Developing Flash Applications with Flex Builder

Flex Builder is built on top of Eclipse, and it allows you to develop Flash applications on Linux.

I made my question arrays and index variable global. I know it's frowned on, but it's convenient. Global variables must be defined outside all functions, so here I defined them immediately at the beginning of the code, before any function definitions.

In the application definition, I added the MXML creationComplete="initApp();", which says to run the function initApp after the form is initialized. initApp replaces the default text of the question and answers with the contents of the first column of the array.

For this article, the application is complete (Listing 4 shows the full, final code).

Flex is commercial software, totally nonfree (as in speech). It retails for $249. I worked with the trial version, which is free as in beer. It's labeled an alpha, but it worked extremely well. It literally never crashed. The missing features listed above didn't affect me much, but I'm not an experienced Eclipse or Flex user who might be depending on those things.

Adobe hasn't announced any plans to release Flex Builder 4 for Linux. However, it did just extend the free license of the Flex 3 alpha for more than a year. I was intrigued to find a Flex Builder project at Google Code, fb4linux (see Resources). A programmer is trying to single-handedly convert the Windows version to run on Linux. I installed it, and it seems to work surprisingly well. Unfortunately, the “More info” link leads to sole developer eshangrao's personal site, which is written in Chinese. Because I can't read Chinese, I can't say much more about it. The project is distributed with the original Adobe license and still requires a license code from Adobe to work.

In my next article on this discussion of Linux-based Flash/Flex development, I will evaluate Sprouts, a Ruby-centered development environment. Unlike Flex Builder, Sprouts is released under an open-source license (the MIT license). Sprouts is a command-line-only compiler and debugger, built around the Rake build language. I will give an overview of using Sprouts, how to port Flex Builder projects into the Sprouts environment, and I'll also finish the work on my Webcomics quiz, reading the questions from a server-based database and improving the appearance of the screens.

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Unfortunately, Flex for Linux Is Dead

Anonymous's picture

If you check carefully, you'll find that Flex Builder for Linux hasn't been updated in over a year (other than a minor release so that it would continue functioning after a cutoff date). I've discussed this issue with other Flex developers and unfortunately we all seem to be in agreement... Adobe is not going to continue developing on the Linux platform. You can simply look at the absence of any activity by Adobe on that subject especially after they just released a new version of Flex, now called Flash Builder 4.

Joe

P.S. Your article was nice.

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