relatively bloated Adobe Reader (aka Acrobat Reader) on which LiveCycle previously depended, but Flash's main advantage is Flex Data Services. Like Ajax, this transfers short messages in real-time through Web services, making it easy to integrate with a SOA and back-end databases. LiveCycle supports both Flash and Adobe Reader simultaneously, letting users transfer data acquired through Flash to a PDF file that can be filled in offline. But in the long term, most customers will probably use Flash for all applications except printed output, as Adobe's forthcoming Apollo platform will also allow Flash apps to run without a server or browser.
Andy Dornan
NWC Senior Technology Editor

Adobe Systems today announced a suite of software to help enterprises build process-oriented applications with a focus on delivering front-ends based on Adobe Flex, PDF and Flash technologies.

While many enterprise vendors emphasize back-end integration, Adobe--true to its roots--places its application focus clearly on the user experience. The vendor said its new LiveCycle Enterprise Suite integrates the development capabilities of its Flex and PDF technologies to deliver applications to desktop environments, including Adobe Flash and Reader.

While Adobe (and former Flash owner Macromedia) are most often associated with enabling public Web sites, the focus of LiveCycle ES is on process-oriented customer apps such as account enrollment, claims process or guided self-service, Adobe said. The product includes wizard-based Form Guides and Flash-based graphics to simplify user interface development. LiveCycle ES also offers rights management, document certification, and digital signatures capabilities to ease document management.

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