Yes! This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for so long. After a long series of beta and prerelease versions, the new Flex 4 SDK has been officially released. And of course, this release is also accompanied with the release of Flash Builder 4. This is the new version of Flex Builder (for those of you who live on another planet and haven’t heard of it yet) and it contains a lot of great new and improved features:
- Data/Services panel to allow a very easy connection with different kinds of back end technologies such as ColdFusion, Java, PHP and HTTP services.
- Automatic Data Transfer Object (Value Object) creation based on the return types of the services
- Drag & drop attachment of data to visual components
- Enhanced refactoring support
- Code generation of getters and setters
- Network traffic monitoring
- Enhanced memory profiling support
I’ve been working with the prerelease versions for quite some time now and I must say I’m pretty found of the new features they’ve put in there. In short, this is one release you want to upgrade to as soon as possible. So, go ahead and point your browser to http://www.adobe.com/products/flex/ and download the latest version.
As second important release is ColdFusion Builder. In the early days you had ColdFusion Studio, but other than that, there was no real specific ColdFusion IDE available. So developers had to work with Dreamweaver and open source Eclipse plug-ins such as CFEclipse. But now, there is finally another new and improved ColdFusion IDE available and it’s called ColdFusion Builder. It is also based on Eclipse, which means that you can either install it as a stand-alone version or as a plug-in on top of your existing Eclipse installation. That means that you can also write your own extensions for ColdFusion Builder to help you (and other developers) write code a lot easier. You can have extensions for code snippets, templates, query generation etc. You even have an extension to help you write your own extensions!
This is similar to what you can do with Flash Builder as well, so if you’re a Flex developer and you also use ColdFusion as back end technology, you might be better off integrating both development environments into the same IDE. That can save you a lot of time not having to switch tools all the time. Just go ahead and download it at http://www.adobe.com/products/coldfusion/.
The last release of today is the Flash Platform Services for Social Network Integration. Wow, now that’s a term to remember. But what the hell does it mean? Well for starters it means that Adobe is making life simple for people who want to connect their Flash applications to social networks. The Social service has the following benefits:
- One API connects your application with multiple social networks
- The service adapts to social network changes so you don’t need to recompile your application
- Multiple pricing plans available
The social service consists of three parts:
- A simple ActionScript 3 API, which can be implemented in Flash or Flex and aggregates the different social network APIs, including Facebook Connect
- Plug-and-play widgets that use the social API for login, share, invite, select friends and other commands
- Dashboard analytics for reviewing and optimizing your social performance
Now, what does all that mean? Well, it means that you no longer have to worry about the ever changing Facebook or Twitter APIs, because the Social services will take care of the for you. You just write your code against the Social services API and the changes in the network services such as Facebook or Twitter are being monitored by Adobe and Gigya to make sure your applications don’t break when a new API is released. If you want to know more about this, you can always look at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplatform/services/social/.
So, I must say that today is a very big day in my professional life, since I’m working with both Flex and ColdFusion. From now on, life as a Flex developer is going to be a lot easier…