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Yakov Fain

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Flash Builder 4 Is Finally Here

It’s triplets: Flash Builder, ColdFusion Builder, and Social service

That's right, after about two years of development Adobe has finally released Flash Builder 4 (a successor of Flex Builder 3). Why it took Adobe so long to release it?  An expected answer is, "This was a complete re-thinking of the designer-developer workflow plus a complete re-design of Flex components".

My guess is different: lack of proper investments into this project by Adobe management. I don't have any internal information that could prove this statement. It just my gut feeling backed up by my observations of the development this and some other similar products. I've seen the same dragging development of  JavaFX by Sun Microsystems.  Microsoft, on the contrary, releases new versions of Silverlight every 9 months or so.  I don't think Microsoft  has smarter software engineers - they just put the money where their mouth is.

I'm not going to list all new features of Flash Builder 4 - if you don't know them by now, most likely you don't need to know. Overall, it's an improved IDE, backed by the excellent Flex 4 framework and a new Spark component library, which is still work in progress.

The new Flash Builder comes in two versions: Standard ($249 and $99 for upgrade from Flex Builder 3 standard) and Premium ($699/$299). The good news is that the code of the data visualization library has been open sourced and it's included now in the Standard edition.  The Standard edition is free for students and faculty.

The Premium edition adds testing tools. FlexUnit 4 is well integrated into Flash Builder and is a great tool for people who already appreciate the benefits of test-driven development. It also has a network monitoring tool that allows a developer to monitor all HTTP and AMF traffic (RTMP monitoring is not there yet). Those who are using LiveCycle Data Services ES and have any edition of Flash Builder will be able to do a model-driven development with this new Modeler.

ColdFusion Builder ($299) is a serious step forward in the tooling field. Besides being build on the professional Eclipse IDE (Dreamweaver can still be used for Web page creations) it will ease the development of the Flex front ends consuming the data from ColdFusion servers. ColdFusion 9 is a Java-based server that among besides other things has embedded supports of AMF protocol. I spoke to several ColdFusion developers, and they were really excited about this new IDE. Flash Builder can generate CF components as well as Flex UI for them.

One more piece of software has been released today: Social service. If you are a vendor of applications for one of the 14 leading social networks. Now you'll be able to use a single ActionScript API and code base for FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, WordPress, LinkedIn and more.

If, say FaceBook will decide to change their API in the future, Adobe promises to deploy the required changes in the Social service layer so you don't need to change your applications code. The Social service uses pay per view model (development is free).

I'm sure all these releases will receive a warm welcome among lots of  Web developers.  The next important release that we are looking for is Flash Player 10.1, which should be out in a couple of months.

The official press release of Adobe is included below.

Adobe Advances Web Application Development and Simplifies Social Network Integration

Flash Builder 4, ColdFusion Builder and Flash Platform Social Service Now Available


SAN JOSE, Calif. - March 22, 2009 -Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the immediate availability of Adobe® Flash® BuilderTM 4 and ColdFusion® BuilderTM software, next generation Flash Platform tooling for building multi-platform rich Internet applications (RIAs).  In addition, Adobe added a new Social service to the recently introduced Adobe® Flash® Platform Services. The Social service streamlines integration between Web applications and 14 leading social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter.

Flash Builder 4 accelerates rich Internet application development

·       Flash Builder 4 (formerly Adobe Flex® BuilderTM) is a professional-grade Eclipse-based development tool for rapidly building multi-platform rich Internet applications (RIAs) and content using the open source Flex framework. Developers can build more intuitive Web applications that enable customers, partners, and employees to better understand and use data, leading to increased levels of productivity, satisfaction and effectiveness.

·       Flash Builder 4 accelerates development and testing of RIAs and content, providing new and improved coding and testing capabilities, while allowing designers and developers to more efficiently collaborate using new integrated workflows with Adobe® Creative Suite®.

  • Flash Builder 4 delivers enhanced integration with data and service back ends, including PHP applications through Zend Server, ColdFusion applications through ColdFusion 9, and Java applications through Adobe® LiveCycle® Data Services ES2
  • For detailed information, please go to: http://www.adobe.com/go/flashbuilder4

Open source Flex 4 enables new levels of expressiveness

·       The updated open source Flex 4 framework, also now available, includes a new component architecture for RIAs providing complete separation of appearance and functionality, enabling each to be changed independently without affecting the other.

·       The new skinning and component architecture, code-named Spark, builds on top of the existing MX architecture, providing a much more efficient mechanism for developers and designers to work together to control the appearance of their Flex applications.

Easily integrate with social networks

  • The new Adobe Flash Platform Services Social service enables developers to rapidly integrate applications created with Flash Builder and Adobe® Flash® Professional with social networks.
  • Developers no longer need to do the work of integrating with each separate, constantly changing social network service API to provide users access to multi networks. A single Flash Platform Services layer does the heavy lifting across multiple social networks. Additionally, the Social service will monitor each social network site to ensure changes to APIs do not break applications.
  • For detailed information, please go to http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplatform/services/social

Flash Platform speeds Web innovation across desktops and devices

  • Today's availability of Flash Builder 4 comes in advance of the much anticipated release of Flash Player 10.1, expected in the first half of 2010.
  • Currently available in beta, Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe® AIR® 2 software enable designers and developers to use the same code, assets, frameworks, tools and services to create the most expressive applications, content and video for the browser and the desktop today, as well as mobile platforms in the future.

ColdFusion Builder advances ColdFusion application development

  • ColdFusion Builder is a new Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE) for rapidly and efficiently building ColdFusion applications and is integrated with Flash Builder 4 for fast, easy RIA development.
  • ColdFusion Builder provides a unified, customizable and extensible development environment to code applications, manage servers and deploy projects.
  • For detailed information on the new features and to download, please visit: http://www.adobe.com/go/cfbuilder


  • David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Adobe Platform Business Unit

"Companies are under extraordinary pressure to keep their competitive edge. The Flash Platform

helps companies deploy business-critical applications to a wide audience, while ColdFusion

Builder and Flash Builder truly accelerate the development process. We look forward to seeing

what our talented developer community creates with these latest additions in our developer


  • Chris Griffith, staff engineer, Qualcomm

"Adobe Flash Builder 4 and the Flex framework have become invaluable in Qualcomm's user

experience efforts. With the release of Flash Builder 4, it has enabled us to build projects - from

mobile to Web to the desktop - faster and in a cleaner, more concise fashion. As a result, our

team can now explore new ideas without the previous overhead of recoding user interface


  • Emmanuel Laborde, director of engineering, SAP

"When our developers work with Flex, they can take a more creative, visual approach to building

applications, and it shows in quality and interactivity of the end product."

  • Jaanus Kase, Master's in human-computer interaction program, Carnegie Mellon University

"I've worked in other environments like HTML and JavaScript, but Adobe Flex literally takes half

the time to create each iteration. With Flex, I can focus on delivering an engaging user experience,

versus spending non-productive time debugging, working on speed optimizations, or worrying

about browser compatibility issues."

  • Jason Ervin, Flex and Flash developer, Spiceworks

"Creating the UI components with the new skinning architecture in Adobe Flash Builder is

significantly faster-making my job much easier and less stressful-and lets us produce more

creative, compelling interfaces."

  • Ray Blaak, chief technology officer, Ensemble

"We use Flash Builder 4 daily for basic ActionScript® code development. We like the

improvements related to productivity, especially with regards to code navigation and the editing


  • Andy Gutmans, chief executive officer and co-founder, Zend Technologies

"We are excited to see Adobe continue to invest in making RIA development for PHP developers

faster and easier. Including the Zend framework with Flash Builder 4 makes it even easier for PHP

developers to add expressive UI to enterprise web applications."

  • Ariel Kelman, vice president, Force.com product marketing, salesforce.com

"Our customers have built nearly 150,000 business applications on the Force.com enterprise cloud

computing platform. The new innovations in Flash Builder 4 and the Flash Platform will help

customers extend and enhance their Salesforce CRM and custom Force.com apps. This new

release helps salesforce.com give developers the tools and freedom they need to create

compelling enterprise cloud applications that match the best user experiences of the consumer


  • Gadi Rozmaryn, senior Web applications developer, Hughes

"I rely on consistent, virtually perfect code to ensure that our applications run smoothly and

predictably. With the ability to debug, test, and manage code, Adobe ColdFusion Builder gives us

the tools we need to create outstanding code and easily track the steps we've taken to get there."

  • James Brown, development director, Wrecking Ball Media Group

"ColdFusion Builder is fast and intuitive. With features like line-by-line debugging, code

introspection, and code highlighting, we can save hours that would otherwise be spent saving files,

checking them back in, and refreshing them. ColdFusion Builder is a powerful IDE that brings

ColdFusion 9 even more solidly to the forefront of enterprise-level programming languages."

  • David A. Yovanno, chief executive officer, Gigya

"We are pleased to partner with Adobe to provide technology for the Adobe Flash Platform

Services Social Service. With the recent growth in referred traffic coming from social networks, this

new service will help developers more easily create innovative applications that can reach larger

audiences. Our customers experience increases in registration rates, social referred traffic and time

spent by establishing and optimizing connections to the social networks."

About the Adobe Flash Platform


The Adobe Flash Platform is the leading Web design and development platform for creating expressive applications, content, and video that run consistently across operating systems and devices and reach over 98 percent of Internet-enabled desktops. Flash Player 10 was installed on more than 93 percent of computers in just the first ten months since its release. According to comScore Media Metrix®, approximately 75 percent of online videos viewed worldwide are delivered using Adobe Flash technology, making it the No. 1 format for video on the Web.


Helpful Links


Pricing and Availability

  • Flash Builder 4 Standard US$249, Flash Builder 4 Premium US$699
  • ColdFusion Builder US$299

Technorati tags: Flex, Flex Builder, Flash Builder, ColdFusion, ColdFusion Builder, Eclipse, Flash, Flash Platform Services, Social Service, Gigya

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information - anytime, anywhere and through any medium. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.

Contact Information

Marissa Lee

Adobe Systems Incorporated



Monica Wallace
A&R Edelman




© 2010 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe ,the Adobe logo, Adobe AIR, AIR, ActionScript, ColdFusion, ColdFusion Builder, Flash, Flash Builder, Flex and Flex Builder are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

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