NextGen Macromedia Flash Tool "Zorn" to Run on Eclipse

I’m so glad that the news is finally out. I’ve had to bite my tongue so many times. Macromedia’s announcement that their next generation enterprise Flash development tool, code-named Zorn, will be built on top of Eclipse, is a watershed moment both for Macromedia and for the open source movement. Macromedia’s choice of Eclipse speaks volumes about the impact of open source on commercial software development — and about Macromedia’s commitment to making Flash into an essential platform for next-generation internet applications. Zorn is only one part of Macromedia’s broader Flash Platform announcement.

I’m on the board of Macromedia, so perhaps I’m biased, but I have to say that the next generation of Flash tools and applications are pretty darn cool. The demos I saw at the last board meeting of some features of the upcoming Maelstrom (Flash player) release really blew my socks off, especially the seamless, high-performance integration of real time video overlaid with multiple layers of other content in the same Flash application. While AJAX has created some real competition on the “Rich Internet Application” front, Flash still has some amazing advantages, including high end features like the ones I just mentioned, near universal cross-browser deployment on PCs and Macs, huge momentum on cell phones,
a growing role in the telecom market, and much more.

A side note that may be of interest: the project lead for Zorn is none other than Mark Anders, one of the two original developers of ASP.Net at Microsoft, and long-time program manager for the product. Mark told me that he joined Macromedia because he felt there was a need for a real enterprise level development tool for Flash. That it was the developer of a key Microsoft product who made the choice to build on Eclipse may be particularly telling.