Formerly code-named, Macromedia's Flex Builder 2 will let a programmer use , a popular open-source product, to build Flash applications. Until now, the software maker provided only its own development tool.
The change is significant because developers will not have to become familiar with Macromedia-specific tool features, said Kevin Lynch, the chief software architect at Macromedia.
"This is a big change here. Any coder here can write rich Internet applications and target the Flash player. This will hopefully open up Flash to a whole lot more developers," Lynch said. He said there are currently 2 million people doing Flash authoring; the company hopes to enlist a million more.
Lynch plans to demonstrate an alpha version of Flex Builder 2 on Thursday at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.
The alpha will be available for download on Oct. 17. A final version of Flex Builder 2 is expected in the second half of next year.
Macromedia on Oct. 17 also intends to release an alpha version of the next Flash Player, version 8.5.