Both Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight are key technologies for developers that want to build Rich Internet Applications. However, the general rule of RIAs is that they only seldom leverage a single source for the content they offer to end users. In fact, RIAs and mash-ups are concepts that function perfectly hand in hand. But in such scenarios, it is critical for developers to take advantage of technologies that work seamlessly with one another. It is, certainly the case of Silverlight and Bing Maps, but until recently the same was not valid for Bing Maps and Flash.
However, Microsoft is not hanging ActionScript developers out to dry. In fact, the Redmond company has partnered with AFComponents
in order to make available a software development kit
that will allow devs using Flex and Flash to enjoy similar capabilities and flexibility as those leveraging the Bing Maps Silverlight Control
, explained Chris Pendleton
, the Bing Maps technical evangelist for Microsoft. What AFC is delivering is a Flash-based interface designed to streamline the creation of building map applications with ActionScript.
“AFC has created a very robust SDK for creating your Flash-based Bing Maps applications. Supported through AFC, their Flash controls access Bing Maps in a supported fashion and fall inline with the Bing Maps TOUs,” Pendleton said. “If you’re a commercial customer, you still require a commercial license; however, now you no longer have to wrap your own Flash control by accessing our tiles via the Bing Maps Web Service or reverse engineer our tiles schema and URI definitions directly to create your Flash control (a TOU violation!). AFC has you covered – you just need to access their SDK for overlaying data.”
Pendleton even notes that the AFC SDK permits developers to include Bird’s Eye imagery from Bing Maps into their Cloud apps, even if they use Flash instead of Silverlight. In the long terms, Microsoft is committed to convince the developer community that Silverlight is a superior technology to Flash when it comes down to building Cloud applications.
“Within the AFC APIs you can access Bing Maps geocoding, routing, POI Search, road maps, aerial maps, hybrid maps, traffic layers and Bird’s Eye photos. You pretty much get everything that’s in the Bing Maps Platform only it’s all made just for Flash developers,” Pendleton added.