Adobe has announced the availability of a new set of public betas for the Flash platform today, namely Adobe Flash Builder 4 (re-branded from Flex Builder), Flex 4 Framework and Adobe Flash Catalyst.
The first of the three is a software development kit that allows developers to code for the Flash platform and includes a software development kit, the Flex 4 Framework, as well as an IDE based on the open-source Eclipse platform. Its previous version was known as Flex Builder 3 but Adobe has decided to rename the product so as to remove some of the confusion among developers and to also better state the importance of the Flash brand and technology.
"When I ask people at conferences 'Who's a Flex developer?' many people are unsure how to answer. Why? Because some of you are using the Flex framework, to create Flex or AIR applications, and not our IDE (Flex Builder), some of you are using Flex Builder, but without using the Flex framework (you use ActionScript 3 to create Flash applications). Thus the uncertainty," said Mihai Corlan, Flash Platform evangelist, on the rebranding.
The free SDK Flex 4 Framework is also being released in beta, under the open-source Mozilla Public License, and it includes a compiler and a debugger. The Flex SDK focuses on three main themes:
“1. Design in Mind: providing a framework that supports a new degree of expressiveness, easily enabled with tools.
2. Developer Productivity: improving compiler performance and adding productivity enhancements to language features like data binding.
3. Framework Evolution: taking advantage of new Flash Player capabilities and adding features required by common use-cases.”
Flash Catalyst, formerly known as Thermo, is a tool for visually designing rich Internet applications without writing any code. This makes it simpler for designers to create a working application or mock-up to show the developers working on the backend. It aims to help bridge the gap between developer and designer and make it easier for them to work together.