Flex and Flash Builder 4.6 and pre-release

Today we are pleased to announce Flex SDK and Flash Builder 4.6, the next major step in cross-platform mobile application development.

Only six months ago we launched Flex SDK and Flash Builder 4.5, which included an optimized set of components and workflows to create mobile applications. In the time since then, the market has continued to evolve, especially with the explosion of tablet devices – Flex SDK and Flash Builder 4.6, a free update to existing customers due for release later this year, is focused on enabling developers to create expressive mobile and tablet applications across Apple iOS, Google Android and BlackBerry Tablet OS.

Flex 4.6 has several new highly requested components typically used in tablet applications.  It also contains several framework performance improvements which can be realized by simply repackaging your existing application.  Flash Builder 4.6 offers support for Native Extensions and Captive Runtimes – these new features allow you extend your application’s functionality and smooth the install process.

If you would like to know more about Flex 4.6 head over to the Adobe Developer Connection site and read the full article.  Also, be sure to join our pre-release to get early access to Flex 4.6.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Flex: where we are headed

It has been about three months since we shipped Flex 4.5 SDK and a corresponding update to Flash Builder, in which we delivered exciting new capabilities to build and deploy applications for Google Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS platforms. The feedback on the release has been fantastic – with customers blown away that they can leverage one tool, one framework and one codebase to deliver apps across leading mobile platforms, not to mention web and desktop as well.

Since then the product team has been heads-down working on our future plans for Flex SDK and Flash Builder, and although we’re not quite ready to share all the details, we wanted to provide you with some insight into what we’re focusing on, and where we expect to make investments going forward.

Investing in Flex, Flash Builder, Flash Player and AIR

Adobe is continuing to make significant investments in Flex, Flash Builder, Flash Player and AIR – we have hundreds of engineers who are actively working on exciting new tooling, framework and runtime features and enhancements to be included in upcoming releases.

Our teams are currently working on a free update to Flex SDK and Flash Builder for release later this year that will further demonstrate our commitment to delivering a complete solution for building and deploying mobile applications to multiple platforms.

Beyond this update we’re already working to deliver our next major releases.

Recognizing the role of Flex has changed

Since its inception, Flex has been highly leveraged as a leading solution for building “rich Internet applications”– potentially applicable wherever a rich, expressive and engaging user experience delivered via the browser was required. We’ve seen product configurators, e-commerce sites, games, e-learning experiences, banking services, business dashboards, photo editors, audio/video channels, productivity tools, line-of-business applications and more, all built with Flex.

We’re at a point now where it is incumbent upon us to focus on where Flex provides unique value in the marketplace.

There are countless examples where, in the past, Flex was (rightly) selected as the only way to deliver a great user experience. Today, many of those could be built using HTML5-related technologies and delivered via the browser, and at Adobe, we will provide tooling to help designers and developers create those experiences – Edge and Muse are two such examples.

That doesn’t mean, however, that HTML5 is the right choice for all use cases – the performance, framework maturity and robust tooling provided by Adobe are cited as critical factors by enterprise customers as to why they continue to select Flex.

We firmly believe that Flex is already the best technology for building complex, high-fidelity enterprise applications such as business dashboards, line of business tools, real-time trading applications and desktop replacement applications, and see leading companies in healthcare, financial services, communications and other industries standardizing on it. We will continue to heavily invest in strengthening Flex for enterprise use, ensuring that you can deliver expressive, robust applications. As we share more details about our upcoming releases, you’ll see our commitment to tackle areas such as Spark component completion, accessibility, build system integration, performance analysis tooling and integration of a next-generation compiler, making Flex the #1 choice for building enterprise-grade RIAs.

Mobile – the next big thing for Flex

But we’re not just investing in the enterprise. The explosion of mobile devices has opened new doors for end users, enterprise organizations and developers, while at the same time introducing a new set of development challenges. As you’ve already seen with Flex 4.5, we are making big strides in providing developers with a single framework for building and deploying mobile applications to a range of different devices and platforms.

We’re continuing to focus on runtime performance, native extensions, new components, declarative skinning, adding more platforms and improving tooling workflows, such that in our next major release timeframe we expect that the need to build a fully-native application will be reserved for a small number of use cases.

The growth of the mobile market and the challenge of building out applications that work on a range of different form-factors and platforms present us with a huge opportunity to expose Flex to an entirely new audience of developers, while continuing to be relevant for existing Flex developers who are extending their applications to mobile.

The perception of “Flash”

All of this is no good of course if there are misperceptions or lack of awareness about what Flex (and more broadly Adobe) offers for enterprise and mobile application development. With all the FUD about Flash that has been in the marketplace over the past many months, we are highly focused on demonstrating just what Flex is capable of, both in the enterprise and for mobile app development.

On the enterprise side, we’re continuing to build meaningful relationships with large organizations as we introduce them to Adobe’s Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions. Flex is a core part of our CEM technology offering and the dialog we’re having with customers allows us to intelligently position Flex, Flash Builder and our runtimes as a way for them to deliver exceptional customer interaction through rich Internet applications and easy-to-use interfaces on web, desktops, tablets and mobiles (including Apple iOS devices).

For mobile, while we’re relatively new to the market we’ve already seen a great response to our offering – trial downloads of Flash Builder are higher than they’ve ever been before and we’ve already seen hundreds of mobile apps built and deployed to app stores, including several applications that top their category in the Apple App Store. As we roll out additional mobile development capabilities later this year, you can look forward to seeing stronger mobile-focused developer marketing from Adobe, including a series of case studies that highlight the success customers are having with Flex.

We’re excited to be working on the next generation of Flex and look forward to getting continued feedback and input from both new and experienced Flex developers. Be sure to register for Adobe MAX, October 1-4 in Los Angeles, to learn more about our Flex roadmap.

Andrew Shorten,
Group Product Manager, Developer Tools, Adobe

Updated guidance on Flash Builder 4.5 compatibility with Mac OS X 10.7

Following the release of Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) last week, Adobe issued guidance recommending that Flash Builder customers should not upgrade to the latest version of the operating system due to compatibility issues.

This guidance was based upon testing with earlier pre-release builds of Lion made available to Adobe and other software vendors. Now that we have had an opportunity to undertake further testing with the final release of Mac OS X 10.7, we are pleased to report that there are only minor usability issues when using Flash Builder 4.5.1 on Mac OS X 10.7 and, as such, we will be updating our previous statement to confirm compatibility of these releases.

Known Issues

There is one issue that affects new installations of Flash Builder 4.5.1 on Mac OS X 10.7 – before running the Flash Builder installer, you should install Java for Mac OS X.  Failure to do this will result in Flash Builder 4.5, rather than 4.5.1 being installed on the system.

There is also one usability issue that will affect all users of Flash Builder on Mac OS X 10.7 – right-clicking in the package explorer may stop working after prolonged use of Flash Builder. To resolve the issue Flash Builder must be restarted.

Finally, the Flash Builder installer includes a version of Flash Player that is not recommended for use with Mac OS X 10.7. Rather than installing the default version, you should download and install the latest debugger version from Adobe.com.

Please note that Flash Builder 4 remains incompatible with Mac OS X 10.7. Upgrades from Flash Builder 4.0 to Flash Builder 4.5.1 are available for $49.

Flex SDK and Flash Builder updates available – adds iOS and BlackBerry PlayBook support

The Flex SDK and Flash Builder teams are extremely excited to advise that the previously-announced June updates are now available for download – that means you can now build and package Flex mobile applications for Google Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS devices!

Flash Builder 4.5.1 includes Flex 4.5.1 SDK, AIR 2.6 SDK and the updated iOS Packager that provides for great performance of Flex and ActionScript applications on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

Flash Builder 4.5.1 also includes RIM’s plug-in for packaging applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook (requires BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK). Note that an over-the-air update to PlayBook devices is required before Flex 4.5.1 applications will run on the device.

If you already have Flash Builder 4.5 installed then an updater is available from Adobe.com or through Adobe Application Manager (AAM). New trial downloads of Flash Builder are version 4.5.1, so don’t need to be updated after installation.

If you haven’t yet seen how Flash Builder 4.5 enables you to build mobile applications then check out Serge Jesper’s video on Adobe TV. Also, check out the Adobe Developer Center for articles, sample applications and more…

We look forward to seeing your apps in the Android Market, Apple App Store and BlackBerry App World!

 

 

Flex 4.5 SDK, Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 Now Available!

We are absolutely thrilled to share with you that Flex 4.5 SDK , Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 have officially shipped and are available for download! We are very proud to share these major updates to the Flex product family with you. With these releases, we are giving developers and designers the premiere set of tooling workflows to rapidly design, develop and deploy rich applications to the web, desktop and now smartphones and tablets!

We highly encourage everyone to download trial builds of Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5. Take the new mobile workflows for a spin and leverage Flex to build smartphone and tablet applications for Google Android (we will be shipping an update to Flex 4.5 SDK and Flash Builder 4.5 in June that will enable Flex project support on Apple iOS and Blackberry Tablet OS). Additionally, brush up on the dozens of new coding features in Flash Builder 4.5 that help you write MXML and ActionScript code better and faster. And of course, take advantage of the new bi-directional workflow newly introduced between Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5.

In case you need a refresher on what is new in all of these releases, check out the comprehensive introductory articles below.

Also, make sure to check out the new Flex.org site, which has lots of additional content and resources on Flex.

Enjoy!

Register for Flash Camp 2011!

We are very excited to be hosting at Adobe, San Francisco a Flash Camp event on April 30th. This is going to be a rad event! This time around, the Flash Camp is a bit different. For starters, its on a Saturday – this means the fun will run all-day and include keynotes and sessions by Adobe Flex/Flash Builder team members as well as hands-on coding camps and labs. Of course, the usual beer and goodies will be provided and plenty of members from the engineering and product management teams will be in attendance!

The main focus of the camp is around mobile development. To that end, we’ll help you build a mobile application during the course of the camp and we’ll be giving away awesome prizes at the end for the best apps! So, come to Flash Camp to learn how to build a mobile application from scratch, or bring an application you’re already working on and polish it up during the event. Regardless of what you do, this is a not-to-miss event where you can learn hands-on from the experts about how to use Flex & Flash Builder to build performant standalone mobile applications on Android, Apple iOS and Blackberry Tablet OS!

Hope to see many of you there – register here!

Compatibility Matrix for Mobile Development with Flash Builder 4.5

Now that we have announced new workflows in Flash Builder 4.5 to develop, debug and deploy standalone mobile applications for smartphones and tablets, let’s take a moment to clarify which build of Flash Builder will provide Flex and ActionScript mobile project support for Android, Blackberry Tablet OS and Apple iOS.

First off, it’s important to understand the distinction between Flex Mobile projects and ActionScript Mobile Projects. With Flex Mobile projects, you can use all of the new mobile specific functionality added to the core Flex SDK to develop Flex-based mobile applications. For example, Flex Mobile projects lets you use the new Flex mobile components like ViewNavigatorApplication and ViewNavigator to handle the navigation of application views and persistence of data and UI across those views (learn all about the new mobile features in Flex and Flash Builder 4.5 here). Flash Builder 4.5 helps you create a new Flex Mobile project through the File -> New menu:

Similarly, Flash Builder 4.5 helps you create an ActionScript Mobile Project which lets you use pure-ActionScript to build an application for mobile devices (ie, if you are building a game). In an ActionScript Mobile Project, you cannot us any Flex classes within the project.

It’s important to note that both Flex Mobile and ActionScript Mobile projects provide the full workflows in Flash Builder to develop mobile projects in code, in design view, preview the application on the desktop or on the device, debug on the desktop or on the device and package up the application for delivery to a marketplace.

We have officially announced Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex SDK 4.5 which will ship in May of 2011. Flash Builder 4.5 will ship full support for building AIR-based Flex and ActionScript applications atop Google Android. Additionally, Flash Builder 4.5 will ship full support for building AIR-based ActionScript applications atop Apple iOS and Blackberry Tablet OS.

We will deliver an update to Flex SDK 4.5 and Flash Builder 4.5 (hereby referred to as Flex SDK 4.5.X and Flash Builder 4.5.X) in June of 2011 which will enable building AIR-based Flex applications atop Apple iOS as well as Blackberry Tablet OS. This compatibility matrix may be confusing to understand initially, so the table below aims to illustrate the mobile project support for each platform with each release of Flash Builder.

*Project will actually target AIR 2.5. You will need to make a manual change to your project to enable this configuration. This will be clearly documented on the Adobe Developer Center and RIM’s developer site upon launch in May, 2011.

We are incredibly excited to ship Flex/Flash Builder 4.5 in May and follow that release up with a quick update for full Apple iOS and Blackberry Tablet OS support in June!

 

 

Announcing Flex SDK 4.5, Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5!

Just over one year after Flash Builder 4, Flex SDK 4 and Flash Catalyst CS 5.0 shipped, we are incredibly proud to announce Creative Suite 5.5 which includes Flash Builder 4.5, Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 and Flex SDK 4.5! Together, these three products bring developers and designers the premiere set of tooling workflows to rapidly design, develop and deploy rich applications on the web, desktop and now mobile smartphones and tablets!

Most notably, we are excited to introduce new capabilities in Flex to build applications for Google Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and Apple iOS. Flex SDK 4.5  adds new mobile components and capabilities into the core Flex framework to build performant, standalone applications running atop Adobe AIR. Additionally, Flash Builder 4.5 gives developers a full set of workflows to rapidly build, debug and deploy mobile applications built with Flex SDK 4.5 or pure ActionScript. You can learn all about the new mobile development features in Flex and Flash Builder 4.5 by reading Narciso (NJ) Jaramillo’s article on the Adobe Developer Center.

To get a high-level understanding of new Spark components added to Flex SDK 4.5 as well as broader improvements to the core Flex framework, check out Deepa Subramaniam’s overview. Similarly, grab a birds-eye view of all of the exciting development enhancements to Flash Builder 4.5 by reading Andrew Shorten’s introductory article here. And of course, take in all the new workflows enabled by Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 by reading Jacob Surber’s overview article here.

In addition to the exciting new mobile features and workflows added to Flex and Flash Builder, we focused on significantly improving productivity for developers and designers. For developers, we have made it much easier to write Flex and ActionScript code. Flash Builder 4.5 introduces dozens of new coding productivity features which rapidly accelerate the coding and testing of Flex and ActionScript projects. Whether you’re writing MXML or ActionScript, the new Flash Builder 4.5 coding features will make you write better code faster. To understand all of the new coding and productivity features in Flash Builder 4.5, regardless if you’re a Flex or pure-ActionScript developer, read Sameer Bhatt and Sreenivas Ramaswamy’s article on the ADC.

Additionally, we focused on building a robust bi-directional workflow between developers and designers. Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 introduces a new bi-directional workflow with Flash Builder 4.5 such that designers and developers can work together to create rich and visually expressive Flex components and applications. Check out Jacob Surber’s article to understand the new workflows introduced in Flash Catalyst CS 5.5.

It doesn’t stop there – we are proud to announce a new addition to our Flash Builder product family – Flash Builder for PHP! Co-developed in partnership with Adobe and Zend Technologies, Flash Builder for PHP provides the perfect development environment for building expressive applications with Flex and PHP for the web and mobile devices. To read up on all of the detailed workflows Flash Builder for PHP provides Flex and PHP developers, check out this overview article by Kevin Schroeder.

We are very excited with the wealth of new features and workflows available in this next release of the Flex product family. Please take advantage of all of these new features and workflows by pre-ordering the products today! To learn more about the pricing options for Flash Builder 4.5 (Standard Edition, Premium Edition, Standard PHP Edition and Premium PHP Edition) check out this handy Flash Builder Buying Guide. Additionally, you can pre-order Flash Catalyst CS 5.5 here.

We hope that you all have as much fun designing and developing applications with these new releases as we on the product teams did making them. And with that, go forth and build more apps!

Sincerely,

Flex, Flash Builder & Flash Catalyst Product Teams

Flex, Flash Builder & Flash Catalyst Teams at 360Flex Denver

The Flex team is thrilled that 360Flex Denver is right around the corner! This is going to be a fantastic event with a stellar lineup of speakers and sessions, including engineering and product management representatives from the Adobe Flex, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst teams. We will demonstrate the Flash Builder and Flex SDK 4.5 features and workflows for building mobile applications for deployment on Android, iOS and RIM devices, as well highlight the dozens of new coding productivity enhancements in Flash Builder that will significantly speed up ActionScript and MXML coding. Additionally, we will be showcasing the enhanced design workflows in Flash Catalyst ‘Panini’ including roundtripping with Flash Builder.

It doesn’t stop there….we have some new announcements to share about mobile platform support as well as publicly discussing the new (and improved) open source contribution model for the Flex SDK. Additionally, we will have sneaks of upcoming features slated for the next versions of the Flex product family.

Check out the 360Flex Denver schedule to make sure you know when Adobe members are speaking. Below are some must-see sessions that I’d highly recommend attending before they fill up:

  • What’s New in Flash Builder 4.5, Andrew Shorten
  • What’s New in Flex SDK 4.5, Deepa Subramaniam & Steven Shongrunden
  • Multi-Density & Multi-Platform Development with Flex SDK 4.5, Narciso (NJ) Jaramillo
  • Flash Builder Tips & Tricks, Sreenivas Ramaswamy
  • Flex Performance Tips & Tricks, Evtim Georgiev
  • Whats New in Flash Catalyst ‘Panini’, Jacob Surber & Peter Flynn

So, if you haven’t registered yet – get on it! You can get a special 20% discount by entering ‘AdobeRocks’ when you register. And, don’t forget, registration includes 4 hands-on sessions on Sunday which will deep dive into Flex 4 development, mobile development for Android and Blackberry Tablet OS as well as an introduction to Away3D.

See you in Denver!

Meet the new Flex Product Management team

Last year we announced that a number of positions on the Flex Product Management team were open – whilst we still have one position available, I wanted to confirm that the core team is now in place and that we’re actively planning for future releases of Flex SDK, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst.

New additions to the team are Adam Lehman, who joins as Flash Builder Product Manager and Jacob Surber, who has taken on responsibility for Flash Catalyst.

Many folks will know Adam as the Product Manager for ColdFusion – readers of Adam’s blog will be aware that he announced last week that he is moving to a new role at Adobe, and I’m happy to confirm that he brings his experience and passion to Flash Builder. In addition to blogging, you can also follow Adam on Twitter where he’s @adrocknaphobia.

Jacob has moved across from the XD team at Adobe, where he has spent the last couple of years using Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder to prototype and implement user interface elements in a number of Adobe’s products, including the recently launched Acrobat X. Jacob truly understands and represents both the designer and developer viewpoint, which will be a big asset as we continue to refine the workflow between Catalyst and Builder. Follow him on Twitter where he’s @jacobsurber.

Regular readers need not fear about Deepa and myself – we’re still here, with Deepa leading Product Management for Flex SDK, whilst I take on a Group Product Manager role overseeing both Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder.

The entire team is heading out to user group meetings and upcoming events over the next couple of months (including FITC in Amsterdam and 360 Flex in Denver), as well as meeting with specific customers so as to get feedback on our plans for Flex for 2012 and beyond. If we don’t manage to meet with you in person then we’re always interested in your feedback and thoughts – you can get in touch with the team by sending us a comment on this blog or by joining our pre-release program.