Two weeks ago, Adobe released a preview version of Flash Builder. Codenamed Flash Builder “Burrito,” it’s available on Adobe Labs as a 60-day trial. This version contains many features and enhancements that let you easily deploy applications to Android phones and tablets. You can use the included version of the Flex SDK to create Flex apps for phones like the Droid 2, Droid X, HTC Evo, etc., or code in pure ActionScript 3, and have total control over the Flash app that you choose to deploy. Using Flash Builder “Burrito,” you can code, package APKs, install your applications over USB, and perform on-device debugging using WiFi.
To get users started with Flash Builder “Burrito,” I wrote a 25-page document that was handed out at the Adobe MAX Device Lab. I’m making it available here as a PDF. It serves as a tutorial and reference to walk you through the creation, deployment, and debugging of Flex mobile applications, and has resources for more advanced topics. This workflow guide includes:
- Creating a new Mobile Project
- Importing an Existing Mobile Project
- Adding Code
- Running and Debugging on the Desktop and on a Device
- Your First Flex “Hero” App: “Hello, World!”
- Packaging for Release
- Installing the Android SDK
- Conditional Compilation
- Managing SDKs
- Additional Resources
This document can get you started creating multiscreen Flex and AS3 applications, and will show you how to use Flash Builder “Burrito” to deploy and debug your apps on Android devices.
Download it here: Flash Builder and Flex Workflows for Multiscreen App Development [PDF]
Adobe Flash Builder “Burrito” is available as a 60-day free trial here.
Today Adobe released beta versions of Flash Builder 4, the Flex 4 SDK, and Flash Catalyst. Builder is a development environment for creating Flex, AIR, and ActionScript applications; Flex is the collection of open-source components with which you can populate your application; and Flash Catalyst aims to allow designers and developers to rapidly create the Flex interface and code, respectively.
I recommend checking out the Catalyst beta in particular, as it’s a brand new product that should be put through its paces. It remains to be seen how far designers can go with it, but you can already import Photoshop and Illustrator projects and convert artwork into components, which a developer (using Flash Builder) can import and flesh out into a working application. I’m doing the development side of things with an internal Adobe application, and importing an FXP from Catalyst has removed some of the difficulty in laying out a UI in FB. I find the combination of assets from Catalyst with Flash Builder 4′s Design View to be preferable to Flex 3 and embedding skins only in CSS, for example. Catalyst exports components that use the new skinning architecture.
You can download the betas here: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flash/
If you want to see how Catalyst and Flash Builder work, here’s Kevin Lynch demoing it at the Web 2.0 conference, and the Adobe page has two videos.
If you find bugs, I encourage you to report them; developers read every bug that’s submitted: https://bugs.adobe.com/flex/
One thing I’ve noticed about the pre-release versions of Catalyst: don’t uninstall it on OS X by dragging it to the trash; it’s possible that a future installer will tell you “beta or pre-release versions of the following products are installed on this machine, and must be uninstalled before this application can proceed.” If you find yourself in this situation, try the following steps:
- Browse to /Library/Application\ Support/Adobe/Installers
- Open the numbered folders
- Run the Uninstall.app that has the Flash Catalyst icon
- If that fails to uninstall Catalyst, try Setup.app instead
We should see some very compelling Flex and AIR apps in the near future.
I’m excited to be working on Flex 4 (Gumbo), the next version of Adobe AIR, an app called ShareFire, and some other awesome projects that are a natural consequence of being hired by Adobe as an Applications Developer! I’ll be using this blog to post some insights (hopefully) into these projects, and into other technical issues as well.
I studied computer science and astronomy, but there’s the possibility that my posts may wander into things like little British sports cars, guitars, electronics, IDM…but I’ll try to keep this post, at least, on track. Check back here for some posts on:
- An open-source RSS reader I wrote with fellow developer Christian Cantrell, called ShareFire (Google Code page). It’s written in AIR, meaning it’s cross platform (which, as a fan of Linux, I particularly like about the runtime), has a slick UI, and does some clever tricks RIA developers might like to know about. If you daydream about the complexities of asynchronous communications with SQLLite and HTTP-based data providers, or find yourself in want of information on how to beef up a scrawny component like the (frankly sadistic) mx:Tree, you may like my upcoming posts on ShareFire.
- Flex 4. A lot of my new job involves using Flex 4 when I develop applications, so I’ll be able to tell you about the new states syntax, how the skinning architecture will work, and how to soup up an existing application–even if you still need some Flex 3 components. As an aside, I’ve seen some other blogs and I should warn you that I like to argue…debating the namespace change will be fun for at least one of us.
- Flash Builder. Already I can tell you that it’s faster and has time-saving shortcuts that make me physically uncomfortable whenever I use Flex Builder 3. The auto generation of event handlers alone earns the cost of having to remove the FB3 sticker from my laptop and put on the shiny FB4 one. I’ve also done some PHP development with Zend Studio and the Zend framework, so I hope to chat with you about the new data-centric features that allow FB4 to work closely with PHP and Zend; they make connecting to remote procedures much faster, for a start, and Flash Builder does some clever things with design view.
- Real-life issues with Flex and AIR. For example, we can make Rich Internet Applications, but why isn’t there a TextArea that has spell checking? I wrote a spell checker that generates a bloom filter, which allows the code to check ~13,000 words a second; I thought the theory behind an ActionScript bloom filter would be a good post, and I’ll talk about a free and open-source spell checking component in the near future.
I post on Twitter as antiChipotle, and I’ll be posting on this blog in the coming weeks.