At the Adobe MAX conference today, Adobe Partner Ensemble, have announced a new plug-in that will enable .NET developers to create Flex front-ends for their applications from within Visual Studio 2008. This provides similar support that already exists within Flex Builder, the tool based on Eclipse, but offers a familar environment for .NET developers that might not otherwise reach to an Adobe tool. The product, Tofini, is available for free download now (as a beta), and will remain free when it reaches final release.
According to Ensemble, developers will benefit from the full debugging and editing capabilities of Visual Studio, allowing MXML and ActionScript code to be edited and compiled directly within the IDE - without having to step out to a seperate environment.
With the arrival of Silverlight last year, both Microsoft and Adobe are increasingly competing in the developer space, with Silverlight now running on the desktop (in competition with AIR) and planned Silverlight development support within Eclipse. This latest announcement means that Adobe appears to be taking serious steps to reach out to Microsoft's strong developer base, just as Microsoft begins the uphill struggle to convert Adobe Flash developers to their Silverlight platform.