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9/11/2007
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Adobe, BEA Unite On Rich Web Apps For Business

As part of the partnership, BEA will bundle Adobe's Flex Builder, the development environment for Flash, with BEA's own Web app development tool, Workshop Studio.

Adobe and BEA Systems announced a partnership Tuesday as part of a push to help bring rich Web applications into the enterprise.

As part of the partnership, BEA will bundle Adobe's Flex Builder, the development environment for Flash, with BEA's own Web app development tool, Workshop Studio.

"It helps us deliver flashier apps to our customers. For Adobe, it helps them by working with us in the enterprise," said Bill Ross, VP of BEA's Workshop business unit. "The integration allows both of us to take this technology and help Adobe deliver richer applications to businesses."

Adobe already has a stronghold on the consumer Web where Flash has a presence on almost every Internet-connected computer, but it's starting to try to push into business as well.

"Flex plays a dual role. One area is focused on delivering the best user experiences to consumer applications, but what a lot of people in IT are realizing is that delivering a good user experience to internal users is important," said Phil Costa, Adobe's director of product management for Flex.

Flex Builder's integration with Workshop Studio intends to make it easier for developers to create, test and deploy Flash applications. Flash today is mainly a consumer technology, but BEA and Adobe point to data dashboards, self-service applications, and business-to-business collaborative apps as places where they see Flash having a future in business.

"I personally need a dashboard for sales and the richer the application, the better business I can do and probably the better off I'll be with my CEO," Ross said.

Already, Boeing is using Flex to build some project management apps and project status dashboards and one of the top investment fund management companies has built a customer portal in Flex, though this is outside the BEA relationship. According to Ross, the new bundle should be available starting at $999 at the end of this month, though the companies say in a press release that the bundle should be available by the end of the year.

Adobe is also talking to SAP, which Adobe rich Internet evangelist Ryan Stewart said in an interview last week is looking at extending its employment of Flex and using Adobe AIR, the company's out-of-browser runtime for rich Web apps. Last year, SAP released a system for visualizing SAP data that was built using Flex. Last week, Adobe also announced a partnership with Cisco to include Flash Media Server in Cisco's Content Delivery System, a system of network devices that streams multimedia for carriers and large enterprises.

Rich Web apps aren't the only thing covered by the Adobe-BEA agreement. The two companies will also integrate technologies to automate document-related processes, as Adobe will distribute evaluation licenses for BEA's WebLogic application server with Adobe's LiveCycle ES software.

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