Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flex 4/Flash Builder Beta

Adobe released Flash 4 Beta 2 a few weeks ago with many changes and improvements over Flex 3. The new lightweight spark framework has many advantages over the older mx components and separates skinning in an attempt to facility and advocate better separation of concerns and improved maintainability.

There are also some significant improvements to the Flash Builder IDE that take much better advantage of the eclipse framework. It was always a big mystery to my why Flex 2 and 3 Builders seemed to strip so many of the basic features out of eclipse when they created their IDE. Many of those features, although not all, are now included.

One basic but vital feature is the ability to create your own standard templates for AS3 classes and MXML applications and components. The approach follows the eclipse use of internal variables, like ${user}, ${date}, ${year}, etc.

Another feature is conditional breakpoints and watchpoints. There is also a way to do remote debugging.

So it looks like the new Flash Builder comes closer to providing the basic eclipse functionality that has been missing since Flex 1.x was introduced. I'll post later with other features that have been included while I work my way through the latest Max 2009 presentations and the on-line "Flex 4 in a week" training series. And, in subsequent posts, I will share what is offered by the new Spark platform.

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