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Adobe Flex: Article

Adobe releases Customer Experience Enterprise Platform and Flash Builder 4.5.1

Developer not only for Android, but iPads, iPhones, and BlackBerry Playbooks

In the middle of the 90th Internet became public. Then Web Services allowed enterprises to expose their internal data to external customers. The very fact that a customer of a brokerage company could access analytical data about the financial standing of any publicly traded company was a big deal. HOW the data was presented was not important. Today, the customers not only want to access the data access and perform certain basic functions, they also want to enjoy this process. In other words, the user experience matters.

Social networks and friendly mobile devices raised the expectations of the customers of the businesses and governments agencies. If the Web site of a bank is not friendly and intuitive enough, I’ll open an account in another bank. If the  insurance company doesn’t allow me to do a little research online without the pressure of a salesman in my house, I’ll go to a different carrier. If the municipal Web portal of New York City won’t make the process of paying for my traffic violation engaging and enjoyable, I’ll relocate to Florida (ok, at least for winter time).


Being an IT consultant, I have a chance to work for many different corporate clients.  Once in a while I run into an internal application that looks a little better than a typical gray deck of screens with the dull data grids and forms.  Consumerization of the internal corporate applications slowly becomes a reality. I’m not saying that an IT department can easily get funding just to do a facelift of an internal payroll application. Ain’t broke, don’t fix.  But the user experience is not just about buttons with rounded corners. It’s about getting things done quickly.

Adobe is offering Customer Experience Enterprise Platform that includes Flash, Flex, HTML, PDF, designer’s tools, workflow servers, data services, tools for all major mobile platforms, marketing campaigns in social networks, usage analytics, friendly content management system. Literally, Adobe becomes a one-stop shop for all the tools for creation of enterprise applications with great customer experience. Just be creative and integrate these technologies in your business application. 

I know that it works not because I’ve read some Adobe’s marketing brochure or a whitepaper.  One of the products created in our company is the software for automation of certain functions performed by insurance agents. The front end is an Adobe AIR application with integrated PDF forms. It’s a cross-platform application: we are developing it under MAC OS, but the insurance agents can use it on MAC OS, Windows, Android tablets, and now, with today’s release of Flash Builder 4.5.1 on iPads.

Actually, we got a hold of Flash Builder 4.5.1 in its pre-release version about two weeks ago. The goal was to try to deploy this insurance application on iPad. We were expecting it to be a decent effort.  To say that we were pleasantly surprised is an understatement. After a couple of minor tweaks the application was deployed on iPad! My hat off to Adobe’s Flash Builder and AIR teams for giving us this excellent tool.You can get it via Eclipse menu Help | Search for Flash Builder Updates.


Well, I don’t want to give you a false impression that deploying to multiple tablets is a non-event. From the very start you have to properly design an application with a reusable common code base. The need of experienced enterprise application developers for mobile platform will only increase. But from the tooling perspective, only Adobe offers you such a complete set of tools to make the users of your enterprise application happy.

Below is an extract from the official Adobe Press Release.

“Today’s release accompanies the announcement of the Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform (see separate release). With consumers increasingly engaging with more content on smartphones and tablets, large enterprises are required to add mobile applications as a core part of their marketing strategy. Simultaneously, IT organizations are looking to build business process, CRM and other employee productivity applications to support the broad range of devices and platforms in use today. Using Flash Builder and Flex, enterprises can now use one tool, one framework and one codebase to create high performance applications that run on desktops as well as on smartphones and tablets.
Flex 4.5 also includes significant productivity enhancements that allow developers to rapidly build applications for the desktop, Web and top mobile platforms. Using best practice code templates, code completion and code generation features in Flash Builder 4.5, developers can accelerate the creation of Flex and ActionScript® applications and deploy them using Adobe AIR® software, Adobe’s runtime for standalone applications. This allows developers an opportunity to reach more than 80 million Android devices, BlackBerry PlayBooks, iPads and iPhones in the marketplace today. By the end of the year more than 200 million mobile devices are expected to support AIR applications.”

Epilogue. Last week I’ve ordered a book on programming with Objective-C to be able to give you even better reasoning of why you should develop for iOS using Adobe’s latest tools.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

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