Adobe Systems at its Adobe Max 2008 conference Tuesday heralded a slew of new technologies, including links between its Flex application development platform and Microsoft's Visual Studio software development platform.
Also paraded at the conference was Flash Catalyst, an interactive design tool for building interfaces and interactive content without coding. The planned Bolt release of the ColdFusion IDE, featuring Eclipse capabilities, was touted as well.

In addition, two developments pertaining to Flex development support for Microsoft's .Net software development technology were unveiled.

"A partner of ours, called Ensemble, out of Vancouver, has created a Visual Studio plug-in called Tofino, which gives you Flex and MXML support," said Ben Forta, director of platform evangelism at Adobe, in an interview after the morning keynote presentation. Also, Adobe itself is working on a project to boost Flex development in .Net, featuring data services capabilities. That project is with Adobe Labs.

With Bolt, ColdFusion gets a new IDE. "The highlight is that ColdFusion hasn't had an IDE in eight years. But it's an Eclipse-based IDE designed to work very well with Flex Builder and the other IDEs," Forta said. It features intelligent awareness and other capabilities.

Adobe is offering an early preview of Flash Catalyst for the Macintosh only. Early in 2009, a beta release for both Macintosh and Windows will be available.

Catalyst can be used to build application interfaces, ads, product guides, and design portfolios. With Catalyst, designers start from static compositions developed in Creative Suite 4 tools such as Photoshop or Illustrator and convert the "artwork" into applications and interactive content, Adobe explains on the Catalyst Web page.

Officials during the presentation also discussed Project Alchemy, which enables C and C++ code to be converted into ActionScript and reused in the Flash Player.

The Dreamweaver Creative Suite 4 release incorporates work done with the OpenAjax Alliance to embrace AJAX frameworks, according to officials during the presentation. AJAX can be used in AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) applications build via Creative Suite 4.

An attendee at Adobe Max, Gilbert Corrales, technical evangelist at ArtinSoft, was pleased with Adobe's plans to integrate with other technologies.

"Since the early days of Flex, they promised support for .Net and that never came," Corrales said.

Flash Catalyst, Corrales said, assists with developer and designer workflow. "That is something that is really needed right now," said Corrales.

In another development in the AIR realm, Adobe Max on Tuesday was to feature a presentation on AIR application mashups made with Durango, which is a software development kit for Flex and AIR. With Durango, users can drag a reusable component between AIR applications. Pieces of applications can be combined to build new AIR programs. Durango has not yet been released.

Adobe also touted Real Time Media Flow Protocol, allowing Flash clients to talk to one another directly without a server. Additionally, the company has announced a version of the Flash Media Live Encoder for broadcasting a camera source live to the Web.

Adobe on Tuesday launched groups.adobe.com, a community-building site.