InfoWorld rated Flash Builder 4 as a must-have tool for data-driven RIA development

This morning, James Borck posted his review of Flash Builder 4 on InfoWorld. Overall, it is a great summary of the key features in this shipping version. Here are some highlights from Jame’s review:

  • A big step forward to bring designers and developers closer to bridging the production gap between data presentation and interface programmability of rich Internet applications.
  • Excellent client-side data management and paging features that bring efficiency to large data set handling. Further, the new speedy two-way data binding dramatically simplified database updates without extra coding — a nice touch for a common task.
  • Easing the life of developers with the wizard-driven code generation on everything from services to event handling. This goes a long way toward helping devs avoid errors and improve code quality.
  • Regardless of which server-side technology you’re using for data, Flash Builder has you covered, supporting ASP.Net, J2EE, HTTP/REST and SOAP Web services, PHP, BlazeDS, ColdFusion, and LiveCycle Data Services for streaming data.
  • Builder made it a cinch to introspect my data sources (whether WSDL or class files) and wire up UI components to the resulting data sets. Simple drag/drop of methods onto data grids, lists, and the like were all that was required to light up my UI component.
  • The onboard debug tools within Builder are quite helpful. They offer all the anticipated trace elements, as well as conditional breakpoints and complex expression evaluation for faster isolation of trouble points. They’re so good, in fact, that I’d love to see Builder better tied to Flash Pro down the road, as it provides a much better interface for ActionScript coding.
  • Other improvements to the Flex 4 Spark architecture offer more flexible runtime layout opportunities, new transition animations, and the 3-D capabilities supported by the Flash Player 10
  • There are new additions for Adobe-centric design shops as well, such as easy integration and editing of Flash Pro content directly from Builder. Although this seemingly lends to a reblending of developer/designer stratification, it could be a helpful shortcut in small shops.

The bottom line: James rated Flash Builder 4 is a must-have tool for anyone developing data-driven applications on Flex. The IDE will demonstrably shorten the development cycle by exposing data, streamlining workflow, and simplifying change management so that your Flex apps will remain nimble.

To read the entire review, visit InfoWorld’s website. If you haven’t yet, you can download a 60-day free trial version of Flash Builder 4 and the Flex In A week free training video at Adobe Developer Center. We’d love to hear your thoughts about this release.

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