Flash Builder 4 (Flex 4): overview part 1

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Finally Flash Builder 4 (read Flex Builder 4) is out. I was trying to review on what has changed and whats new in the latest release. Flash Builder… I don’t know I think I like Flex Builder better 🙂

I will review new features in Flash Builder 4 with respect to IDE ,Syntax,Components,Styling,Performance and finally a Conclusion.

So lets get started with the IDE,

On the whole the IDE looks just about the same. But look a little closer and you will notice a host of other things. The top then things that you might notice (If  you start building a project right away) are…

1 The Package Explorer (Flex Navigator in FB 3)
-The code management has changed a little.
-The packages are now grouped, which is a very good thing (you will know why if you use cairngorm)
-Outline has been included with the class shows SDK (framework) packages
-Uses swfobject.js instead of AC_OETags.js

The new Package Explorer (earlier: navigator)
The new Package Explorer (earlier: navigator)

2 The Component Explorer

The  Components view in the design mode now has a different folder structure. Some new components have been added and you won’t find some old components like the numeric-stepper. I will be adding a detailed review on components in part 2.

Components have been recatogerized

3 Data Services Tab

By Far, the most exciting feature of FB4. This tab allows you to link data from a source without a single line of code. See it to believe it.

The Data Services TabThe Data Services Tab

4 The Network Monitor

Adobe has really worked on Developer productivity and I say this because of this super cool feature that allows you to see the communication your app makes with your data server. No more searching for analyzers and http sniffers online  🙂

The network monitorThe network monitor

5 ASDocs window
Another one for developer productivity. If you are working on Flex 3 I am sure you ll love this. No more opening new windows or googling up what some property means. The ASDocs  window allows you to see it there and then.

ASDocs Window

6 Auto Function Generator
Another one that generates a function definition without any typing 🙂

Auto generate functions for events

7 Theme chooser

Components are now divided into Spark and Halo(standard flex 3 components) compoents and with the theme chooser you can how you want to display them…

Theme Chooser

8 Appearence Window
Along with the Properties components (enhanced quiet a lot) there is another tab for Appearece. The styling for Flex 4 components has changed (especially for spark). The appearance window mainly caters to it.

Appearence window (For Spark components)

9  States in Code View
This release will amaze you if you are a flex developer. State management, it seems has been enhanced drastically and this options grey’s out everything that is not included in the selected state. WOW !

States selector for code view

10 Export as FXP – The new export format

The flex project archive (.zip) is now FXP.
This has been about the IDE Features and there is a lot more to explore, for the next part lets try our hands on some new flex compoents .

Export as FXP from File Menu

Coming up  : Review of Flash builder 4 Syntax,Components,Styling,Performance and finally a Conclusion.
Download Flash Builder 4 today

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