Small Update on Flex 3 Pricing/Packaging

We are not announcing final packaging or pricing, but I wanted to try to clear some things up that we’ve seen on the forums and mailing lists.

1) The Flex SDK remains free
2) The charting components and Advanced DataGrid will be part of the Flex Data Visualization Package. This package will remain a commercial offering from Adobe, and source will only be available to those who have an appropriate license. You can use your Flex 2 Charting serial number to remove the watermark and view source during the beta. During the beta we are only shipping the datavisualization.swc as part of Flex Builder, but you can copy the SWC from there to other SDK installations.
3) There will be upgrades available to go from Flex Builder 2 to Flex Builder 3. Pricing is not announced but we think you all will be happy with it.

Hope this helps!

25 Responses to Small Update on Flex 3 Pricing/Packaging

  1. Craig says:

    Glenn,As an experienced programmer who also “gets” Flash and has programmed ActionScript in Flash since the Flash 3 and 4 days, I have to say your comments are simply ridiculous.In every case you have more control, can achieve better performance, lighter weight, etc. by developing your application in Flash directly. As with every language in any field of programming you never know how users will use the software built.Flash was accommodating both designers and programmers good or bad. Simply put, if you didn’t want to look at the time line you could have just closed the panel.As for learning programming, well that’s the beauty of being human, we all learn in our own ways and through different processes. For instance, how many IDE’s are out there for coding C++? Which is the best for learning to develop C++….. I’m sure you get my point.Think before you post,CraigBTW, the Flash Player is what it is today thanks to those programmers who originally programmed in ActionScript 1,2, and now 3. Whether they programmed in Flash or not is completely irrelevant.

  2. I purchased Flex Charting 2 in order to use the charting that comes with FB3, but entering the license number does not remove the watermark.Has anybody had the same experience? I tried to contact support to resolve this issue but received nothing but a terrible experience and a couple hours of wasted time for my effort.

  3. HA says:

    To those saying that MXML is too limiting (or something) so you end up having to write your own as classes… uh, can’t you just extend the mxml classes and add/change the functionality you need? I don’t see what the big “black magic” mystery is, it’s all there for you.

  4. Boo says:

    Why isn’t there a “free for non-commercial use” option? That really sucks. If people could freely use Flex at home on their own, they’d want to encourage companies to buy the Builder for enterprise projects. As it is now, it’s just salespeople trying to push a product to people who barely even understand what they’d be buying.

  5. 月饼 says:

    Yea, my only gripe is that FDT blows flex builder away and I wish that adobe would make it more like FDT.

  6. JK says:

    “but you can copy the SWC from there to other SDK installations”. If I copy “datavisualization.swc” from Flex 3 lib to Flex 2 lib folder, will I be able to use Advanced Datagrid component?

  7. Andy says:

    Anyone hire us? We have more than 15 Adobe Flex programmers. Our rate is only 6 USD per hour. Our website is http://www.busycode.comMy email is: cogoing@gmail.comThanks,Andy

  8. Glenn Williams says:

    Hi,Of course there are plenty of programmers using Flash; we use it as have many people we have worked closely with. My point regarding Flash is, that it’s in my opinion, not a good way to be introduced to programming in general. There are many people with a traditional background in code rather than design working in Flash, I just don’t feel that the application was necessarily the best place to learn programming skills. (this statement must be taken in the context with my main point)Flash is a design based product with scripting. AS2 was a large step forward and AS3 has been another (I think it’s now come of age) but it’s always seemed to me that Flash was and is a timeline based animation tool first. The growth and maturity of Actionscript not withstanding, having Flash as a point of contact to the language and the VM has been a block to many people with a traditional programming outlook. My stereotype, quite freely admitted to, are that set of people who, as designers first, found the Flash environment a comfortable workplace. In the same way as many traditional coders find Flash a nightmare so will many Flash core users find Flex an alien product. My point is that Flex is a different product and many people coming only from a Flash programming background may not find it to be for them.I’m not trying to play down your personal experience with Flex and we’ve of course come up against some of the same problems. But, while developing a large intranet app with Flex we have been able to work with the Flash Player in a way we were unable to in the past. It’s the access to the VM that I’m most excited about.I also don’t see the connection between your comment regarding MXML and the design view and the quote from my post regarding freedom from the timeline. This is not meant to be a confrontational statement, I’m not sure I understand the rebuttal.The problems with the framework and MXML needs to be taken in context of trying to code the kind of apps you can with flex to trying to do it without it (if that makes any sense!). Do you for example find the system more limiting and burdensome than using Flash? Again, please don’t take this in a confrontational manner; I’m truly interested to hear your feedback as I’ve always found Flash prohibitively troublesome.Your right that MXML is a core part of Flex, and pure AS3 is not Flex’s intent and yes, lots does need to still be done for this to be the framework it could be. I just feel that the team understand this and the product is a unique and powerful way to leverage the Flash Player VM. As you’ve said rapid prototyping is possible (kind of) but there’s no such thing as rapid application development your right. I just think that looking at Flex when you throw a few components around and get something happening is not really what it’s all about and can give some users a misguided view on what’s going to be needed to create applications with it.To get the best from this or anything else a strict methodology is of course essential and if you need to leverage the Flash VM then the Flex framework at least lets you use best practice in a way we’ve been unable to with Flash. Unless others have not found this to be the case then my point about a certain group of Flash users finding Flex problematic is only strengthened.As for being ‘set free’, LOL ok, I admit a little more should have been said to clarify my excitement there. After 20 years of traditional programming (most of it machine code and C++ etc) a change of personal circumstance lead me to end up working for the past 6ish years with X/HTML JavaScript as well as Actionscript through Flash. This has driven me to distraction. I’ve hated it, but it was paying the bills. (the PHP side I did enjoy). I just suppose that a return to the kind of development I’m more historically used to and enjoy doing has made me maybe overly grateful that Flex is there at all.There are problems, but there is also a quite rapid development of the framework (which I think is about to be increased by orders of magnitude).I hope this clarifies my points a little (clear as mud).As always I’m interested to hear others experiences.glenn

  9. Brett Walker says:

    Glenn, I will try to look past your ridiculous stereotyping of Flash users as “non-programmers” and cut to the meat of your argument. You said, “This application and framework finally lets people with a strong programming backgound break free of the strange timeline based nightmare of Flash, and I for one find it both open and very powerfull.”I must disagree with that statement. Flex was designed with MXML as its core, in order to facilitate rapid prototyping and development of forms-based internet apps. AKA The Java Assassin. Flex’s Design View was obviously pretty integral in the minds of the Flex architects when they built it. But attempts to marry traditional AS3 classes with the Flex framework leads to mixed results because having developers write Flex apps with just AS3 wasn’t their focus.I’m first in line of those who’d love to see AS3-focused Flex projects become first-class citizens within the Flex dominion, but I think that would require a lot of structural changes to the framework itself.So I’m not quite clear on how your “strong programming background” is set free by Flex. I find MXML to be too burdensome, limiting, and against the MVC philosphy to be used for anything other than prototyping. That leaves AS3 classes, and it can be a painful experience when trying to play nice with the Flex framework.

  10. Bob says:

    Yea, my only gripe is that FDT blows flex builder away and I wish that adobe would make it more like FDT.Templates, refactoring — super pro environment

  11. Glenn Williams says:

    I think some people are missing the point here, and it seems that it’s mainly people with a strong Flash background rather than a standard programmng background.To say Flex is only suitable for “simple form based applications that do not have a dynamic structure” is so wide of the mark. This application and framework finally lets people with a strong programming backgound break free of the strange timeline based nightmare of Flash, and I for one find it both open and very powerfull.It may be that the learning curve for people coming from a Flash and design lead backgrounds will be too high, but that’s not a problem with the framework or the editor. Becomming a programer is not something that comes easily, and unfortunatly if you came to programing via Flash you’ll not have had the best grounding. In fact you’ll have learnt some very odd habits along the way and learnt to expect a lot to have been done for you.Maybe Flex is just not aimed at some of the users who’ve come to it, I can see why it must seem empty after using Flash. But, for me this is the whole point. All we need from the product is a gateway into the flash player internals and Flex provides that.For a long time the Flash player has been a closed book for me, because of only having a design based package to access it. Trying to program in any real way inside Flash is a total nightmare, and for me kind of a none starter.Back in the day we used to have to write applications with what amounted to a simple text editor with no design view or any of the other bells and whistles Flex Builder already has. So, as someone comming from a machine code, then C and C++ etc.. background this is just what I’ve been waiting for. Being able to follow a much more traditional programming pattern and have access to Flash Player is what I’ve wanted for so long.I for one hope Flex Builder never turns into a design lead application (after all you already have Flash for that) and continues to be basically a programmers text editor (ok, word wrap would be nice). As for the framework, all it needs to be is a gateway into the power of Flash player, the rest we can do ourselfs.Getting the most from the Flex framework is not going to be simple, writting large scale applications never will be. But I promise you it is totaly possible with whats in the builder and the framework already.I for one think it’s fab.cheersglenn

  12. Bob says:

    Yea, I think the main thing with flex right now is the following:1. Take FDT and implement all the things FDT has in it. This will make the flex builder totally worth it for anyone.2. Able to compile specific parts of the flex framework, dont have to embed everything to use it.3. Better integration with flash

  13. Alan says:

    Personally after the last year of working with Flex I have come to hate it with a passion… which is sort of curious since I love Flash. I am sure this is going to incite a lot of flames but hey… it is my opinion.The things that made me hate Flex:1. It is supposed to be aimed more at “professional” coders however the Flex framework is very limited. If you make a cookie-cutter app it works great, do anything else and it is a pain.2. The components are poorly designed, buggy and poorly coded. For instance, the dataGrid, you have to know much more about the inner workings of the component than you should if you plan to use it for more than the simplest of uses. A component should be a black box, it should be encapsulated so the developer does not have to know about the inner workings and what objects it extends in order to use it.3. MXML is HUGE! The size of a Flex swf grows in size at an amazing rate. In the end the only advice Adobe could offer was to use AS3 instead! (this is not such a great option either; see 4)4. If you do your project in AS3 many things don’t work they way they are supposed to. Apparently there is black magic going on in MXML that is not explained to the rest of us… although if you ask Adobe they act as though you should already know!5. The compiler is still not mature and is sooooooooooooo slow.Flex is great for simple form based applications that do not have a dynamic structure. It looks great, is simple to develop and you can get something out there in no time at all… but if you attempt to use it for an application that does not fit this very narrow use you can endanger your deadline as the complexity increases by orders of magnitude. It is just not a mature enough for enterprise development.I could go on but there is no point. Flex will be great most likely a few releases down the road. There is a tendency to listen to their user base and there are some very sharp people at Adobe (mainly the ones who came from Macromedia)so I am positive that it will be worth considering Flex again some time in the future.Ok, I have had my rant… line up drones to begin the flaming but if you have done any serious development with Flex you will know that my points are valid.

  14. Todd Clare says:

    Since we’re all developing these awesome “platform independent” applications, it seems silly to me that you still, as far as I know, cannot buy a license of Flex Builder that can be transferred from a PC to a Mac and back again. We work with a mixed bag of OSs and it would be nice to just have a pool of licenses to pull from as we need them, rather than owning 4PC licenses and 3Mac licenses.

  15. Dave White says:

    There might be some kind of research work done by the Flex team in terms of feedback mechanism.If they have not included that in their beta release then they should get a bit serious about it.

  16. Brett Walker says:

    hi Peter,2) Indeed, I am well aware of the Express version of Data Services. It is fine for dev work, but the “one physical CPU” requirement is too limiting for “web startup” applications.3) That sounds like a good idea, but I couldn’t find any info on increasing Java VM size under OS X. However, the fact that I would even *have* to tweak under the hood just to get a baseline level of performance is a user experience problem, and speaks to some inadequacies in the Eclipse platform.To answer the other poster’s question, my background is about 10 years of Flash work (and before that, Director). I find Flex to be somewhat hostile towards Flash developers, and really, Eclipse does not feature usability in its strong suit. Flex doesn’t *feel* like an Adobe app, and that’s probably not a good thing for Flash “switchers”, or from a brand experience POV.Flex Team — Sorry for airing my gripes publicly, but the FB3 beta didn’t offer any feedback mechanism, aside from the bugbase.

  17. Peter Flynn says:

    Brett –2) Do you know about LiceCycle Data Services Express? This is a *free* license for LCDS (formerly FDS), perfectly suited for those “non-enterprise projects and web startups” you’re talking about.3) We’re working hard to improve performance, but your experience sounds atypical. It may help to allocate more memory to the JVM, since Java is probably not making the most of that 2.5 GB.4) I assume you’re talking about the Outline view? If you have specific changes in mind, feel free to file an enhancement request at http://bugs.adobe.com/flexAlso, if you don’t use Quick Outline (Ctrl+O), give it a whirl — you may find it more convenient.Thanks for the feedback.

  18. Bob says:

    Brett, it sounds like flex isnt for you unfortunately. I dont know what background you come from but your expectations for a RIA development tool have I guess have been way lowered.Have you ever tried developing silverlight, or Javascript in a “professional” environment. Come on.If you came from a flash background, flex is light years beyond what was previously used. IF you expected it to be like a full on java environment with everything java has to offer then I guess your mistaken. The workflow of flex is totally different than a java workflow. Flex has never been done before in a totally professional atmosphere. Nothing integrates web services, video, audio, animation, camera, data binding under one roof.So, just chill.

  19. Alex Munten says:

    I (mostly) agree with Brett that FB2 is both unpolished and expensive.Because my company paid for FB2 (w/ charts), I didn’t have to carry the burden of the price. However, while using FB2 I couldn’t stop thinking over&over that I would never pay for something like that out of my own pockets.It’s slow and buggy (I reported a couple of bugs and half of them “could not be reproduced”) and it doesn’t even have basic editor features like “view white space”, “view EOL”, “line wrapping”, etc, etc. I know that many of the missing things are because of building on top of Eclipse (which doesn’t have them in the first place) – but I also know that they are embarrassing for a commercial, expensive IDE – and that by putting a bit more effort into adding these small features, the end result would have been much more polished.Not to mention that the “Design View” feels like a bad joke – once you start using custom components, basically it stops working properly. I hoped that it would be attractive enough for our designers to start using it – but of course it didn’t happen – so Illustrator is still their favorite tool.Supposedly the IDE is much improved in FB3, but the upgrade price from FB2 should be quite attractive in order to ask my boss for money for the upgrade.

  20. Brett Walker says:

    lowdown — As I mentioned in my comment, I already know that syntax coloring is *possible*, but it should be part of the tool. Not an undocumented hackery of Eclipse XML files.I love how both of the previous posts justify the $500 for Flex Builder because they can afford it. Because hey, everything in software development is expensive! That may be, and R&D does need to be recouped (although using Eclipse as a base was kind of cheating), but there is still a value proposition. Is Flex Builder a professional tool? Or is it a cobbled together product based off of an open source solution? Given the lack of some basic code editor features, I would err on the side of the latter. The problem is, from what I’ve seen of FB3 so far, they would rather implement “WOW” ideas than mature the core functionality as an IDE.Still, as far as developing Flex projects go, it’s the best tool for that. I ponied up the $500, not because I think Adobe deserved $500, but because it was the best solution available at the time. Hopefully with the open sourcing of the framework, we will start to see some competition in that area.

  21. Bob says:

    $500 for flex is worth it. For professional programmers this should not be a problem. It’s not a SERVER package. It’s UI development.

  22. lowdown says:

    >>Syntax coloring/font customization. Come on guys. This is a professional product, not shareware. I gave you a pass with FB 2, but I expected to see it in FB 3. It’s still not there.I didn’t read past your first point since a simple google search would show you how to perform this in under 2 minutes. I agree that it should be easier to access, but it is there.In terms of pricing, you have a huge number of options. Use notepad if price is an object for you. It’s right there and waiting. Of course, you won’t get any syntax highlighting options there either, but then you could spare the rest of us.I’m sure Adobe appreciates your concern, and understands your inability to leverage a $500 into a profitable solution – despite the rest of us that seem to be able to do so. You should poke around. That is about the going rate for setting up a wordpress blog for a small business these days.

  23. Brett Walker says:

    Considering I just bought FB2 a couple months ago, and considering that its $500 pricetag was asking too much for such an immature IDE, and considering what I feel is a lackluster FB3 (feels more like FB 2.5 to me), the only upgrade path that will make me “happy with it” would be something under $100.Here’s some things you need to address before releasing FB3 (in order of importance):1) Syntax coloring/font customization. Come on guys. This is a professional product, not shareware. I gave you a pass with FB 2, but I expected to see it in FB 3. It’s still not there. Make it happen. I don’t like your default color scheme — it hurts my eyes — and I don’t want to edit files deep in the abyss of Eclipse to do it.2) Flex Data Services (I refuse to call it “LiveCycle”..that’s a worse name than “Silverlight”). It’s one of the most powerful features of Flex, but it is out of reach of most non-enterprise projects and web startups. You guys said you were going to work to get some ISP partners to subsidize the cost, similar to what you’ve done with Flash Media Server. But it’s been quite a few months, and still no solution. Don’t let this become another Flash Generator. It’s too important.3) Improve the performance of typing. Really. The code hinting adds a big performance hit, and affects my ability to type code fast. A lot of times it will literally not show any typing for a couple seconds. This is on a Dual 2.0 PowerMac G5 with 2.5 gigs RAM.4) Improve the class quick-reference panel. I know you updated it for FB3, but I can’t really tell. It still looks like a jumble of variables and methods. At least separating them visually, either through colors, or graphical separators, would help some. It would also be nice of the current method being edited was highlighted. Sometimes it does, but it’s not consistent. It would be nice to have a quick pulldown jump menu of all the methods in the current class (like in XCode).5) The new profiler is cool, but the most interesting part — breaking down memory and CPU usage by each method — is difficult to get to. It would be really great to get a graph of this data, to easily pick out the CPU/mem hogs, but I understand if that’s too big for this release.I hope you’ll take these things as constructive criticism. I’ve never been an Adobe or Macromedia sycophant, but I only tell it like it is because I want to see you guys build the best product you can, so that I can build the best product I can. Flex is a good product; it just needs to get cranked to 11.

  24. Cameron says:

    As adobe announced when the new pricing will be released?

  25. AK says:

    Awesome news and thanks.Can you give us an update on hebrew and foreign localization? Although I’m not hebrew myself, I have to present solutions at my work that work in the 15 major languages — flash player has 14 of those 15 nailed. I just need to get some time estimate.