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Coghead flips to Adobe Flash and Amazon EC2

The hosted application assembly service moves to Adobe Systems' Flex development environment and's hosted-computing infrastructure.

Coghead on Monday plans to launch a second version of its hosted application development platform, which the start-up has moved to Adobe Systems' Flex/Flash technology and's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) computing infrastructure.

Coghead's hosted service
Coghead's hosted service for making Web applications. Coghead

The company is one of several targeting what it calls "do-it-yourself developers" at small and midsize businesses.

Such developers are generally tech-savvy enough to write macros in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet software or work with scripting languages, but they don't have the same level of training as a professional C++ programmer, for example. The company estimates that there are between 15 million and 30 million do-it-yourself developers at such companies, compared with between 3 million and 4 million more highly trained programmers.

With its service, people can visually put together applications by creating forms and by setting up a work flow customized to their needs. It has signed up 25,000 developers.

To improve the performance of its applications, Coghead rewrote the front end of its service in Flex, Adobe's application development environment. Applications are displayed using Flash.

The company abandoned another rich Internet application framework, OpenLaszlo, because Flex brought it significantly better performance, according to Coghead CEO Paul McNamara. Adobe also has a broader ecosystem of third-party tools, he said.

By moving to Adobe technology, Coghead can also enable its developers to create applications using AIR, the Adobe Integrated Runtime. Coghead will release an update in the middle of the year with the ability to make AIR Web applications that can run online or function as desktop applications.

Its move to Amazon's computing structure, including EC2 and Simple Storage Service (S3), will save Coghead money and provide customers with a more reliable and structure, McNamara said.