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Presenting Laszlo Presentation Server

Apr 07, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* LPS uses Flash as the rendering engine for rich content

In a recent newsletter, I discussed a few products that leverage the installed base of browsers that support Macromedia’s Flash display system, and in a Network World Gearhead column I delivered a primer on Flash (see links below).

As a follow-up, I want to talk about another product that has been around for more than a year and uses the same strategy – to use Flash as the rendering engine for rich content – but on a larger scale.

Laszlo Presentation Server (LPS) from Laszlo Systems is programmed in a heady combination of ECMAScript with Laszlo’s XML tags that define the user interface elements and are compiled into Flash compatible bytecode for delivery to browsers. The included user interface elements include a calendar, chat, task list, weather display, contact list, multimedia player, etc.  LPS also supports persistent connection and integration with Web services.

To appreciate just how slick the system is you really have to try out the sample applications and demos. The company refers to the product’s display style as “cinematic” and there certainly is a polished and elegant quality to the user interface.

For clients to display LPS content they need to have the Flash 5 plug-in or ActiveX control installed. Supported clients include:

* Microsoft Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, or XP running Netscape 3 or later, Internet Explorer 3 or later, Opera, or Mozilla.

* Apple Macintosh OS 8.1 and above, OS X 10.0 and above with Apple Safari, Netscape 3 or later, Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or later.

* Opera, or Mozilla.

* Linux Red Hat 7.2 and above or Mandrake Linux 8 and above with Netscape Navigator 3 or higher.

* Solaris 2.5 or 2.6 (24-bit color, SPARC only) with Netscape Navigator 3 or higher; Pocket PC 2002.

* Nokia 9200 Communicator Series.

LPS is a Java-based server system (it requires JRE 1.3 or greater) that runs under most J2EE-based servlet engines – it comes bundled with the Jakarta Tomcat servlet and Java Server Page (JSP) engine and can run under Windows 2000 or XP; Red Hat Linux 7.2 and above; Mandrake Linux 8 and above; Sun SPARC with Solaris 8 or 9; and Apple OS X 10.2.

The only downside of this system is the lack of a graphical development environment – it positively cries out for a drag-and-drop content creation system along the lines of Xcelsius.

A free version, the Laszlo Presentation Server Developer Edition (LPS DE), is available with the only restriction being that it will serve up to five remote IP addresses per hour. The Express Edition (LPS XE) for a single server costs $1,999 while pricing for the Enterprise Edition (LPS EE), which provides failover protection and clustering support is available by request.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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