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Ted Patrick on Flex 3 Beta 2

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Ted Patrick of Adobe Systems has been blogging over the last week on some of the exciting new additions and improvements coming in the Beta 2 release of Flex 3. He finished Monday, announcing the most noteworthy change for developers considering the adoption of Flex, a price drop for the Flex Builder IDE.
Flex Builder 3 will ship in two editions: Flex Builder 3 Standard edition ($249 US) and Flex Builder 3 Professional edition ($699 US). Additionally on Nov. 1, we are repricing Flex 2 to align with Flex 3 and providing support upgrade options for Flex 3 starting at $99.

The Eclipse based development environment is the key tool for building Flex applications. The base price for purchasing the Flex Builder 2 IDE has been $499. The 50% reduction should help to lower the barrier for those that have been hesitant to use Flex because of the licensing cost for the tools.

He started his coverage last Wednesday detailing features to ease backend development, including CRUD generation and WDSL Introspection:
Flex Builder 3 Beta 2 has a new feature for generating server side code for data exchange with ASP.NET, PHP, and JAVA. Simply select a database, select the tables you want to edit, and presto, full CRUD, Create, Retrieve, Update, Delete.

To top that, we added WDSL Introspection to allow you to work with Web Services using Strong typing.

On Thursday, Patrick wrote about improvements to the tools and documentations to ease the learning curve. The documentation and examples have been improved to make “Flex more discoverable and easier to explore.”

Friday Patrick detailed improvements with code refactoring and navigation, the debugger, and the profiler.
The first changes target the code navigation and are extensions/refinement around language intelligence (refactoring, search, code model). To enable this feature simple hold down CTRL and click on any property to navigate into its definition. We supported this before but now you can navigate seamlessly into the Flex SDK codebase for any class, property, style, or event.

He displays the debugger improvements through screen shots, which appear to primarily be features to ease navigation and provide more detail on the Objects being debugged. From there Patrick discusses the profile enhancements:
The profiler is such a key addition to Flex and these refinements really make it essential. There is nothing worse than a profiler that points you in the wrong direction and the team has made some essential changes in how memory and performance are measured to make what is happening in your application clear.

Over the week, Patrick made it clear that Adobe is paying attention to all the details for their upcoming Flex 3 release.

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Community comments

  • You can do without the IDE

    by Per Olesen /

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    When you write "...The Eclipse based development environment is the key tool for building Flex applications...." I must disagree. FlexBuilder2 (and v3 I think) is NOT supported on linux. But you can do flex development without it, and without much hasle. Simply compile with the maven plugin from israfil (www.israfil.net/projects/mojo/maven-flex2-plugi...).

    Edit sources with your favourite xml/javascript editor.

    Then, all is free...

  • Re: You can do without the IDE

    by Per Olesen /

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

  • Re: You can do without the IDE

    by Geoffrey Wiseman /

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Yeah, the Linux support is good news; that was a stumbling block on adoption for us.

  • $249 and $699

    by Brian Ehmann /

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Flex Builder is still to expensive.

    If Adobe really wants developers to pick up flex, they need to bite the bullet and give the development tools away for free. (think eclipse/netbeans) This will do 2 things:
    1) encourage people to try out flex development (since there is no cost)
    2) increase adoption in IT organizations since it will be easier to find people who know how to develop flex apps.

    Adobe needs to learn that designers and developers are two different breeds.

  • Re: $249 and $699

    by Roger Voss /

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Flex Builder is still to expensive.

    If Adobe really wants developers to pick up flex, they need to bite the bullet and give the development tools away for free. (think eclipse/netbeans) This will do 2 things:
    1) encourage people to try out flex development (since there is no cost)
    2) increase adoption in IT organizations since it will be easier to find people who know how to develop flex apps.

    Adobe needs to learn that designers and developers are two different breeds.


    Yeah, but then Adobe becomes left with no revenue stream off of Flex.

    When I evaluated Flex for use in a new product, the cost of the Builder and Charting package was not a factor. The fact that Flex was far superior to all of the alternatives we considered (and prototyped with) was.

    Naturally we wanted to use the best RIA technology that has a wide uptake in order to achieve a high quality product.

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