What's new in Flash Builder 4? All of this…

If you haven’t had time to explore the previous public beta releases of Flash Builder 4, you might be wondering what’s new in Flash Builder 4 – even if you have, there are some new additions post beta 2 and maybe some features that you’ve missed.

Our product marketing team have done a great job at summarizing the new features here, but in case you want the detail on every new feature included this version of the product (and there are 70+ new features) I’ve listed them out below, together with links to documentation so that you can learn more.

Working with projects

Convert to server project – converts a non-server Flex project to a server project (using PHP, ColdFusion, BlazeDS, LCDS or .NET)

Convert to AIR project – converts a Flex project targeting Flash Player to an AIR project

Package explorer – provides a hierarchical view of the project, packages, classes, referenced libraries and other assets

Expand compiled assets – introspect classes within a referenced SWC library

HTML wrapper – wrapper code for Flex application uses SWFObject

MX-only workflow – take advantage of Flex 4 language features and compiler, without using the Spark component set

FXP export – save a Flex project as an FXP file

>> More information on working with projects can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

Code editing

Updated content assist – code hinting/completion for all Flex 4 language features, classes and components

Generate getter/setter – replace an existing public variable definition with private variable and public getter and setter

Generate event handler – create an event handler function for an event on a component

Generate service call – generate a method for calling an operation for a defined service

File template support – edit default templates for MXML, ActionScript and CSS files

ASDoc content display – hover over code or use code hinting to display ASDoc information

ASDoc panel –select code to display information in ASDoc panel

States code visibility – de-emphasize code that is not applicable to the current state

Move refactoring – move multiple classes and packages within a project

Rename refactoring – rename classes and packages within a project

Indent code – correct indentation on selected code (with preferences to control indentation style)

Content assist proposal cycling – refine hints shown for code completion, select from: All, Properties, Events, Effects, Styles

Content assist camel case – type camel case characters to view matching properties (e.g. ADG for Advanced Data Grid)

View call hierarchy – display all the callers of a selected function, variable, class, or interface identifier

Organize imports – alphabetically sort import statements for required classes

Override indicators – icon in the gutter bar in code view indicates which methods are overridden

Indent on code paste – code pasted into an existing class or MXML document is automatically indented

Code folding – expand/collapse blocks of ActionScript code

>> More information on code editing features can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

Profiler

Show N Paths to GCRoot – Expand a path to an instance of an object to view whether there is a back-reference to GC Root

>> More information on the profiler can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

Debugger improvements

Expression evaluations – inspect and modify code expressions that are evaluated whenever debugging is selected

Run to line debug – command to break out of a loop during a debugging session

Conditional breakpoints – specify conditions for breakpoints to stop the debugger from executing when specific conditions are met

Watchpoints – halt execution when the watched variable changes value

>> More information on debugging can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

Testing

Unit testing – generate and edit repeatable FlexUnit tests that can be run from scripts or directly within Flash Builder

Automation support for Spark components

Automation support for Adobe AIR applications

>> More information on unit testing can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

>> More information on testing and automation can be found in the Flex 4 documentation.

Connect to data

Services explorer – view, edit and use service operations and data types

Services wizard – generate client-side data model and service operations for data services

Service generation from database – generate sample server-side CRUD code based on database tables

Service introspection – support for the following data services:

  • XML (local)
  • Web Services
  • BlazeDS
  • LCDS
  • PHP
  • ColdFusion
  • HTTP

Network monitor – examine the data that flows between an application and a data service, as well as XML, AMF, and JSON data, which are sent using SOAP, AMF, HTTP, and HTTPS protocols

Service operation testing – call service operations, pass parameters and inspect returned data

Authentication for services – support for service operations that require authentication

Data management – generate code that enables synchronization of updates to data on the server from the client application

Data paging – generate code that supports incremental fetching of data from the server based on user interaction

Bind data to controls – drag and drop configuration of service operations to UI components in design view

>> More information on accessing data with Flex can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

UI development

Theme selector – browse and apply graphical and CSS-based themes to a Flex application

Appearance panel – make changes to application-wide styles using the property inspector panel

Configure data grid columns – visually configure columns and column properties

Form generation – create user interface form layouts based upon a data model

Details form generation – create master/detail form layouts based upon a data model

Chart generation – create data-bound charting controls from service operations

Design view render graphics tags, spark skins – high-fidelity preview of user interface within design view, with full support for Flash Catalyst projects

Create/Edit component skin – generate template skins, copy existing skin or edit skin for a Spark component

Create/Edit Item renderer – generate template item renderer or edit item renderer for Spark-based components and MX tree, datagrid and advanced datagrid components

Layout control – adjust properties for Flex 4 layouts using the property inspector panel

>> More information on building a user interface can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

Designer/developer workflow

FXP import – import existing Flex projects or projects from (the upcoming version of) Flash Catalyst into a new or existing Flex project

FXPL import into existing project – import component skin libraries from (the upcoming version of) Flash Catalyst

Fix Catalyst font embeds – fixes references to locally installed fonts that are not available in the same location

Flash Professional project support – create projects linked to an FLA, launch/test/publish in (the upcoming version of) Flash Professional from Flash Builder

Flash Professional component launch and edit – insert FLA-based component in design view and roundtrip with (the upcoming version of ) Flash Professional to edit/update

Theme import – import packaged theme assets for use with theme browser feature

>> More information on working with projects can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

Deployment

Command line builds – synchronize individual build settings with a nightly build environment

>> More information on using command line builds can be found in the Flash Builder documentation.

Documentation

Community-based Help – find help content from both Adobe-authored documentation and community resources. Comment upon and rate content within the help client.

Updated documentation – Flash Builder 4 & Flex 4 books
New documentation – Accessing data with Flex 4 book and Flex migration guide
New online materials – TestDrive and Flex 4 in a Week

Phew… as I think you’ll agree, that’s quite a list 🙂

If you haven’t yet tried out Flash Builder 4, you can download a 60 day trial version from here.

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One Response to What's new in Flash Builder 4? All of this…

  1. Pingback: Flash Builder 4 « Rendezvous with technology

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