Please join me in welcoming Apache Flex as a top level Apache Software Foundation project with Alex Harui from Adobe as VP! Congratulations, all – what a wonderful way to close out the year :D
The current release build of Apache Flex is 4.8 – a parity release with Adobe Flex 4.6. However, Apache Flex 4.9 is in release candidate status and could be finalized at any time – the release notes can be found here.
The simplest way of getting a hold of the latest Apache Flex build is to grab it using the awesome installer utility. The best way of grabbing the installer is via the badge, as seen below… GRAB IT!
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Two new major Flash Platform releases have occurred: a new version of the Flash Builder development tool and a brand new product: Adobe Scout! This is part of the larger Adobe Game Developer Tools initiative – part of the Creative Cloud.
Flash Builder 4.7
After two beta releases on Adobe Labs, Flash Builder 4.7 has now been released!
This release introduces new development features and enhancements to Flash Builder and provides support for the new Apache Flex SDK and the new ActionScript Compiler 2.0.
So what are the new features in this version of Flash Builder?
- Flash Builder is now a 64-bit application
- Support for the Apache Flex 4.8 SDK
- Support for the Adobe Scout 1.0 product
- New ASC 2.0 compiler support for ActionScript Projects
- Support for creating and managing ActionScript Workers
- Configuring multiple build targets for multi-screen projects
- Support for customizing ADT and ADL parameters
- Support for creating ActionScript Library Projects
- Real time error highlighting using the ASC 2.0 compiler
- Enhanced Developer Productivity Features including new Quick Assists
- Advanced support for iOS deploy/test/debug/sim
Note that Design View, as previously indicated, no longer exists in Flash Builder 4.7. If Design View is desired, you will probably want to use Flash Builder 4.6. Note that both versions can be installed in parallel!
Adobe Scout 1.0
Some of you may be confused about the name… “what is Scout?”… well, Scout is the 1.0 product name of the former Project ‘Monocle’. It’s out now, as part of the Creative Cloud Game Developer Tools. Not only that, but much like Edge Animate – the full version of Scout is FREE for a limited time. After Scout transitions to a paid offering, it will still be available for free with advanced telemetry features disabled.
Adobe Scout is the next-generation profiler for Flash content running on both the desktop and on mobile devices. It gives you insight into the behavior of your Flash content that simply wasn’t possible in the past.
Scout relies on the new telemetry feature, which was introduced in Flash Player 11.4 and AIR 3.4. This feature gathers detailed information about the internals of the Flash runtime, as well as the ActionScript that it executes, and sends it all to Scout. Scout presents this data clearly, concisely, and graphically, so that you can quickly diagnose performance problems with your content.
To get detailed telemetry data to appear, a project must be compiled in such a way to enable this feature. This can be easily done with Flash Builder 4.7, or through other, less-supported means. Even without advanced telemetry enabled, there is still a good deal of information which can be gathered through the use of Scout.
With Apache Flex 4.8.0-incubating finally released, those who want an alternative to Adobe Flex 4.6 can download and install the compiled SDK or even grab the full framework source. There is also a really slick AIR-based framework installer that will do a lot of the tedious work for you :)
While this is a parity release (essentially the same as Adobe Flex 4.6), it is an important first step for what is to come and what the community will make of what has been donated to ASF by Adobe. There is still a large amount of interest in Flex for the same reasons it became so popular in the first place; a rich component set, excellent adaptive layout structures, consistency across desktop browsers through the Adobe Flash Player, rich MXML and ActionScript based programming environment, and wide industry support.
So what is next for Flex? The Spoon Project wants to hear from you! Flex is not yet a full Apache project but with the next release, it could very well become one. What are important points of focus for the work that is to come? What are your needs to keep Flex a useful framework for your projects?
Let Spoon and the Apache Flex team know by filling out this short survey.
Discussing Apache Flex
Last week, I took part in a recording of The Flex Show that centered around Apache Flex and the state of Flash in 2012. I thought it was a pretty interesting discussion – a lot of good points were brought up and you can listen to the entire recording from the show website:
Flexing into 2012 w/ Joseph Labrecque and Mark Ehlert: The Flex Show Episode 159
Apache Flex Re-branding Initiative
Submit your design to the Apache Flex Logo Contest!
On the 31th of December, 2011, the Apache Software Foundation has accepted the Flex SDK into incubation. Apache Flex is now a community project managed by Apache (ASF). The migration from Adobe to Apache involves a re-branding and you can contribute by proposing the new Apache Flex logo.
I often get private messages through the contact form on this blog. These are normally requests for advice, resources, or project inquiries. From time to time, a question comes in that I see as useful to a wider audience.
Such is the case with the email reproduced below regarding Flex. I’ve asked permission from the individual author but have blanked out his name for reasons of privacy.
I have several decades of programming experience on desktops and (in the old old days) mainframes, using a variety of languages and technologies.
I am interested in application development for mobile platforms, both Android and the Apple platforms. However I am unable to find anyone who can give an unbiased and straightforward answer to this question: Is the Adobe Flex platform (1) a good choice to devote my limited time resources to for learning mobile development (2) is it or is it not true that the Adobe Flex platform is dying / going away / not really a good choice etc. etc. etc.
Would you be kind enough to give me some guidance regarding this? I don’t have enough time available to learn every technology so I must focus and get the biggest bang for my buck.
What do you recommend?
Thank you so much for your guidance with this.
My response [though slightly modified for this public post] follows.
I don’t think anyone has 100% fool-proof, solid-as-stone answers around this just yet… but I’ll answer you the best I can.
1) I believe that AIR/Flex is still quite valuable for mobile apps. Buried amid the 11/9 announcements is a repeated statement that Adobe is “doubling-down” on AIR for mobile. One of the reasons cited for dropping mobile Flash Player in the browser was to divert resources to mobile AIR. Furthermore, Adobe’s new line of Touch Apps for Android are (almost) all built upon AIR for Android (though my understanding is that Flex was not used).
2) Flex is now an Apache incubator podling. Assuming that the Apache Flex team is able to organize everything enough to put out a release or two (normally achievable over 4-6 months), the project is expected to graduate to full Apache project status – putting it on the same level as ANT, Tomcat, HTTPD, and other well-known, popular projects used worldwide. Note that PhoneGap was also contributed to Apache by Adobe directly after the Nitobi acquisition – so this is by no means a death sentence or dismissal of the framework.
With Flex in the hands of the wider community, there are actually more resources available in light of the number of individual contributors. Even if not an Apache contributor yourself, if you have a patch for Flex that would be useful for others – get in touch with a contributor to see whether they might see value in the patch and perform the contribution in your stead. Don’t forget that a number of contributors are Adobe engineers and that they the company has stated that even though the runtimes are still under their care – they will align releases in light of what is going on at Apache.
I am confident that we will see some great things come out of the Apache Flex effort from members of the Spoon project and the greater community.
I hope this is helpful.
I hope this is useful for others out there. If you want to gather information on-the-ground, be sure to check out the 360|Flex conference in April!