10 Replies Latest reply on May 6, 2011 4:23 AM by Drew747

    Flash Builder is an Unprofessional Beta

    Master_Will Level 1


      In Spring of 2011, I was very excited at the fact that we would be using Adobe Flash Builder 4 in a semester-long software engineering class project at a leading university.  I had used many Adobe products in the past and was very happy with them, particularly Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver.  I had also been wanting to learn ActionScript/Flex, and this project would give me the opportunity.  However, after extensive use of Flash Builder, I have realized that this product was the biggest let down since Windows Vista.



      There were several people working on the same project using Subversion.  In addition, we would have a lab session once a week using different computers, so it was necessary to frequently import projects into Flash Builder.  Importing Flex Projects was the most annoying and time consuming aspect of many.  Firstly, when one selects the import option, a dialog is presented and is positioned mostly off screen.  It is necessary for one to drag the dialog to the screen manually every time.  In addition, the path of recent projects is not saved, so one must manually navigate to the proper directory each time.  Since there were so many problems with projects falling apart, many imports were necessary.  It is necessary to manually navigate through the long hierarchy of directories to reach the project.  This is very time consuming and unproductive.



      After the import, the project will not run because of some problem finding the HTML files.  It was necessary to create new projects from scratch and do a lot of copying/pasting until a team member directed me to delete the html-template directory.  I am not sure how he came across this tip, as I had searched the Internet for solutions to no avail.  One more tedious step is necessary.  The html-template directory needs to be recreated, and the only way, at least that I see, is to rebuild the project, then after the error appears in the Problems window, right-click the error and select Recreate HTML Templates.  That’s quite a bit of work, and maybe there should be an explicit option to recreate HTML templates that’s not buried as a right-click option in the errors list.



      This leads to the next problem.  Errors do not appear in the code until the file is saved.  Every time I type in a new statement, it is necessary to save the file in order to see if there are any errors.  This is very counterproductive.  In addition, it would be much more productive to add a feature in the code hints that would allow for mouse wheel scrolling.  It takes much longer to navigate through the hints without this feature.



      Another problem related to importing projects is with executing it.  Sometimes after importing a new project, a dialog displays that says that it may be necessary to restart the browser.  This turned out to be a huge problem, as I frequently have many, many Firefox tabs/windows open at a given time.  It is very unproductive to restart Firefox several times until the project finally imports correctly.  Sometimes it will work without restarting, however, and I cannot pinpoint any differences between when it works and when it doesn’t.  This may be related to the Flash plugin as opposed to Flash Builder.



      This leads to another problem.  For testing purposes, sometimes it is necessary to locally run the HTML file in the bin-debug directory.  Even after a successful import and rebuilding of the HTML template, the Flash content will not load at all – just a blank screen.  Sometimes the content will load, but it will not function correctly.  If I upload the files to a live web server, it works just fine.  However, sometimes it is necessary to run the HTML files locally, and it is very inefficient to have to upload/run to/from a web server.



      After all the trial and error of simply importing a project and when you think you’re making progress, something happens to the project along the way.  All of a sudden when you try to execute an MXML application, which is in the same directory of several others, only one certain MXML application decides to run (when you are trying to run another one).  The only workaround that I found is to either bring up a backup or create a new project and copy/paste the code.  This is highly unproductive.



      All the inefficiencies and bugs in Flash Builder made it necessary for me to make constant backups.  When a project fell apart, I had to open a backup and copy/paste the code.  This was a lot of wasted time.  In addition, I learned early on not to count on Flash Builder when presenting or making minor, last minute changes before a presentation.  Flash Builder always managed to encounter some strange problem. 



      Flash Builder is unreliable and highly inefficient.  I love Adobe products and Flash is great, but at this time I can no longer use or support Flash Builder, and I could in no way justify its purchase in the future until most of these bugs and inefficiencies are fixed.  It has potential, and could be a great product if this were the case, but in my experience I spent more time overcoming bugs than coding.  When something would not work right, I first had to determine whether it was a bug in my code or a bug in Flash Builder.  If Adobe needs an engineer to fix some of these seemingly simple issues, I would be willing to take on the task for the sake of saving this potentially amazing product.






        • 1. Re: Flash Builder is an Unprofessional Beta
          Level 2

          it's a beta. it stunk. but they put it out for review which helps Adobe and others. But never treat those products as stuff to base your serious work around. Flex3 is stable. FB4 is 90% reliable. Things are still broken in it.


          btw if it was a leading university why in the world would they base it around a Beta that was buggy or was that your decision ?


          now, since I helped, please give me my 5 or 10 points.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Flash Builder is an Unprofessional Beta
            Master_Will Level 1

            Thanks for the reply but I think FB4 is not officially considered a beta, it's just what I call it.  They charge for the software and it is part of Adobe CS5.

            • 3. Re: Flash Builder is an Unprofessional Beta
              Level 2

              oh you were being sarcastic. sorry i thought you meant you were using the Preview beta of Burrito 4.5


              Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 08:36:48 -0600

              From: forums@adobe.com

              To: drewpierce@live.com

              Subject: Flash Builder is an Unprofessional Beta


              Thanks for the reply but I think FB4 is not officially considered a beta, it's just what I call it.  They charge for the software and it is part of Adobe CS5.


              • 4. Re: Flash Builder is an Unprofessional Beta
                Master_Will Level 1

                After overall consideration, the back-end is pretty good (Flex).  It's just that, even though I'm hard to anger, FB was unreliable and labor-intensive, even for a basic project.  I just needs front-end implementation.  The Tortoise SVN software also gave me problems, but was able to work around.



                • 5. Re: Flash Builder is an Unprofessional Beta
                  rdgrimes Level 1

                  Too bad you were incapable of reading the FAQ for Adobe Burrito (beta of Flash Builder 4.5). They explicitly said to NOT use the Burrito project for production or anything critical as it was subject to frequent change.


                  Apparently, in universities, folks don't read the instructions either. It's pretty much understood by most of us that Adobe publishes their Flex SDK as open source and, as such, depends on help from the community to find and report bugs. You are basically getting all of their work for free. The only thing they charge for is the IDE, which, in my opinion, is very cheaply priced.


                  I'm amazed at the number of whiners who get stuff for free, don't follow instructions, and then ***** about what they get.



                  Ron Grimes

                  • 6. Flash Builder 4.0 - Not Quite There
                    Master_Will Level 1

                    Thanks for your reply.  I attempted to change the title of my original post to "Flash Builder 4.0 - Not Quite There" because some folks were incapable of reading that I wasn't talking about 4.5 Burrito, but Flash Builder 4.0 (see previous post from dpierce747).  However, ironically, some people don't believe in improving a good thing.


                    And while I did acquire the product for free, merely because it was for educational use, I was very stricken that the most basic and fundamental features that software engineers expect are either not there or severely flawed.  This is a problem, because when I'm ready to spend and make money, I may think twice before investing in Adobe products and technologies.  When an engineer spends more time overcoming bugs prevalent in the IDE he's working with, he is not likey to use that technology in the future.


                    At least it's a good thing that I'm from a different breed.  I may give Flash Builder another chance some day, but I will do some major cost-benefit analysis before hand.

                    • 7. Re: Flash Builder is an Unprofessional Beta
                      Sal` Level 1

                      Don't worry..... the release is even worst!

                      I was stuck 2 days on trying ONLY to create a flex project with a custom output dir! Impossible to do with wizard.

                      Also its missing iOS stuff.

                      Zend studio 8.0 is messy like it was as a standalone product and doesn't allow you to use xDebug or any other web server that isn't Zend server (not included).

                      I think we need to wait for the next version or the first update.

                      • 8. Re: Flash Builder 4.0 - Not Quite There
                        rdgrimes Level 1

                        It's not that people are incapable of reading that you wrote "Flash Builder 4". You were complaining about using an unprofessional beta in Spring 2011. I'm sure anyone reading that would think you must mean the Burrito beta because Flash Builder 4 has been GA for over a year now. So, why would anyone still be using a beta version of it?


                        If that's the case, your whining makes even less sense. And, if you were just being sarcastic, as another indicated, then you should know sarcasm in a post doesn't go over well, since your tone can't be heard.


                        I've developed a lot of enterprise level projects with Flex 3 and Flash Builder 4. Never had any trouble with the products.



                        • 9. Re: Flash Builder 4.0 - Not Quite There
                          Master_Will Level 1

                          I WAS using the full release version (allegedly) of Flash Builder 4.0.  I took the liberty of calling it a beta because that should be its classification.  Sorry for the confusion.


                          In any event, as another indicated, the Burrito project sounds just as flawed.  The point I'm trying to make here is that if you want people to start using your framework, then basic elements of human-computer interaction, which were solved back in the 1990s, should be featured in its associated IDE.



                          • 10. Re: Flash Builder 4.0 - Not Quite There
                            Level 2

                            I found in a few cases I was just doing things wrong like Data Services. I was convinced it was broken. of course the introspection was a nightmare but once i overcame that it has been smooth sailing.


                            pretty fortunate we have a responsive forum to help each other out.