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Flex applications are Flash SWFs - so they need to run within the Flash Player. I know that Flex applications often look like desktop applications, but they are not. Consequently they need to run within the Flash Player.
Good news however: our Project Apollo, is bringing Flash to the desktop. You can read up on Apollo on the Adobe Labs website.
As for MDI: I recall seeing a blog about this, but I just can't find it now. I even checked the Adobe Flex Component Exchange site.
I have a something which might work for you. I called it MinMaxPanel. Essentially Panel components that have minimize and maximize buttons. In my example the minimize and maximize buttons are crude since I'm not a good artist, but it is easy enough to replace them.
Here's the link to the article: Component Templates in Flex 2.0
Thanks. the MinMax code was interesting, but still doesn't supply the MDI capabilities I was looking for such as:
letting the user size a window by dragging resize bars
moving a window to any position on the screen
viewing information from 2 overlapping windows at once
I found some articles about Apollo, but I was really interested in running inside the Browser and still getting a window outside the Browser. Still Apollo looks pretty interesting.