LiveCycle ES vs LiveCycle DS vs BlazeDS – clearing up the confusion

March 27, 2008 | By

As you probably know, Flex Data Services was recently renamed to LiveCycle Data Services ES, commonly referred to as LiveCycle DS. However, this name change has confused a lot of people because there was already a set of products named LiveCycle Enterprise Suite, commonly referred to as LiveCycle ES. After talking to many people at 360Flex and other events, I’ve concluded that the distinction and relationship between these is a bit muddy for most.

Adobe LiveCycle ES

Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite is an SOA-based platform that is deployed on a J2EE application server. The base platform provides the ability to develop, deploy, configure and execute services. There are many built-in services in the base platform for doing simple things like sending and receiving emails, FTP’ing files, calling web services, manipulating server-side files, executing SQL, etc. New services can be developed (Java POJO) and deployed as well. Any of these services can be invoked through one or more endpoints including Java APIs, web services, watch folders, email and flash remoting. In addition, the base platform provides the ability to combine services through orchestration (workflow) to create new super-services, which can have the same endpoints mentioned above. For example, you could quickly create a new service that receives an email, analyzes the subject, creates a response with dynamic content from a database, attaches a file and then sends the response back to the originator, essentially automating an email response. This is basically the LiveCycle ES platform in a nutshell.   NEW:  Check out my video intro to LiveCycle ES.

On top of the base platform are various “Solution Components“, each of which is sold separately or as part of a “LiveCycle ES Edition” which is essentially a combo-pack of solution components!

There are solution components for just about everything document-related or process-related that you can imaging. I won’t go into the specifics in this post but below is a list with links to more details.

Adobe LiveCycle DS

Did you notice the last solution component listed above? Yes, LiveCycle DS is basically a subset of the LiveCycle ES. LiveCycle DS is sold either as a stand-alone product or as part of a larger LiveCycle ES deal. (It is actually included automatically in the LiveCycle Forms ES solution component). It is licensed by CPU.

Adobe LiveCycle DS provides data enabling capabilities for Flex and AIR-based applications. These capabilities include data synchronization, data paging, data push, data conflict management and publish-subscribe messaging along with some capabilities specific to interacting with applications built on the LiveCycle ES platform. For more details on these capabilities, click here.

DS vs. DS Express vs. Blaze DS

Yet another source of confusion – LiveCycle DS Express is exactly the same as LiveCycle DS except that it is FREE and restricted to a single application running on a single CPU (click here for more details on the licensing).

Blaze DS is a free, open-source product that provides a subset of the functionality provided by LiveCycle DS. Sujit Reddy Gurrala, a fellow Adobe technical evangelist, does a great job summarizing the differences on his blog. For many developers, this provides all that you need. However, if you are building large-scale applications with needs for conflict management, etc., take a look at the other DS offerings.

LiveCycle DS, Community Edition

Just when you thought you were getting it, I’m going to throw one more at you. LiveCycle DS Community Edition (huh!?) is basically Blaze DS with a paid support subscription. For more information, see this page.

Learning more:

I hope this helps!

UPDATE 10/06/2008Marco Casario has written an article describing the differences between LCDS messaging and BlazeDS messaging –


Filed in: Adobe AIR, Adobe Flex, Adobe LiveCycle ES | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

Greg is a developer advocate for the Google Cloud Platform based in San Francisco, California
  • Sami Hoda

    Which one does ColdFusion 8 Enterprise come with in built then?

  • gregorywilson

    Sami – Very good question – I understand your confusion

    ColdFusion 8 Enterprise does not include a full license of LiveCycle Data Services. If does have the ability to integrate with LiveCycle DS but does not include it.

    You could obviously use LiveCycle DS Express but you are restricted to a single application on a single CPU. You can also use BlazeDS which is free.

    Here is the complete matrix –

    Notice the “*” beside LiveCycle Data Services – see the text at the bottom beside the “*”.

    Ben Forta has an article about CF8 and Data Services that I think you will find helpful –



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  • Kevin

    Greg, do you have the trascript fo the video you did located here: ??

    The video was exactly what I was looking for and the visuals went by a little too quick and I personally am a reader more than a listener. If you do could you please email them to me or post them here for download ?

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  • Geoff

    The article referenced is two years old it Does Not Talk about CF8 rather CFmx7 ……….Ben Forta has an article about CF8 and Data Services that I think you will find helpful.

  • Geoff

    You would think someone who have a good simple example of how to do data push with cf8 and flex 3. Have found one that works yet

  • andrej770

    Geoff, A simple search on google with CF8 and Flex leads to tons of links on how to do data push. Some even come with video and instructions. See the example below


  • David S.

    Thanks for putting this together, it was very helpful.

    But one question. So with ColdFusion 8 Enterprise, does CF8 only provide LCDS adapters built-in that (somehow) need to connect with an LCDS/BlazeDS installation running seperately?

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  • Tomislav Pokrajcic

    In addition to mentioned LCDS Single-CPU has following limitations:
    “The free download version of LiveCycle Data Services ES Single-CPU License does not include LiveCycle Remoting for easy integration with LiveCycle document and process services. In addition, the generated PDF documents using the new RIA-to-PDF feature are watermarked in the LiveCycle Data Services ES Single-CPU License version.”

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  • Kev

    Thank YOu!

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