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.
- Adobe LiveCycle ES Overview (PDF)
- Adobe LiveCycle ES Home Page
- Adobe LiveCycle ES Developer Center Home Page
- Adobe LiveCycle DS Home Page
- Blaze DS Home Page
- Christophe Coenraets’ 30-minute Blaze DS test drive
- Nick Kwiatkowski blog post titled, “Why are you NOT using LiveCycle DS?”
- In Europe? Come to 360Flex April 7-9 to learn more!
- Need .NET connectivity? Check out WebORB
I hope this helps!
UPDATE 10/06/2008 – Marco Casario has written an article describing the differences between LCDS messaging and BlazeDS messaging – http://casario.blogs.com/mmworld/2008/10/differences-bet.html