Monday, September 11, 2006

Flex Builder 2.0 on Mac OSX - First Looks!!

(File this under "You heard it here first")

One advantage to being a technical evangelist for a large company is that I get first access to new technologies. Last week, while on an analyst tour in the UK, I got access to the pre-release version of Flex Builder for Mac OSX. (Note to self: I think I just admitted to being a geek). D’oh!!!

Installation is easy, in typical Mac style. All I had to do was unzip the file and double click on the app. The installer did the rest. Flex Builder 2.0 places an icon on both your desktop and toolbar on the Mac. Launching it is quicker than on my old PC (for comparison sake, I have a Macbook Pro (intel duo core chipset) running 2 GB RAM and OSX 10.4.7+). In fact, with Finder, Desktop, Word, Excel, PPT, FireFox, Safari, entourage, Acrobat Pro, System Profiler, Preview and my Cisco VPN client running, Flex Builder launches in 4 seconds from click to completion.

The first screens are largely the same as on Windows:

I wanted to try out the Hello World Application I wrote for my talks in the UK last week to see if any bugs were encountered before getting into more complex applications using E4X and other AS3 features. I used the Wizard to create a project in no time and it flawlessly set up the project and first main.mxml file.

Switching to the Design view worked perfectly too. I was able to quickly add a Panel, Text area and Button all within seconds. I decided to test out the text functionality so I switched the alignment to centre and changed the text size. No issues.

Code completion via Eclipse worked well too.

One minor glitch happened when I became lazy and decided to go to my PPT to cut and paste the syntax for the behavior on the button. When I searched the task bar for Flex Builder 2, it was advertised but as “Java”.

Of course, this is not a major issue as it was immediately clear to me what was going on. I had made a mistake on the syntax and saved the document. When I fixed the syntax and saved it a second time, the message disappeared (this was a pre-release bug in the PC version). I ran the program and it executed without a problem and only one minor nit. On a PC, when you run the program, it opens your browser and brings it to the front of the desktop so you can see your project (*.swf file within an HTML envelope) execute. On the Mac, I had to manually switch to the browser to see it. In fact, I had hit the run button twice not knowing that it had actually run the first time.

My early observations are very enthusiastic. My gut feeling is that it runs better on a Mac (certainly faster than the similarly equipped PC I was using). Hats off to the Flex Mac team!!! Stay tuned for more.


  1. I am so beyond all measure of jealous!!!! You lucky lukcy man.

    I am an Adobe Community Expert and a certified flex instructor and I cant seem to talk anyone into letting me "test" that app for them :)

  2. Ditto to Sim...

    While not a certified flex developer, I am an Adobe Community Expert and have been active in promiting the use of Flex to the OSX-using community. It seems that those of us out front, with a voice and skillz wouldn't really hurt anything when it comes to helping sort out the features in a product we'd use constantly.

    Good show, though... awesome to know it's coming!

  3. Like Simeon I'm also an Adobe Community Expert and a Certified Flex Instructor (since Flex 1) as well as a Mac user, if there's a line...

  4. let's see how long we have to wait for the linux release if there will be a linux release in the first place. :(
    To me it would be great to do all coding in zend studio & flexbiulder on linux.

  5. god dude - were you like coked or something? I was at the UK conference, and you, like, spent 20 mins showing us how to output 'Hello world' in a trace command, while rubbing your left nostril like a total fiend. I'd love to watch you do some more examples of Flex making things easier. It must be well funny

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  7. Awesome. I've been waiting on this for awhile. I do have one question: Will we have the choice to install Flex Builder as a standalone Eclipse-based application and an Eclipse plugin? I'm guessing we will if the release of Flex Builder 2 on Windows is any indication.

  8. What about the PowerPC?

  9. I have forwarded your names the Adobe Flex team. You will get notified when we do the next round of Beta testing. I hope it is not too long from now.


  10. Hey great site, you have a new fanboy! I work for a software company as a UI / Designer and we are moving more toward flex, this is my drive for the year. A little rough to get into being more from a UI / Design background, but I'm getting it ;) Can't wait for Flex on my MacPro desktop at home.. I see many "WFH" emails in my future!!!

  11. First time here. As a person getting into RIA flex seems like a good tool. However, the Adobe site doesn't propose a download for maac users as I have seen today. Where can we get Flex builder for mac?

  12. FB for Mac comes soon. Sorry I can't promise any date but know that the process is going as fast as it can. The growing contingent of us Mac users at Adobe is applying all the pressure we can on your behalf. Nevertheless, Adobe doesn't want to ship anything that might be sub-optimal.

    Stay tuned here ;-)

  13. pen me in on the next flex builder for os x beta.

  14. Good news to hear that mac version runs faster than pc version. However, I hope it comes out(beta or release) soon for I just couldn't wait.

  15. When is this event going to happen? Will it happen and if so, how can I siugn up to beta test? Creating an LDAP application for a company of over 6000 user would be a fun challenge with Flex.

  16. I'd love to get on the next beta test list, as well.

  17. Ooh, ooh, ooh! Beta tester here, too. Have been waiting for it since the original release of Flex 2.


    Thanks in advance!

  18. Hey!, any room for another beta tester??!! I'm Flex Developer since 2 years working in a mayor multinational company.
    Any chance to get to test the beta?!
    Thanks any way!

  19. Yes - anyone can download the Flex Builder for Mac free from Adobe Labs

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  21. Bumping into this article 1 year and about 5 months late I must say in hindsight was it all that is was cracked up to be. I personally don't think Flex made such an impression.

    I don't think there are enough developers behind it.

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    Busycode Inc. is a top Adobe Flex shop who develops Flex/AIR applications for clients.
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