12 Replies Latest reply on Jul 24, 2006 7:45 AM by

    ActionScript-Tools are disappointing

      Compared to commercial top notch Eclipse-Plugins like WindowBuilder Pro ($299) for SWT and Swing, which accompanies the Eclipse Java Development Tools, the Flex 2 Builder Eclipse Plugin ($499) is not only disappointing regarding the lack of ActionScript development tools (e.g. Basic Refactorings -> Rename, Move), but overpriced as well.
        • 1. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
          jpwrunyan Level 1
          Complaing about Flex Builder is like shooting fish in a barrel. ;-)
          I hope you send your opinions to the bug report/feature request.
          • 2. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
            asnative Level 1

            Complaing about Flex Builder is like shooting fish in a barrel.

            No, it's not: Shooting fish in a barrel does have an effect. Complaining about ActionScript tools does not.


            I hope you send your opinions to the bug report/feature request.

            I've been requesting this for years. At Macromedia/Adobe there always has been a huge gap between the announced objectives (attract .NET/Java enterprise developers and gain market share in the .NET/Java enterprise arena) and the development tools (definitely not enterprise level).
            • 3. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
              inlineblue Level 1
              Look at this way: How many development tools can you find for SWT and Swing? And now how many can you find for Flash9/AS3? Uh huh.

              Besides, WindowBuilder is now at version 5.0. Even though Flex Builder is branded as 2.0, it's really a 1.0 product. And the folks at WindowBuilder didn't have to implement SWT and Swing--they just made the IDE.
              • 4. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                asnative Level 1
                AFAIK the initial WindowBuilder plugin was done by single developer, before Instantiations aquired the technology in 2003. Also, the FlexBuilder team is supposed to be completely decoupled from Flash9-Player/AS3 development, no?

                Apart from that, I'm not complaining about the visual editor, but about the lack (!) of ActionScript tools in FlexBuilder 2. Something you get for free (JDT) when you start building Java applications (incl. SWT/Swing apps) in Eclipse.

                Look at this way: How many project managers will seriously consider Flex technology for a long term project today, after they have evaluated FlexBuilder 2 and its accompanying AS development tools? Right, none.
                • 5. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                  inlineblue is right. This is effectively our 1.0 release. I'm sure we'll add new features in future releases.

                  So... what do you think are the most important features that are still needed? You've mentioned rename (presumably for functions, variables, classes, interfaces, packages) and move (presumably for classes). What else?
                  • 6. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                    Sson Level 1
                    me miss the Auto-Format ^^
                    • 7. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                      asnative Level 1

                      Originally posted by: Rebecca Hyatt -Adobe

                      So... what do you think are the most important features that are still needed?

                      Please open Eclipse 3.1 and examine the Java tools. Everything from the JDT, which can be applied to ActionScript development, is still needed in FlexBuilder 2.
                      • 8. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                        Rebecca_Hyatt_-Adobe Level 1
                        Yes, we're well aware of the JDT.

                        What I was hoping for was some feedback on how you might prioritize some of those features over others. The JDT has quite a lot of features, and some of them may be more important when translated to ActionScript (or MXML) than others...

                        Rebecca Hyatt
                        • 9. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                          asnative Level 1
                          When you build a house, it's hard to prioritize between a hammer, a drill, a trowel and a fridge for cooling the beer :-) However, I suppose, you already have worked out such a list with all JDT features. You may post it here, and ask people to prioritize.
                          • 10. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                            David Zuckerman (Adobe)
                            While we do want to implement the feature set provided by the JDT, they have 5 years of development in their corner(their 1.0 was Nov, 2001) and this is essentially our 1.0 release. It's nice to say "implement everything" but a list of your top features would help to ensure we target the correct feature set for our next release.
                            • 11. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                              jpwrunyan Level 1
                              If I may say, from a different perspective, although the AS Tools probably do indeed save a lot of programmers time. Flex Builder is not purely a programming tool. It also has design aspects. I, personally, would ike to see much of the Flash IDE features inside of Flex Builder (especially since there is no Flash IDE for AS 3.0). Namely, the grid, snap to grid functions which are only half-fast implemented in Flex Builder 2.0. Me and the others on my team have wasted a lot of time hand coding, then checking in design view our screen prototypes. If the design view were more powerful, the prototype design phase would go a lot quicker.
                              One last time: customizable snap-to settings, please!

                              Also, what happen to the file browswer when embedding source files? That was convenient. Now I have to type the path in myself.
                              • 12. Re: ActionScript-Tools are disappointing
                                I am a java developer who had no Flex experience before. Flex is in the right direction though it is clearly significantly behind the Eclipse.

                                I would like to list a few realted to debugger and I really care. It is possible that they are there but I could not figure out.

                                1- When running in debugger, provide inspect. Select the expression and see the value.
                                2- When stepping into Flex code there is no debugger info. No line numbers no inspection of the variables/expressions.
                                3- Provide Action script version of the examples in the documentation. Most examples is in MXML. I do not consider anything which ends with XML as a candidate for writing roboust large applications. For a newcomer like myself, it can really speed up getting up and running. I first need to find what needs to be done. Find the MXML code, then find out how to write it in ActionScript.
                                4- Provide automatics Getter/Setter and Refactoring.
                                5- When a runtime error is thrown provide a better stack trace. Line numbers and class names.
                                6- Compiling and rebuilding the workspace weems to be realy slow. I have only a few classes now. When I really get going, I will reach to thousands of classes. It is not clear if it will do routine project tasks in a reasonable time.
                                7- And suggestions about the language: The collection library looks designed oddly. What is called an Array has push/pop methods which is usually used for Stacks. The bread and butter of collections is the Map and Set. They are presumably implemented by Dictionary. Again Dictionary is usually used for a more restricted scope. Nobody really calls Dictionary as Map. It will nice to design a collection librray which follows the standard nomenclature. If Flex is really targetingJava/C# development, it needs to target hard core developers who may find the Collection library scatterred here and there and implemented partially.