Macromedia plans to bring its Flash software to Linux, the company announced at its FlashForward & Flash Film Festival event yesterday.

Macromedia chief software architect Kevin Lynch outlined Macromedia’s plans and intentions for 2004 and beyond at the show. He cited Macromedia’s emphasis on "rich client" application development.

"It’s about the transition of Web processing from purely being on Web servers to being on your local machine," Lynch said.

On Linux he said: "What we've been watching is, when will it be time to bring our authoring tools to Linux?" he said.

"In terms of building content, what we’re working on now is how we can extend the ecosystem of Flash a bit to people who don’t currently use the Flash Player in their work," Lynch said. The company hopes to enable people such as enterprise programmers and architects to use Flash and build applications for the Internet.

To boost Flash, the company is re-architecting the internal workings of the Flash Player. "This one’s really designed around raising the performance of applications dramatically," said Lynch. The company also pledges to keep developing its native Flash Player for Linux.

Macromedia Flex is coming out soon, Lynch said. "This is a server product. It’s aimed at developers who are interested in developing applications with a better (visual) experience but don’t know how to design these applications," Lynch said.

Set for 2004 release is Macromedia’s "Brady" technology. Brady is based on Dreamweaver MX 2004 and provides a visual layout and integrated development environment and debugging for Flex applications.

Macromedia in 2004 will update both its Flash MX authoring tool and Central. The company is working on moving Central to its Flash Player 7. Central also is to be moved to other platforms as it matures.

Lynch detailed several themes for the future of development. The first, design, includes identifying patterns to boost team-based development. The company is focusing on design with its Halo look-and-feel technology for Internet applications.

The second theme, experience, involves adding beauty and enjoyment to applications. "People are getting good about doing usability testing. What about enjoy-ability testing?" Lynch asked.

Customization, the third theme, entails involving users in customization of interactions. Lynch also cited the social experiences of applications, in which applications boost interactions among users.

Lynch noted application trends such as disposable applications, demonstrating a candidate-tracking application that would be obsolete following the election. Another trend, human-centred experiences, is about applications that anticipate needs, handle chores, and foresee consequences. Macromedia plans to work on this area of development, Lynch said.

Integration with the Microsoft's Longhorn is planned when Longhorn is released.