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Flex Developer Tools – IDEs

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I was doing recently some research on tools that we have available as Flex developers. With this series of my blog posts I would like to share my findings with the community. I will start with IDE tools that we have. As my research shows there is quite a bit of selection depending on the platform and also licensing:

  • Flex Builder (commercial license and free for academics – – This is of course my favorate IDE :) and I’m using it every day. Its based on Eclipse and as I have a strong Java background it is natural platform for me. It shows strong dominance among other tools with its great WYSIWYG support.
  • FlashDevelop (Open Source, only windows version) – It really powerful IDE that supports not only Flex but also Flash, AS2, AS3 and AIR development. It is very fast, only drawback I see is it doesn’t support other platforms then Windows.
  • FDT (commercial license) – I don’t have experiance with this tool but I heard some voices that it really rocks when it comes to serious ActionScript development, especially with its code completion, documentation support and very much missing feature in FB code formatting.
  • IntelliJ IDEA 8.0 (commercial license) – In Java word IntelliJ is seen by many to be the best of all IDE’s so I expect their Flex plugin can become very important player in our environment.
  • Aptana (free and commercial versions) – It lets you edit, build and debug JavaScript/HTML based AIR applications.
  • Tofino (Free) – Very new player on the market, its free Microsoft Visual Studio plugin. It is still under active development but there are some builds already available to download and start coding. I’m hoping to see with this one more and more .NET developers attracted by our great Flash Platform. With great .NET server side capabilities and real cross platform UI with Flex I believe it will rock! What do you think?
  • FlexBean (Open Source) – It’s a NetBeans plugin, it is in early stage at the moment with a project wizzard, simple editor and sdk configuration stuff.
  • Tour de Flex (Flex capabilities demo app) – that is of course not an IDE but I find very useful when developing. For those of you that didn’t have a chance to play with this one I recommend getting it ASAP. It is really great application that demonstrates Flex capabilities with code samples and many API’s to things like Twitter, Google Maps…

If I missed something important please let me know. I would also like to hear what are your opinions and experiance with these tools.

Written by Piotr Walczyszyn

January 14th, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Posted in Articles

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