As a rule of thumb you could say:if you want to do something "creative" you won`t get around Flash Professional.
Basically FlashBuilder lacks the timeline (thats in my opinion the most obvious differnce )
FlashBuilder is more of a programmers approach to Actionscript and I don`t think both programms can actually do the same: Flash Professional is a catastrophy when you want to handle large projects (with multiple co-workers) and Flash Builder is a pain when it comes to animations. Best of both worlds is of course: do your coding in FlashBuilder and your Designing in Flash. I found a good alternative to FlashBuilder in FlashDevelop, but there is really no Altrernative to Flash Professional.
Thank you for taking the time to reply. I am understanding a bit more than I previously did.
Quick additional question however. You say do my designing in flash and my coding in flashbuilder, does this mean I can easily switch back and fourth between programs? Like create my animations in flash then add functionality in flash builder ... or program functionality in flash builder and then switch to flash to add animations to the functionality?
If I was to design in flash and code in flashbuilder what would the workflow look like?
Thank you in advance!
Well, you can't do Round trip Editing between both frameworks. If you want to develop any application bigger than requires some animation, you will have a little problems doing it on Flash Builder, because is much hard than if you do it on Flash Professional.
Yeah, Flash Builder do not have a timeline, but have a design view. Flash Builder is for robust applications that you can't do on Flash Professional. If you create a class on actionscript and you want use it in two different projects, the first developed on FB and the second one on FL, the class will not work in the same way.
Greetings from a Flash Builder developer that sometimes develop on Flash Professional
I'd recommedn, in order to find out what both programs are like, searching online (or YouTube) for videos about them. look for things like "intro to flash" or "intro to flash builder". It seems basic, I know, but for being a new comer to both programs, I think seeing some of the hundreds of videos that are out there could have some value.
I'm a Flash developer, and have very little experience with Flash Builder, so I'd be biased with saying "go with Flash". But, I do think it's a simple arropach that gives you a bit more design & animation freedom, and is easier to initially learner "the basics" compared to a professional development environment like Flash Builder.
Both will take time to learn. Flash Builder might "only" be a fairly easy thing to learn if you're already a developer who is familiar with other Eclipse-based programming environments and have experience with Object Oriented Programming.
If you want a basic interface with some basic functionality, Flash Builder seems more like a "swatting a mosquito with a canon" to me versus doing something similar in Flash Professional. But, again, I'm pretty biased, and others here could speak to Flash Builders defense I'm sure.
You say do my designing in flash and my coding in flashbuilder
It depends what you have in mind:
FB is usually overkill if you want to design a little PuzzleGame, or an Interactive Greeting Card etc. this can all be done in Flash alone.
Also it depends on how many people are involved in your project. Flash really sucks if you have are working in a team with more than 3-4 people.
Flashbuilder is much more stable than Flash.
does this mean I can easily switch back and fourth between programs?
you can switch back and forth, when you know what you are doing and bear in mind that not all functionalities overlap (FB: no timeline, no scenes, Flash:no MXML). But I would hardly call that easy.
Someone who has never used an IDE before will be easily get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of functionality FB offers, even experienced developers I know prefer some opensource tools like FlashDevelop which are for free, and can be expanded/enhanced based on your current skill-level.
If you are familiar with Adobe Products:
FB compares to Flash like After Effects to Premiere (in regard to complexity, learning curve etc.)
The previous reply was in early 2011 haha. I suppose better late than never?
To add in one more avenue, Flash Builder is built upon Eclipse. It should have been mentioned as an option. Eclipse with the FDT plugin is far superior to FlashDevelop (although I use all 3). It's a very usable and inexpensive solution.
I myself prefer as others have said, Flash Pro for factorizing objects and animation, Flash Builder to put it all together. Less efficient than Flex in overall project speed but far more device performance optimal when Stage3D is utilized.