5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 17, 2008 2:53 AM by Peter Lorent

    Are command-line Flex coders out of luck?

    chantcd_com
      I was reading the Actionscript 3.0 manual (524 pages) and came across this tidbit:

      quote:

      ■ MorphShape—These objects are created when you apply a shape tween. You cannot instantiate them using ActionScript. Morph shapes are created only in the Flash authoring tool. Also, the StaticText class, in the flash.text package, extends the DisplayObject class, but you cannot instantiate an instance of it. Static text fields are created only in the Flash authoring tool.


      I'm starting to wonder -- are small developers (without hundred$ to shell out for Flex Builder software) out of luck with regards to Flex development? Can a student take the Flex SDK (command-line compiler) and a good text editor and make a respectable program with Flex -- or are there too many things you "can't do" without CS3 or Flex Builder?

      Thanks,

      Matthew
        • 1. Re: Are command-line Flex coders out of luck?
          Dr. Fred Mbogo Level 1
          Adobe isn't trying to be mean to you because you won't give them money. The same restrictions apply to Flex Builder. They've just chosen not to make an ActionScript API for creating these things. MorphShapes are probably too graphically intensive in their creation to be practical to create from raw code. As for StaticText, I don't know what the distinction between that an a Label is, but the latter works fine for me.

          This is like complaining that Photoshop's JavaScript APIs won't let you apply brush strokes to the canvas. Some things are better done graphically. In this case, that means using the Flash authoring environment.
          • 2. Are command-line Flex coders out of luck?
            chantcd_com Level 1
            That might be right --

            But it seems like Adobe has made a half-hearted attempt (at best) to help new Actionscript programmers scale the learning curve armed ONLY with their touted Flex 3 SDK.

            Look at their website under "Developing via command line" and you'll see ONE short program. After that, they act like you're on your own if you don't want to buy Flex Builder, etc.

            Microsoft gave away a command line version of their compilers EVEN BEFORE they started giving away "Express editions" of their Visual Studio line. And I think there is a lot more example code out there for VS than there is for Adobe.

            Like I said, I've been programming for a while, and I just want to let Adobe know how hard it is for an experienced programmer -- one who knows how to learn on his own, and how to google -- to scale the Actionscript 3.0 learning curve.

            I am interested in Actionscript and would like to learn it. Perhaps when I learn it I'll be able to convince one of my employers to shell out $250 for the IDE.

            Matthew
            • 3. Re: Are command-line Flex coders out of luck?
              Level 7

              "chantcd_com" <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote in message
              news:g87gsi$5d0$1@forums.macromedia.com...
              > That might be right --
              >
              > But it seems like Adobe has made a half-hearted attempt (at best) to help
              > new
              > Actionscript programmers scale the learning curve armed ONLY with their
              > touted
              > Flex 3 SDK.
              >
              > Look at their website under "Developing via command line" and you'll see
              > ONE
              > short program. After that, they act like you're on your own if you don't
              > want
              > to buy Flex Builder, etc.
              >
              > Microsoft gave away a command line version of their compilers EVEN BEFORE
              > they
              > started giving away "Express editions" of their Visual Studio line. And I
              > think
              > there is a lot more example code out there for VS than there is for Adobe.
              >
              > Like I said, I've been programming for a while, and I just want to let
              > Adobe
              > know how hard it is for a new programmer to learn their language.
              >
              > I am interested in Actionscript and would like to learn it. Perhaps when I
              > learn it I'll be able to convince one of my employers to shell out $250
              > for the
              > IDE.

              You must not make very much per hour if they don't find it worth their while
              to plonk out $250 to save you endless hours of work.

              FWIW, people who own Flex Builder will also have a license of Flash to make
              this work as well.

              Please note that this is a user-to-user forum, so you probably haven't let
              Adobe know much of anything :-)


              • 4. Re: Are command-line Flex coders out of luck?
                Dr. Fred Mbogo Level 1
                Comparing Visual C++ and Flex is apples and oranges.

                For one thing, the heritage of the two tools is different.

                The lineage of Visual C++ goes back before it was even called that, to Microsoft's C, released in the MS-DOS 2.0 days. And, C and C++ come out of the Unix tradition, also a heavy command line environment. The first version of "Visual" C++ was released after Windows 3.1 came out. By that time, the Microsoft C/C++ product line had 9 years of history behind it, C++ 13 years, and C two decades! This long heritage of command line use still shows in Visual C++ 2008: observe how often you see command line switches mentioned in the project settings.

                The heritage of Flex is Flash. They're essentially going the other direction: starting with a purely graphical tool, and adding pieces to it to mollify the code monkeys.

                Another factor is that Flex is young. One could argue that its history doesn't even begin properly until Flex 2.0 (2006), when the price dropped down out of the stratosphere, spurring adoption. It needs some time to grow still. This is an advantage as well: Flex doesn't have as much baggage as ( ahem) other programming environments. As it does grow, it will have more freedom to explore new spaces than a tool bound to old paradigms would.

                I have to second the comment on the cost of the IDE. I mean really, $250 is a problem? That's low enough even for hobbyists. I don't even see complaining about a CS3 license as sensible. If you can make a legitimate business case for using MorphShapes, you should be able to pay for a copy of Flash with the time you save in creating them vs. writing equivalent code by hand. That one feature will pay for the tool. But then, maybe you can't justify using the feature in a business context, so this is all just wankery.
                • 5. Re: Are command-line Flex coders out of luck?
                  Peter Lorent Level 2
                  Actionscript 3 is the (latest version of the) language used to produce swf content for Flash Player 9 and above. The Flex SDK, FlexBuilder IDE and Flash IDE use it. 'Static text' is just a - not so very interesting - feature in the Flash IDE to render text on the stage by drawing a text field on the stage and typing some text in it. Which you cannot change anymore at runtime. So, basically you are complaining but you don't know very much. And probably don't know anything about all those free open source Actionscript libraries out there you can use to produce stunning things.

                  With the free SDK, if you can code it, you can build it. As Nike says: just do it.