Adobe, Please Bring Flash Builder Up To Par

This post is long overdue, and I want to personally apologize to Adobe for taking so long to post it. Adobe (Macromedia?) thrives on customer feedback, early, and makes a serious effort to prioritize on it whilst comparing to their own market research data they do by proactively reaching out. I haven’t done this in a long while, focusing on business vs. the actual tools & runtimes.

It’s long overdue. Flash Builder 4 is a mess, and hopefully fixing/improving the following items will bring it up to par.  If you are a product engineer, skip the intro.


Flash Builder 4 is a great leap forward from Flex Builder 3.  It’s not any large features, but rather a bunch of little, consistent things that lead to a pleasant experience.

Years of neglecting other areas, as well as blatant missing features that open source alternatives & competing IDE’s have makes me question if there is any serious money behind Flash Builder.  I know the effort and will are there; even after distancing myself from the Adobe product teams the last 3 years, when I do return via email/Twitter, they still have great attitudes, and want to continually improve their tools/runtimes.

Bottom line, I and many others are more productive using open source alternatives to Flash Builder, and usually only keep Flash Builder around for 3 key features (Library project linking, Design View, and superior MXML handling, specially with states).  There are a lot of common workflows that seem to be ignored, and even after 4 years of the community bringing them up, they still aren’t remedied.

I outline the problems below with potential solutions.  Some solutions are actually easy; you just copy open source implementations.

Call To Action

I cannot promote Flash Builder 4 to my clients, nor will I spend another dime on Flash Builder 4/5 licenses until Adobe takes Flash Builder seriously by making 5 on par with open source alternatives.  While I respect that some of the blame lies on the Eclipse foundation, Adobe clearly thinks there is value there if they base a Designer specific tool’s future, Catalyst, on top of Eclipse’s architecture.

I, and millions of others sent a message to Adobe with CS4.  We were sick and tired of incomplete features, bugs, and crashes.  Adobe then laid of 10% of their staff due to poor CS3 sales… even though 1 month prior their CEO was on stage at the Adobe MAX conference saying sales were doing well.  They did this again the following year.  You can blame it on the recession.  You can blame it on a public company doing what most do in down times; laying off staff to boost their stock value when dividends are nowhere to be seen because there is no forthcoming company revenue.

…or you can take responsibility for your bad software, and fix it.  I was a devoted customer until CS3; we fought with our wallets, and our wallets won.   Which sucks.  My career and life are based on Adobe’s product line.  When you, Adobe, suck, life sucks.  Not just for me, for the world.  You’re doing important work.

The following are problems with potential solutions.

1. Code Hints

Flash Develop, FDT, IntelliJ, and Visual Studio all give code hints for your classes, methods, and variables WHILE YOU TYPE.  No period needs to be post-reached, not keyboard command; it just shows you a drop down WHILE YOU TYPE.

Worse, if you misspell something and back up, most of the time the drop down will go away, forcing you to spend more time to get the code hint to come back up… or just say eff it and code like your in AS1 (or Python).

This should be top priority; I understand if you’re waiting on Eclipse to add this.

2. Automatic Class Importing

Flash Develop and FDT both auto-import for you while you type and hit enter.  IntelliJ gives you the option to hit Alt+Enter to import a class of your choice, or perhaps define it which is even cooler.  Know what Flash Builder does?  Doesn’t compile, and blames it on you.  Gee, thanks $500 IDE.  I paid you $500 bucks to bitch at me and not auto-import my class you know full well where it is.

My code is littered with var a:SomeClass.  If you go on a blank line, and type var a, it’s the quickest way to get the class drop down.  From there, you can hit enter which’ll auto import the class.  You then delete the line.

Half of the problem is that the drop down is just flaky; miss it, and it won’t import your class.  Just start typing in a non-start line place, and Flash Builder won’t even give you a code hint.  Import yourself.

Please do a better job of auto-importing.  Level 1 is to get what Flash Develop/FDT do, Level 2 is to match IntelliJ’s intelligent options.

3. Slow Code Hinting Response & Mispellings

Part of the problem is the code hinting is just slow.  IntelliJ, which is slower than Eclipse, still seems to consistently work.  While Flash Builder 4 has significant improvements for misspellings over Flex Builder 3, ESPECIALLY in the class creation dialogue, for the code hints, 9 times outta 10, if you mispell “Graa” instead of “Grap” for Graphics, good bye dialogue, please start again.

If you can’t increase the responsiveness, then just be more forgiving with spelling, or just fix #1, and you should be good.

4. Stop Being ActionScript Racist: ActionScript vs. Flex

You all have been doing this crap since Flash 8.  Back then, you’d show AS3 code hints for AS2; even help would show AS3 when I specifically set AS2 in the publish settings.  Back then, QA was sincerely concerned, but it still shipped.  “We don’t want you to use AS2 anyway”.

When people like Keith Peters, Steven Sacks, Grant Skinner, and Darron Schall bitch about it, and you do nothing, that’s a serious communication problem… and makes me question if the assholes who used to run Flash Media Server 1 & Flex 1 teams are now running Flash Builder team.  Aka, “Screw you, your ideas make us and our shareholders no money, please DIAF.”

When I create an ActionScript 3 project, and go to import flash.display.Graphics, but you give me a code hint spark.primitives.Graphic, I want to throw a nuke at San Fran.  It’s a waste a time, confusing, and causes compilation problems.  It also leads to subtle, yet horrible problems where Flex dependencies get leaked into potentially awesome AS3 only libraries.  as3corelib is a perfect example.  Was pimp… then someone accidentally imported mx.formatters.DateFormatter… AND YOU’RE FUCKED!

If I create an AS3 project, get your damn Flex outta my code.  I’m Jesse Warden, you know I love Flex, especially 4 now that I’ve drunken the Kool-Aid.  But when I’m coding an AS3 only AIR project for Android to help promote your technology, and your own IDE starts getting all AS3 racist on me, it makes me RAAAGGGEEE!!!

5. Linking Projects: Unit & Visual/Functional Testing

Linking projects is just garbage and does not work.  One of the greatest features you all implemented in Flex 2 was Library Projects.  Using Library projects, you can also make Design View quite useful in Flex 3.  You just build all your GUI in the Lib, and implement with application logic in your main project.  Since it’s a Library project that’s pre-compiled, all your graphics show up nicely in Design View.

…if you want to unit test or do visual tests, however, it’s a nightmare.  In this case, I have 3 options (3rd is make your own command line build script for mxmlc).

I can either integrate all my unit testing code & framework libraries into the project itself, or setup a new Flex/ActionScript project specifically for just testing the code.  If you’ve ever worked with a large team, you know that the 1st doesn’t work.  All someone has to do is get out of sync and/or break the build, and poof, productivity grinds to a halt.  Broken builds, source control/SubClipse can get out of whack, or strange conflicts can result.  Things happen, no big deal.

The big deal is you can lessen the impact by creating new projects so developers can work on their projects and do integration testing with their new code on their own terms when they are ready to lessen the impact on the team.  It’s a very simple thing to do.

The problem is, this sucks.  Linking to Library projects is magic; it’s why people still keep Flash Builder around when they primarily use FDT.  You just click the “Add Project” button for Library paths, and BOOM, you’re linked.  It automatically recompiles your SWC, and copies the fresh mofo over.  No manual refreshing, no Project Clean n’ Pray… it just works.  THIS is where I’m glad some of my $5oo bucks went.

For projects?  No such love.  I have to manually point the source to the other project’s source.  While in the same Workspace, apparently Eclipse doesn’t think that’s useful and makes me manually navigate there via Finder/Explorer.  Worse, you have to do it AGAIN for your libs folder since it’s a source path link and not a real project reference.

…and it gets worse.  Because it’s a source path to an open project, Eclipse gets confused sometimes.   You’ll run into situations where you can have to “” files open.  Which tab is which?  Why is one “out of sync”?  How come sometimes I compile and run and the code hasn’t changed?

This is even more important for components you’re testing in AIR projects.  Most AIR projects have complicated bootstrapping, so it’s not very straightforward to just test a new AIR application (which creates yet another AIR config xml file).  It’s easier just to create a quick ActionScript/Flex project, and test the components in isolation.  Quicker to solve bugs too.

Please fix linking projects (Library projects work just fine).

6. Design View

What the hell did you do!?  This worked fine in 3.  In 4, sometimes my drops are ignored.  My pixel perfect placements take 3 drags to get right.  Sometimes it just gets locked up, and I have to manually hit the refresh button.  Based on Twitter, there are only 3 other people in the world who use Design View; the rest are crayon pushers who use Catalyst, so maybe that’s why.  Still, if you don’t want us to use it, then make it like the Behaviors Panel in Flash, and REMOVE IT.

7. Proactive Error Checking

mxmlc’s incremental compilation is rad.  I know those coming from PowerBuilder, Java, and other large Enterprise systems which have tools that are pretty smart at only re-compiling what is needed are somewhat critical of mxmlc’s speed.  Whatever, if you worked on projects in Flex Builder 2, and then did projects in Flex Builder 3, it was light years better.  If you did work in Flash IDE, then went to MTASC, then went “back” to Flex Builder 2, then 3… it was UBER-light years better.

That said, the background compilation for errors doesn’t really do much.  IntelliJ really wins here in making use of the full IDE to HELP you, vs. just inform you’re screwed, no compilation for you.  Right now, most messages in Flash Builder’s mxmlc errors are good enough, and clicking on the error to go to the line is great.

However, IntelliJ makes the word/area red, puts red tick marks on the right side to indicate where in the class the error is, and even underlines the tab’s class name itself to imply “this class has an error”.  That’s 3 visual indicators each covering a different spacial area all to be proactive to help you FIND problems.  Even cooler, IntelliJ has some helpful options to import a class you forgot, show a possible mispelling, or allow you to create a class that doesn’t exist yet.

These common problems are old.  IntelliJ has found ways to help you solve these common problems.  I fail to see why at version 4 we’re still ways away from this.  All we get a list of red dots plus reasons away from the code itself and everyone I know ignores all of them except for the 1st.  Context is key, and in-code errors plus helpful solutions would be great.

8. Copy Paste

How come I can’t copy paste from Flash Builder to Flash?  Some programs just seem to ignore the clipboard from Flash Builder.  Others on Twitter have reported the clipboard in Eclipse is reclusive for them as well.

9. Pasting Multiple Files

I have flexunit4.swc, hamcrest.swc, mockolate.swc, greensock.swc.  I copy them from my Finder.  I paste them into my libs folder inside of Flash Builder’s project panel.  Only flexunit4.swc makes it. God dammit.

Please fix this.


If you fix the above, you’ll start to become on par with Flash Develop/Intellij/FDT.  Once you do that, I can justify spending $500 again for an IDE.  Right now, beyond MXML handling, states preview, and consistent Library Project linking, I’m not sure why I paid for in my upgrade from 3 to 4.  Whatever I can do to NOT use Flash Builder 4, I’ll do.  Either you all were rushed, you don’t have enough money behind the project, or y’all have never used another IDE beyond Flex Builder to code ActionScript.

If you didn’t listen to anything I said, then for Flash Builder 5, please:

  1. copy Flash Develop’s code hinting
  2. copy FDT’s code gen
  3. copy IntelliJ’s proactive error handling & auto-importing
  4. copy FDT’s class re-factoring
  5. fix Design View

129 Replies to “Adobe, Please Bring Flash Builder Up To Par”

  1. Sounds good to me, and would be awesome if it had a Sprite based design view for custom components that are otherwise containers designed in Flash.

  2. I’ve used Eclipse for Java dev for several years and find it particularly galling that the high $$ Flash Dev environment falls far short of the free Java Dev environment.

    A few more items from my list:
    1) Compile source even if it is not referenced from the Application
    2) Real-time compilation (as you type)
    3) Add a type hierarchy

  3. Definitely some valid complaints here. With regards to auto-importing, you can just put your cursor after the name of the class, press ctrl+space, and it’ll be imported. That’s more than easy enough for me.

  4. Amen!

    Have them fix Flash Windows vs Mac font handling in the Flash IDE as well while you’re at it!

  5. I 100% agree with you. While I have Flash Builder 4 (a piece of software that costs money), I keep going back to Flash Develop (a free piece of software) because it’s competent and it’s code hinting is great. The bottom line is I’m a more productive programmer using Flash Develop than I am using Flash Builder 4 which is sad. If they fixed the items you stated above, it would make the world of difference.

  6. @Jobe It wasn’t harsh, it was accurate. Perhaps you weren’t around for the FMS screen sharing debacle, or the uber rad Flex 1 pricing/PR fun. The engineers & management I talked to were rad… they’d just complain about “those from above”, thus “those from above” become the target of hatred.

  7. @Robert Negative, Mr. PHD writer. Flash Builder 4 has some wonderful new features, like the import wizard being better with extensions, the AIR publish dialogue remembering settings, and compilation just generally being faster. Seriously, coming from 3 it’s great.

    …but when you step out of the box, and use other IDE’s, you’re floored that they are open source, and wayyy better than FB on multiple fronts. Kinda like when everyone stopped using Flash and instead used MTASC to compile.

  8. You don’t want to see the size of my list of complaints :)

    I try to be a bit more subtle by showing off features of other IDEs since Adobe is sooooo far behind I have no faith that they’ll ever catch up.

    1. Heh, thanks Jesse.

      I wish I had quantifiable numbers I could show to managers about how much time their team wastes by being limited to FlashBuilder. In my (I guess I’m humble now?) opinion, every developer should have a week of training each year to get them up to speed on how the most recent tools can save them time and grief.

      Anyway, I digress. I’m just tired of developers who settle for FlashBuilder 4 because, and I quote, “they don’t have time to learn a new IDE.”

  9. What about working in Linux? That’s one of my biggest complaints. Adobe has built an IDE based off of Eclipse, which works in most OSes. The Flex and Air SDKs, mxmlc, adl, adt, etc. work. But somehow, they make Flash Builder 4 so that it DOESN’T work?

  10. Great post, spot on and having used Intellij and Flex Builder 1/2/3/4 I can say I feel your pain. Having said that I look at things from a more optimistic angle. How much harder would it be to create a Flash/Flex project without Flex Builder? How much time does the MXML and library handling save me? Sure the code hinting is slow and sucky and auto importing would be great but it’s better than nothing. 100% agree it could be better but nothing is perfect and likely nothing ever will be. Simply pick the tool you can be most productive with and then work the heck out of it to recoup the cash you spent to buy it. If Flex Builder saves you even 4 hours of work over the course of a year it’s paid for itself it you are charging normal Flex Dev rates.

    1. True, but I rarely use the Design View any more and IntelliJ & FDT now does MXML as well.

      My main reason for keeping Flash Builder is currently the Profiler and when I install new Adobe software, my Flash Builder is usually downgraded from Pro to Standard, forcing me to go through the mess of putting that in order again.


  11. Another good step would be to take everything that is in SourceMate, build it all into Flash Builder, and send a big check to the guys at ElementRiver for showing you (Adobe) how it’s done.

  12. Agreed, agreed, agreed. Visual Studio for C++ on Windows, 10 years ago, was a more advanced IDE than Flash Builder 4. I’d recommend no one go look at Visual Studio 2010 for C#… it’ll just make you cry (and think about a career change to XNA and/or Silverlight).

    Re: #9, you can drag multiple files, but you can only copy/paste one at a time (to or from the IDE).

    If FlashDevelop was a native Mac app (or even cross-platform like Eclipse), I’d probably be using it. The only reason I haven’t switched to TextMate and the command-line is 1) interactive debugger; 2) project management GUI; and 3) profiler.

    1. There’s a Flex plugin for Visual Studio so no need to switch to Silverlight ;)

      It’s called Amethys Professional.

  13. Mostly agree on this, even if it does come across as some kid who just got proxy-‘rax-reaper-cheesed.

    Matt Rix has the ticket though, ctrl+space solves most of 1-3 for me. 5) drives me crazy.

  14. I don’t like Flash Builder and was blogging for years that it’s a low quality product, but your complaints 1 and 2 are solvable by pressing Ctrl-Space. In the first case it’ll bring up the hints window at the cursor’s position. To auto-add an import statement, just hit Ctrl-Space right after the data type, i.e. right after ArrayCollection in the following line:

    var a: ArrayCollection

    1. I don’t need to press Ctrl+Space to import in FlashDevelop; It knows I need that class and it imports it for me automatically.

      Add a semicolon to the end of a line and it automatically formats the whole line for me.

      If I want to import a class in FlashDevelop, I don’t need to know the whole package. E.g type “import Canv…” and it list all classes with Canv for me where I can pick canvas. In FlashBuilder, you have to know and type the whole package path mx.controls.Canvas.. it sucks.

      FlasbDevelop is blazing fast and light.
      FlashBuilder on windows is very clunky and bloated. It’s like a building with 10 layers of paint and everytime you keep adding more layers. The intellisense is shown using the system chrome with aero and shadow. I think the FB team should learn from dreamweaver guys there, something light, just to show class lists or info for a few seconds and you have to paint the whole system window chrome?

      In my opinion, Adobe should either forget FB or build it from scratch as a proper IDE, not some Eclipse extension.

  15. You forgot to mention the absolute lack of refactoring tools in FlashBuilder. Rename/Move do not justify having a Refactor menu. It’s pretty sad that I have to pay SourceMate to provide the tools that should be in FlashBuilder already. And I know Eclipse can do it because I’ve done some Java in Eclipse and the Java refactor tools pretty fuckin awesome out of the box.

    1. Agreed. Love to see more refactoring and code generation tools out of the box. Also would love to see some of the work put into Flex Formatter, by Ernest Pasour, cleaned up and worked into FlashBuilder. Adobe should set up a bounty: “Build us the best shit (eg flash builder plugins) and we will buy them from you. Have a trophy.”, the community would go nuts. Ahh well… in an ideal world.

  16. All the people saying ‘ctrl+space solves the problem’…the point is that other IDE’s solve the problem without requiring you to type ‘ctrl+space’ all the time. Not requiring you to hit the hotkey all the time is almost a big of a speedup as having the hinting in the first place.

    1. Also, has anyone else had the problem of control-space failing to work on the first attempt? This happens to me several times a day, on different FB4 installations. As I start pounding the spacebar, my cubemates look in my direction, annoyed…

  17. Here’s a genius idea…

    Adobe could probably buy FlashDevelop, FDT and IntelliJ’s codebases for a fraction of the 1.8 billion spent on Omniture.

    Nuff said.

    Priorities in San Jose are a little out of whack sometimes.

  18. I tried both FB4 & FDT3 as trials, opting for FDT3 (now FDT4Beta) and I seriously doubt that Adobe will ever ❝step-up to-the-mark❞ with any of its Flash development tools, after-all we have all bitched about the flakiness of the Flash IDE and look how crap it is still.

    I love Flash and have probably opened up some form of Flash dev tool everyday for more than 10years now, but from my point of view, Adobe doesn’t and won’t listen.

    For example, if Apple didn’t stand up to Adobe re: the Flash Player, I truly believe Adobe would not have invested time in trying to make it more efficient and robust (and in comparison to the SilverLight plugin on my Mac it still has a long way to go).

    I am just glad that there are good alternatives available.
    Just to note you missed tonnes of FDT features out (have a look at the list:

  19. If you aren’t on the FDT train yet … you should get on board. For sure if you are on the Mac and can’t use Flash Develop. They do it right and that company prides it’s self on having the best Flash IDE for development.

    Once you use it and then you go back and try to use Flash Builder you will totally understand why it’s a way better product.

    That being said ….. writing good code is in the hands of the coder. I think we all agree that an IDE’s job is to allow you to do your job faster, better and without as many human error’s. If your IDE is more in your way than it is a help then you should try a few others till one fits.

    1. Strange, we tried FDT in our company and we thought it was in pretty bad shape. It was 10x more slower then Flash Builder and the ‘live’ error checking made the whole thing laggy. Also you have to buy the enterprise edition to get the debugger (the enterprise edition is more expensive then Flash Builder Premium).

      Why do you think FDT is a better product?

      1. I agree with you on some points. The first time I tried FDT the only thing that made it appealing was the live error checking and some of the code templets that it had where great time savers.

        The newest version FDT 4 have a tone of improvements. One of the biggest that you will notice is the compilation time of the swf files. It is hands down the fastest of any IDE that I use.

        They have also made the error checking much faster and there are many other small features that I use all the time such as Quick Fix and templets.

        True, enterprise is a bit more expensive but well worth the price in my book.

        I would encurage anyone that tried FDT a year or more ago should check out the latest and give it a try again. It’s way better than it used to be.

        One final selling point for me …. the developers of the product built it because they use it on a daily bases for real world development, so you have developers that are constantly trying to make there work flow better. I am sure that will give the a slight edge in know what other real developers want and need in a product like this.

      2. @Remco I won’t comment on why FDT is a better product, I work for Powerflasher and my feedback would be obviously biased, I will leave to the community to judge. However I am not sure why you say FDT is more expensive than FB Premium? Maybe I am missing something, if you can point to me, I will fix it ASAP. Thank you.

        1. Forget my comment about the fact that FDT is more expensive then Flash Builder. I compared the prices again and the difference is very small (too small to care about).

          Also my bad experience was with FDT 3.5 which i had to use during one project. So maybe its time for me to try again with FDT 4.

  20. True words… :( Sad that you have to write about that crapy theme, instead of sharing nice works or tuts.

    Adobe “Yes we can change” ;)

  21. I’ve used all the Actionscript IDE’s in a fair amount and I wouldn’t touch the Adobe IDE’s if i can avoid it (which I can)

    I’m on OSX now for work so limited to IntelliJ or FDT which is absolutely leaps and bounds ahead of Flash Builder for developing, apart from Design view, I’m not sure why you’d use Flash Builder anymore, I think it’s actually fair to say your doing yourself a great misjustice by using a Adobe IDE to develop in a Adobe platform (not sure how that works?)

    Maybe the budget isn’t there, or maybe Adobe doesn’t even want to compete with the dedicated companies making AS editors, but the question is, why would you want to pay for it if that’s either the case

    – Simon

  22. I think Eclipse sucks, and by association, Flash Builder does too. (Eclipse is also the Achilles heel of Android development, IMO) It’s a slow beast of an app to run. Flash Develop is a far superior text editor and IDE. I used to hate coding Actionscript until I discovered Flash Develop. It’s a shame it’s Windows only.

    I haven’t tried FDT yet.

  23. Love the passion Jesse – great stuff!

    I’m using FDT for nearly all of my code now, and only really using the dataservice introspection that FlashBuilder offers. And the better MXML support – though with the release build of FDT 4 around the corner I think I might be switching to that for MXML too. The main winner for me with FDT is the QuickFixes – call me lazy, but that shit, well, it’s the shit. It seriously saves me hours.

  24. As a few folks have already mentioned, please check out SourceMate.

    SourceMate adds a tremendous amount of features to Flash Builder. It doesn’t solve every concern on this list but our users tell us they’d never go back to just plain Flash Builder again.

    1. i also found that SourceMate (i tried a beta version) caused my FlashBuilder to start running slooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

      fdt FTW.

      1. The slowness you mention was an issue during one of the early beta builds. Try SourceMate again, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

        Of course, it goes without saying that betas are betas. They’re unfinished products and users should expect to hit a snag or two.

  25. I agree, and have published my own personal list of things that could be improved. The main thing is code completion. I want FlashDevelop’s code completion in Flash Builder. It saves me hours, literally, hours of time over the course of a week. Also, like you I don’t want Flex SDK in pure AS3 projects at all. Solid recommendations here, Jesse.

  26. I’ve been doing a bit of refactoring lately, and Automatic Class Importing would’ve helped streamline the process. My only other real gripe is the inability to change the getter/setter template that Flash Builder uses. Resorting to Eclipse Monkey for this sort of functionality is ok, but it would be nice if it was integrated directly into the software.

  27. At the end of the day Flash builder needs to be one step ahead of Flash Develop, atleast. Flash develop being free and so light weight proves that things can be achieved perfectly and among all people Adobe should be able to pull it off more perfectly.
    All these are valid points. Lets see if things change.

  28. It’s kind of funny to read all these comments about IDEs and still use jEdit for most of my Flash/Flex programming. I know I should probably switch, but I’ve almost gotten to the point where I have the Adobe Help AIR app open maybe an hour at most every day. FCSH is speedy, and I have the compiler errors hooked into jEdit so they show up in specific files.

    Maybe my projects aren’t large enough, but most IDEs just don’t end up helping me out while mostly staying out of my way. Xcode is getting better and better about this, and I hear that Visual Studio is better than anything else out there, but Flash Builder is just terrible about it. At this point the only thing I use it for is memory analysis, which is quite well done.

    Maybe I’ll have some time to spend getting up to speed on some of these IDEs when the next project starts up at work. I’d certainly like to be faster.

  29. Been zwing IDEA since version 8.1 now for Flex development… Why IDEA Rules them all…
    1. Coding is mostly a pleasure… If not: create a ticket for the problem. You’ll get feedback in no time and if it is a serious bug, they provide a fix through their EAP/ bugfix releases… What a concept!
    2. VCSs support. How man subclipse/ Adapters are out there for eclipse? For IDEA, you just activate a VCS plugin and it simply works. If not create a ticket…
    3. Anyone in here using Maven? Guess what… Yes, it works nicely!
    4. Flash Builder has lot’s of Strange features. MDD with Flash Builder? Why not using UML or XMI? Why spending time for this feature all… Pay the programmierst build a coding tool. Not a pseudo modelling tool for people who are mostly customizing their code to please their customers.

    Thanks for taking the time…

  30. Completly agree. We’re all Flex guys that loves the technology but the tools are not what we wish. Is simple like that. Efforts are going to points that could be needed…if basic things works ok.

    – compiler should be completly redone to match what we see in JDT. Is impossible get it better it continues to be patched. throw it down and build new one from scratch with other techniques.

    – Editor, refactor, code hintting…all the base of a good IDE should be as well redone to get something stable and perfomant

    – Design View…why still is ths piece stoping Flash builder evolution due to the tech base used?. Throw it away and build from scratch.

    Hope Adobe listen and make Flex shine as it deserves.

  31. I’m behind you on this one Jesse.

    I’m curious as to why I need to clean my projects every 5 mins to get the latest saved class files to be included in my build?! Shouldn’t that just work?

    Don’t get me started on #4; where’s the option to create an AS3 AIR project?!

    And we definitely need FDTs code gen & templates.


  32. I’ve used FDT, Flex Builder 3, Flash Builder 4 (with SourceMate plugin) – all for decent amounts of time.
    Right now I think for writing/refactoring code FDT is MILES ahead of any of the other options I’ve used. Organize imports (ctrl+shift+o) gets rid of unused imports and brings in ones you haven’t declared. and the quick-fix (ctrl+1) is an AMAZING feature. I wish adobe would buy FDT and use it for their editor; bundle it up w/ the profiler & data inspection tools and ship that as Flash Builder 5. That would win.

  33. Great post Jesse! This really echoes my thoughts on Flash Builder and it’s one of the reasons I’ve switched to IntelliJ.

    Re: “This should be top priority; I understand if you’re waiting on Eclipse to add this.”

    I don’t understand if they’re waiting for Eclipse for this? Given that Eclipse is an Open Source project, why can’t Adobe just fix it and submit it to Eclipse? One thing is using Open Source projects for commercial software. Another one is contributing back. I’m sure Adobe does this already, but the code hits are as you say priority #1.

    On my Mac the code hints will randomly just stop working and I’ll sit there thinking how long it would take to move the project to IntelliJ versus restarting Flash Builder to get them back…


  34. The pain in the ass is all tools, excluded (Intellij and FlashDevelop) are using Eclipse! Anyway…

    Finally improve Flash Catalyst and make a better bridge between FDT :P and Catalyst and every thing is fine! I don’t want to see the GUI as Developer i need only my code! But Flash Catalyst is nice for my designer, he can positioning every component create little roll over effekts and some nice transition between states and i don’t have the trouble with the positions and styles…

    My currently workflow is =>
    – Designer create a fxpl and give it to me
    – I import it to FDT and use the components

    Finally, what I want is: Flash Catalyst basically IS Eclipse – so why doesn’t it manage different projects instead of working like FDT / FB? So my designer and I can use the same project whereas he works on the views and I can keep developing. I think here’s an improvement necessary – it’s just too unprogressive, even with it’s nice features it cannot compete with other tools

    I hope every body has understand me where is my opinion and sry for my bad german english ;)…

  35. They really just need a magic keyshortcut like FlashDevelop’s Ctrl+Shift+1. Especially how it will declare functions or variables and promote variables.

  36. I’ll say it – Flash Builder is fine. It is not a very advanced IDE but doing a Flex development, there are at least 2 things that are much more annoying:

    1) Compiler speed
    2) Flex 4 immaturity

    Maybe I need to spend half a second now and then doing an unnecessary Ctrl+Space, maybe I need to pay $80 more to get Extract Method refactoring and other goodies (SourceMate) but that’s not a big issue for me. The SDK is, the lack of high quality 3rd party components is and I could go on.

    Flash Builder is fine.

  37. This post hits the nail on the head, yet I still fire up FlashBuilder every day…
    It’d be great to wake up one morning and each AS error wouldn’t be flagged multiple times. One error, 3 messages. Fix it and they all go away. Huh?

    I had to chuckle a few times when reading your post – or any of your posts. Very entertaining writing style :-)

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