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Will Zorn require a Flex server?

A couple of days ago I made a post asking everyone what features they would like to see in Zorn (Zorn is the code name for a next-generation rich Internet application IDE based on Eclipse that we are currently working on). As expected, we got a ton of great input, and lots of cool feature ideas (many of which are already planned). Anyway, there is one question that kept coming up, which I wanted to quickly address in order to help everyone better understand the significance of Zorn.

The question that kept coming up, was whether Zorn would be able to compile apps / SWFs without requiring a server to deploy. Well, everyone who asked this (and probably a few others) should be happy to find out that you will be able to use Zorn to develop and deploy applications based on MXML, ActionScript and the next generation of the Flex framework (all without requiring a server). We will be updating the Zorn FAQ later today to make this clearer.

I am really excited about this. As we have said previously, we have always planned to create tiered offerings around Flex, but we wanted to establish a foothold in the enterprise and make sure we got the programming model right before doing so. With the next version of Flex, we’re ready to take that step. So Zorn will not only be a great tool for existing Flex customers, it will also open up the Flex framework and Flash Platform to a much larger number of developers. Plus, Zorn’s focus on application development will make it a great complement to Flash authoring’s strength in creating rich content (of course, you will still be able to develop apps in Flash Authoring as you always have).

In addition, there will also be new enterprise-class features of the Flex framework that require the Flex server. You will be able to take advantage of Zorn to author those applications too, but you will need a Flex server to deploy them. We are currently working on the next version of the Flex server, code-named “Mistral”, which will make enterprise level RIA development, much, much easier (you can find more info on Mistral in the Flash Platform whitepaper).

Anyways, I can’t go into much more feature details right now (on Zorn or Mistral), but I can say that you should expect to hear much, much more about the future of Zorn, the Flex framework and application development for the Flash Platform over the coming weeks and months. Hmm…. might be a good time to register for MAX.

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