Macromedia has announced the release of Flex Builder (formerly code-named Brady), the IDE designed for building applications in Flex. And in a bid to spur Flex development, Macromedia is giving this IDE away with the download of a trial or full version of Flex.
When you purchase Flex, you receive five full licenses for Flex Builder. If you need additional Flex Builder licenses, your salesperson can arrange for additional licenses.
As for the trial version, Macromedia provides a 60-day trial for both Flex and Flex Builder. When Flex expires, it reverts to a "developer edition" which will still allow a developer to use it and up to 5 IPs can test against it. So it's still very usable to develop an application. When Flex Builder expires, it stops working, but users can contact Macromedia's Customer Support and get a 60-day extension, giving them 4 months to work with it.
Lucian Beebe's Logged In column does a great job in clarifying Flex Builder's target audience and Macromedia's strategy for Flex.
Flex Builder's features include a design view for visual interface layout, an MXML (Maximum Experience Markup Language) and an ActionScript code editor, and sophisticated debugging capabilities. Jeff Whatcott, vice president of product management at Macromedia, said that Flex Builder is to Flex what Dreamweaver is to HTML. Whatcott also said that Macromedia is continuing work on a variation of Flex Builder, code-named Partridge, that will help developers build Flex applications from different IDEs.
Here is some of the coverage out about Flex Builder:
Flex Developer CenterMacromedia Wires Up Flex Builder (CRM Buyer, August 23, 2004)
(The CRM Buyer story above has an interesting quote from an analyst at Butler Group on Macromedia's lead in the Rich Internet Applications market.)
Macromedia Bolsters Flex with New Development Environment (eWeek, August 23, 2004)
(Note that in eWeek's April 12th review of Flex, they listed the lack of a Flex-specific IDE as a downside of the product. That problem should now be solved.)
Macromedia Flex Gains Momentum Powering Strategic Rich Internet Applications (Computerworld Australia, August 23, 2004)
Macromedia Releases Flex Builder (LinuxInsider, August 23, 2004)
Macromedia Expands J2EE Pitch (ZDNet, August 22, 2004)
Macromedia Rolls New Flex Builder Tool (InternetNews.com, August 23, 2004)
Macromedia flexes IDE muscle (Computer Business Review Online, August 24, 2004)
Macromedia launches Flex Builder (Infoworld, August 23, 2004)