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GUI Graphics Programming

Flash Builder 4 — Defective By Design? 66

ApolloX writes "Adobe has released its new version of the Flex Builder, now renamed Flash Builder 4. This version is radically different from previous versions of Flex, introducing the new Spark architecture and theme support. While I am pleased Adobe has finally added support for Eclipse 3.5, I am disappointed with some of the new architecture changes that make doing simple things, such as skinning a button, now quite cumbersome."
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Flash Builder 4 — Defective By Design?

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  • by josath ( 460165 ) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:36PM (#31711212) Homepage

    The main "issue" I have with flash, is that it closed source (unless i'm completely off base) and closed API (again unless i'm completely off base)

    Yeah you're kinda off base here.

    The full Flash runtime which executes the movies is closed source.

    The spec for the SWF file format is open.

    The source for the portion of the runtime dealing with interpreting / executing scripts (the ActionScript VM) is open source.

    The flash compiler is open source.

    The framework which provides lots of UI components is open source.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'closed API', but the documentation on all the APIs provided by the flash player is completely open, you can browse the full thing on their site, it's pretty well documented with lots of explanation and examples.

    1) Why is Flash bad for touchscreen users, but HTML or native apps good? They all have to face the same problems in the same way. Touchscreen inputs appear as mouse clicks by default, works well enough for most things. Flash does have an extended API you can use that will provide additional info such as multitouch support for things that are touchscreen-specific. And yeah, you can detect on the fly if your platform is a touchscreen or not.

    2) 99% of people couldn't care less about 'tracking cookies'. It's really a minority that even know how to clear them or configure their browser to not accept any and all cookies.

    Sorry I haven't provided 'citations' for any of this, too lazy right now, but if you have specific questions about them I can look up the info for you.

  • by josath ( 460165 ) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:43PM (#31711262) Homepage
    Basically his main complaint is that the new API is not fully backwards compatible with the old API. They came very close, so it's possible to combine the two if you want, but it's not 100%. Generally you will most likely be keeping your old apps in Flex 3, and write new apps in Flex 4. The new skinning feature is an amazing feature. His example of 51 lines of code to replace 5 isn't really fair, his 51 lines of code has a ton of stuff that isn't required, and yet the new skinning features can do a million things that the old simpler one could not. Not sure how this random blog post by an inexperienced developer got approved on Slashdot...oh wait, it's critical of Flash and Adobe, now it makes sense.
  • by Layth ( 1090489 ) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:58PM (#31711368)

    Seasoned actionscript and flex developer here.. I read this article a few days ago, his points are all nonsense.
    #1 Duplicate code base - The libraries only include what files you reference, like c++. If you don't want the other classes, then don't use them! It's that easy
    #2 There is an in-depth article by Joan Lafferty that goes over migrating from flex 3 to gumbo. This guy is bitching about his ignorance towards the process, not the process itself.
    #3 Yeah, there is more code.. But guess what? There is also CODE GENERATION in flash builder 4, specifically for skinning. All those extra lines of code are generated for you, so who cares. It's not like you have to actually write them.

    You want some legitimate complains about flash builder? This guy doesn't really know what he's talking about, and he's not going to give them to you.
    There is one huge complaint that I have, and that is the ridiculous name change from Flex Builder to Flash Builder.

    It would make sense, really, if Flash Builder could build flash files. But it can't. If you try to create a Flash file it tells you that you need to install CS5 to use that feature.
    And CS5 isn't even released yet. WTF? It's not even in open beta, so you can't install it even if you were okay with using a beta product in conjunction with a released product.. and yet there are articles posted on adobes web site talking about how you can edit flash files now with "Flash" Builder.. sadly, not true. And it doesn't work in conjunction with CS4, so even if you have that they're strong-arming people into the upgrade.

  • by jaiyen ( 821972 ) on Friday April 02, 2010 @08:09PM (#31711438)

    "Defective By design" is meant to refer solely to products intentionally crippled by DRM.

    I think it's an effective slogan for that, and its meaning will be trivialized by calling what are intended to be positive changes or features "defective by design". Don't do the *AA's work for them!

  • by quetwo ( 1203948 ) on Friday April 02, 2010 @08:17PM (#31711476) Homepage

    For some odd reason, this guy can't figure out that there is a difference between the IDE and the SDK. The Flash Builder IDE, which was released last week supports both the older 2.x, and 3.x SDKs. Not only does it support it, it has all the code hinting, wizards, and everything else one would expect from an IDE. Targeting a different SDK version is as simple as chainging the properties in your project.

    The newer 4.0 SDK is different, but nobody is forcing you to use it. It is an open-source project (, sponsored by Adobe. It's been cooking for about the last year and a half with hundreds of betas and builds posted on their website. It does change some of the features around regarding CSS, states, etc., but again, there is no impetitus for you to move to it today. If you have an active application in development, you can even mix-and-match some portions of the SDKs (for example, MX and Spark components), although this won't work for everything. There is some migration to go to the latest SDK, but this is not different for any other SDK (PHP4 to 5? .NET 3.0 to 3.5?, etc).

    Basic whining, picked up by /.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead