Adobe LiveCycle adds Flex to build rich Internet apps

Adobe Systems Inc. has overhauled the architecture of its enterprise form-building tool set, infusing it with its Flex tool to let IT developers build rich Internet applications, the company announced on Monday.

The company said the new version of the LiveCycle Enterprise Suite now links Flex with PDF technologies and uses the Adobe Flash player to allow users to build more engaging forms-based applications for external users including customers, constituents, partners and suppliers.

Brian Wick, Adobe's group product marketing manager for LiveCycle, said the company expects that the new version will let companies build more visually appealing and easy-to-use forms-based applications for various tasks, such as filling out insurance claims and enrolling in new bank accounts. Customers often abandon such forms today because they can be very difficult to use, he said.

"[We're] taking a user by the hand and stepping them through a process in a very graphical way," Wick said. "We're applying engagement to the enterprise ... where Web 2.0 meets Enterprise 2.0."

Wick said the new version shifted the tool's architecture from many Java application servers that had to be managed by IT shops to a single server made up of multiple components.

The tool suite also adds wizards called Form Guides as well as Flash-based graphics that will allow more intuitive user interaction with data, the company said. Once the data is captured, LiveCycle can now automate its processing, including integration with the rules engine, data stores and Web services, according to Adobe. LiveCycle also provides rights management, document certification and digital signatures.

The updated offering will be available on July 18.

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