Laszlo is cool. I’ve been playing with it a bit and for me, the idea of using my text editor of choice to develop Flash apps, ehem, Rich Internet Applications™ is pretty compelling. The main competitor in this space seems to be Macromedia’s Flex. Both look like decent products. I see that Macromedia released a free non-commercial licens for Flex, perhaps in response to the recent decision by Laszlo to open-source their product and make it free.
The consensus seems to be that for enterprise-level deployment, Flex is currently the way to go, both from a workflow perspective as well as pricing models. Currently Flex costs $12,000 for a 2 CPU system. That’s too much for many projects to justify. The free non-commercial license may help build mindshare, but is meaningless to anyone but those just tinkering with no intention to deploy commercially.
For the moment, I’ll be focusing my effort on Laszlo. I have a hunch that the open source community may just latch on to it and run. When that happens, we’ll start to see rapid improvements and integration with other open source products. Also, the Laszlo server is able to compile to client-side environments other than Flash. Perhaps SVG or some sort of XUL connection will work out better.
Once a product like Laszlo gets under the skin of the open source community it can be next to impossible for the proprietary competitors to keep up.
Either way, it will be fun to watch.