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Flash Builder 4.7 and design view question

Jan 24, 2013 7:26 AM

Tags: #design #flash #view #builder #4.7

I have programmed a large, commercial level mobile application using Flash Builder 4.6. It is working GREAT when ran on both iOS and Android devices. 

 

I was using the trial version of Flash Builder 4.6 to develop this application. I used the states feature that FB has built in to handle Portrait, Landscape, and Phone / Tablet configs. This means that I built 4 different layouts for all 8 of my views in my mobile application. Using the design view in FB 4.6 was what allowed me to do this.

 

I have to say that I LOVE Flash Builder so far. GREAT tool. 

 

My trial ended just last week. I had to purchase version 4.7 of the software, only to find out that they REMOVED the design view from the software.

 

All complaining aside, what have other programmers who are in the same boat as me done as a solution? I would like to continue to program in AS and Flash Builder as I have taken the time to write the application and learn the whole platform. 

 

As it stands now, I am in the process of downgrading my liscence keys from 4.7 to 4.6, but in order to do this I had to RETURN my retail version of FB 4.7 premium (bought online) and buy a volume liscening version (NOT through adobe, only allowed to do this through a reseller such as CDW). then once I have a key for 4.7 through volume liscencing, it can be downgraded to 4.6.

 

I'm hoping to get input from others in the same boat. Did you change Programming languages? if so, to what? Did you change IDE's? If so, to what?

 
Replies 1 2 Previous Next
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 7:41 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    The design view was used by many people (such as yourself), but many Flex developers just don't need  it and create their design from code using MXML or even actionscript.

     

    As a designer it may seem more convenient to drag and drop components, but I tend to think of MXML in a similar way to HTML - it's just as easy to write it as it is to try and use a design tool.

     

    Unfortunately there is no alternative designer to replace the FB one, but it doesn't mean you have to abandon Flex or FlexBuilder to use the technology - it just requires gaining an extra skill in development to create the interface using markup in place of a design tool.

     

    I know it's not the ideal solution for many, but that's the way things are.

     

    Personally, I stopped using Design View very early on because I found MXML easier to work with.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 8:03 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Well, I'm not responsible for the removal of the facility and indeed in the long term you will need to live without it, however you used to make use of it.

     

    The precise placement of items in views shouldn't be too onerous - you can either write a small testbed to open view8 directly, or screen capture view8 and use another program to align your controls to a grid and use those settings in the code. Laying out controls isn't hugely difficullt.

     

    It's an inconvenience rather than insanity.

     

    Whatever we both may think about this, design view is gone post 4.6, and we need to work with the tools that we have, not the ones we would necessarily wish for.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 10:39 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    I think you're mistaking me for someone who removed design view from the software.

     

    It's not my place to supply you with alternative solutions to suit your workflow. The flex world doesn't come to a halt because the design view has gone.

     

    I completely understand that your  workflow worked well for your situation and without design view it involves more work.

     

    Design view is gone, so it's a question of adapt or die.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 10:47 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    You say you have eight views. Why can you not create a project that simply invokes view8?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 12:54 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    There is no solution to losing design view that won't mean extra work in comparison with your existing workflow. That statement is not a vindication of either of our positions, just a fact and while design view was a great convenience, the longer term, if you stick with flex, is going to involve a differrent workflow.

     

    If your views use an MVC architecture, instantiating them should involve injecting some sample data into the model and then invoking the view.

     

    I appreciate your frustration, but design view is a dead dog.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 1:25 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Most people would draw rough wireframes of the view, sort out the general alignment and stuff and decide before they built it how the general layout would be. They can do that for differring screen sizes.

     

    Nobody builds dialogs by throwing components onto a screen without thinking about it first - prefereably with a wireframe sketch on paper.

     

    In many cases the precise positioning of controls can be taken care of by the layout manager. You can set up control sizes by percentage or fixed sizes and if you want fixed layouts, set the positions using an array of co-ordinates according to target screen size.

     

    It should be easy to test dialog layout using sample data put into the model.

     

    I kind of feel were competing in some kind of argument over design view, that shouldn't be necessary. I understand that you could use design view for prototyping, but so can you use a load of other tools, including pen and paper. Yes, I will admit to experimenting with layouts just by editing MXML and running the project.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 2:28 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    How would you handle this type of layout?

     

    I'm not sure what you want me to say. If you want precise positions, just edit the numbers. I guess your existing workflow is to change the state and drag controls around.

     

    In general, the layout managers are supposed to eradicate some of the grief by laying out components for you.

     

    Another approach would be to use code to move the components once the controls have been instatiated.

     

    I'm not sure where we're going with this. If you use absolute positions it's always going to be tedious.

     

    You could even have differrent views according to the state, rather than have one view with controls that move according to the state.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 25, 2013 1:29 AM   in reply to pauland

    Are you absolutely positioning every one of your controls? Could I see view8 in it's entirety?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 28, 2013 11:26 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    I too am vexed by the removal of the Design View.  I use that feature constantly for not only laying out the view, but also for quickly locating the exact control I am trying to work with.  For example, I might have a view that has many controls that overlap and sometime selecting the correct one to work with in MXML is a challenge.  I switch to Design View, select the control I want to work with and switch back to Source View to make the code changes.  It is a convenience that I am sad to lose.

     

    As with you, I have found no alternative to this functionality and would love to know what others are doing.  I hope you receive response from more that just a few people.

     

    Lastly, I am concerned with the changes that are occuring in Adobe with regards to Flex, FlashPlayer, ActionScript and the related technologies.  I have read the roadmap and understand the handoff of the Flex SDK to Apache, but it seems to me and others that Adobe has simply given up on this technology.

     

    Lee

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 12:43 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Just to add my 2 cents here, I completely agree, losing the design view is terrible for both reasons mentioned above.  It is extremely helpful for placement of controls as well as finding the appropriate component to use.  Obviously we can do it without the design view, but this signficantly increases my development and testing time.  What was a quick and easy process is now much more tedious.  With a couple of projects already done using Flash Builder/Flex, I'd hate to switch to another tool, but we'll have to see how this goes...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 1:20 PM   in reply to gsd_cg

    My 2 cents... as far as Adobe FLash Builder was in fact very good platform to develop mobile application I guess now it will be faster to learn ADT, Xcode and NDK rather than manualy position all controls for multiple screens and resolutions.

    Whoever removed Design View from Flash Builder pushed this product way behind products provided by competitors.

    

    And solution I found on one of Adobe forums or whatever else that was.... they said to use fireworks and export to MXML.

    Good luck with this one... everythign was too good ot be truth, so someone had to come and destroy good tool and make it wonky and difficult.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 1:27 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Well.. if I would know that Adobe will destroy this tool I would never pay a penny for it.

    I'd rather go for this http://www.flashdevelop.org/ than pay them.

     

    
     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 1:31 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Of course no design view... but they don't ask for the money.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 1:59 PM   in reply to gsd_cg

    If you're already using Flash Builder 4.6, there's nothing stopping you from keeping it installed at the same time as FB 4.7. I've got both installed side-by-side and they work just fine, as long as you're not opening the same project in both. Once a project is opened and saved in 4.7 it's difficult to get it back to 4.6.

     

    The main point is this - if you need Design view, then keep using 4.6. The changes in 4.7 relate to some new debugging options for installing directly to the iOS device as well as the new ASC 2 compiler (for ActionScript projects only). Other than that, FB 4.7 uses the exact same Flex 4.6 SDK as FB 4.6. You can continue to overlay the newer AIR SDKs with Flash Builder 4.6 (in fact it seems easier with FB 4.6 anyway).

     

    iBrent

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 2:07 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Yep, I've already gone back to 4.6.  I only worry about just how long term a solution this is, eventually it won't be compatible with something... but *hopefully* it will be quite a while before that problem comes up.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 2:37 PM   in reply to gsd_cg

    Wellllll, considering Flash Builder 5 won't support Flex anymore, there's also that scenario...

     

    Adobe has donated Flex to the Apache foundation and they are updating their tooling accordingly. ApachFlex is strong and will continue to grow through it's awesome community. But Flash Builder will continue to be updated as an ActionScript development tool, one of the reasons why Design veiw was removed. Design view is a Flex only tool.

     

    iBrent

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 4:21 PM   in reply to iBr3nt

    "Wellllll, considering Flash Builder 5 won't support Flex anymore"

    Where did you hear that?

    Why would anyone use Flash Builder 5 over Flash?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 11, 2013 11:38 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Maybe this can help: DesignView

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 20, 2013 6:13 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Sorry to rehash this old thread, but you are absolutely spot on. The power of FB4.6 was that I could easily see how all my targets worked in various resolutions and orientations, and importantly, states. When I make a config panel, for example, that may be easily done with a bunch of labels, buttons, textboxes, etc., and yeah, I could do it in code, but why? MrJ's right in saying that it is laborious.

     

    So, we now have a big risk introduced to thousands of businesses - that is, Adobe is capable of doing anything at the drop of a hat. Example: palming off flex to apache. Example: removing design view and saying 'that WILL be fine with you'. How long will FB4.6 be serviced by Adobe? When that's no longer compatible (for whatever reason), what do the developers do? What happens when you get a squabble amongst the apache flex developers and they split the project, ( eg a bit like openoffice and libreoffice.)?

     

    If I had to wrangle code just to make GUIs then I would have looked further afield. It's a great platform but I think it cannot be relied upon. Adobe is showing contempt for its developer customers by removing design view, I think, because it is quite difficult to maintain. But then, I'm not a multibillion dollar company...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 20, 2013 6:15 PM   in reply to joe_3d

    Actually, to be more constructive, where should I be looking? I was tempted to try out JavaFX but that looks pretty unsupported to me. Any ideas, do I go c# or java or something? What's everyone else doing to mitigate this risk?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 3, 2013 11:45 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    They REMOVED Design View?!! Are they CRAAZY! I don't care a flip if "real" programmers find it more convienent to code objects in MX rather than use DV; I find DV far more convenient. The ease of use of components is the only attraction of Flash Builder for me. No DV, no Flash Builder for me.

     

    Back to using FlashDevelop.

     
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    Mar 27, 2013 4:53 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Why on earth will somebody just decid to remove something that works, or was there a loud cry out from the flex community for it to be removed. That is the only feature that got me to buy a flash builder, if not then I will just download the SDK and run it on eclipse.

     

    This is very INSANE!

     

    What happened to rapid development? I don't believe one bit that typing is faster than drag-and-drop

     

    Whoever made this decision should quickly call for a board meeting to get this restored without hesitation.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 27, 2013 5:20 AM   in reply to k-antwi

    Design view was probably expensive to produce and maintain and many, if not most developers, myself included, stopped using it in any event after becoming comfortable with MXML.

     

    Given that Adobe has stopped development of the Flex framework and the design view is all about the flex framework, it seems quite logical for them to cease development of that part of the product.

     

    For pure flash development, it's superfluous and Adobe is gradually forgetting about Flex.

     
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  • rtalton
    1,133 posts
    Oct 28, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2013 4:24 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    Disclaimer: The following is my opinion. I'm sure you have an opinion, too. Maybe quite different from mine.

     

    This is an interesting thread -- not only because of the obvious frustration expressed by most, but also because of the lack of any response by an Adobe employee.

     

    Yes, Adobe are the culprit here as they have no intentions of keeping Flash Builder and it's Design View in sync with whatever changes/improvements Apache Flex makes. And the Apache Flex project leaders have never stated that they will ever offer an IDE/design view to replace Flash Builder, so don't hold your breath. Adobe won't offer anything, either. Why should they continue development on the very thing they killed? It might somehow threaten adoption of whatever new and exciting HTML5 animation software they come up with.  Like Adobe Edge Reflow, which features, of course, a design-view type of UI. Now we can make a pretty picture move across the screen! Just like FutureSplash (which would become Flash) could do back in 1995! And remember that Adobe's current CEO used to work at Apple. Draw your own conclusions.

     

    The way I see it, another third-party would have to offer an IDE which is compatible with Apache Flex because I don't think AF has any muscle or talent to do that now--and my conspiracy theory is that they wouldn't want to p*** off the people at Adobe by doing so; they are still connected to one another. Adobe does not really want competition from AF, and vice-versa. The only way AF will survive is to work on bringing the Falcon JS compiler to market.

     

    IntelliJ IDEA offers a primitive (in comparison the FB) Android UI designer. So maybe someone will come up with something similar for Flex.

     

    Full disclosure: I've purchased Sencha Complete, which features something like Design View, and am learning the brave new world of building web sites based on Javascript technology from the 1990's. This is the new normal. As a former Flex developer, I accept the need to lower my expectations and how great I used to have it with Flex, but it really is all gone now. The types of things I could accomplish so quickly, easily and cheaply in Flex will have no replacement for several years (including using Design View--critical in my opinion). But you might as well start getting used to coding in Javascript now, as whatever happens in the next 3-5 years that will make you money will be based on JS, not ActionScript/MXML.

     

    It was a fun ride while it lasted. But we are now "back from the future". It will be a while before we get to that future we used to live in.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 12, 2013 6:39 PM   in reply to MrJesse34

    I agree with many here that the removal of DV in 4.7 was a huge misteak.

    Tweaking objects is far faster in DV than anyone can do in code. Not to menion you get to see the results instantly.

    Adobe gets enough money from their products to keep its development up. Stop taking features out!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2013 5:48 AM   in reply to MrJesse34

    MrJesse34,

     

    I just wanted to toss my view of all this in here too.

    Adobe HAD with Flex, a tool that allowed the Rapid App Development, cross platform / multi-OS, something that allowed development using common software practices quickly.

     

    There hadn't been such a simple RAD tool since VB6.  Yes I know that was Windows only, and then briefly web... the point is, it was easy and quick and powerful.

     

    So Adobe has this for the modern world, and instead of standing up for their great product, and telling Steve Jobs, "NO" the world is NOT going to devolve into a backwards mess that also requires custom apps programmed on each OS... the Adobe Exec's abandoned it, and focused everything on the vapor-standard of HTML5.

     

    ...the HTML5+CSS+JS+JSframework+whatever_else_is_needed paradigm which requires hacking HTML, CSS, JS files together in a chimera mess of code... little or no visual help, and only able to do what Flash/Flex was able to 7 years prior.

     

    So 4.7 being less than 4.6 in functionality... no great surprise there.

     

    I'm not giving up on it though.  I'm sick an tired of backwards HTML5 mess... and I laugh at the thought that Javascript is going to be become what Flash was 7 years ago WITHOUT someone plugging a specialized engine into each browser; either native or as a plugin...

    In other words to get to where Flash was 7 years ago, you need that player/engine.

     

    I'm following Flex to the Apache world... and HOPEFULLY someone will make a designer to let us visualize the MXML as we code it.

     

    Or we could move back into the Flash app itself... and use Flash components... if they haven't killed those off too.

     

    Anyways you are not alone, both in seeing the great potential that was in Flex, and in wondering what in the world people are thinking pushing software development BACKWARDS into the mess that is HTML5.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2013 4:39 PM   in reply to iBr3nt

    late to this discussion, but I agree with iBrent (huge fan, your youtube videos got me off and running with FB -- thanks)...

     

    I run both versions... but am working on forcing myself to learn how to get used to strictly using code and NOT design view... I think it just makes me a stronger developer and forces me to think through things that otherwise I would just rely on the software to handle / do... if that makes sense.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 18, 2013 5:45 AM   in reply to tamak1234

    Hi guys! i am also frustrated with the dicision to take out the design view from 4.7. I ve been using flex since version 3.6, and i even got two awards for innovations for a flex mobile platform i designed. When i first got flash builder 4.7 and i saw the luck of design view i turned to other options like native android.. i hope we will soon get an update containing what made flash builder different than other available tools...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 18, 2013 5:56 AM   in reply to tamak1234

    @ tamak1234

     

    It is good to always strive to be a better programmer. However the sole purpose for me and DV was to move things around to so as to get the best placement for them on the page. To change the x,y values in code alone is just to time consuming of a task compared to how fast you can do in with DV. Not to mention changing font sizes and colors. 

     
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