Flash Builder 4.5 - unifies Android, iOS and Blackberry
Written by David Conrad   
Monday, 11 April 2011

Deciding which approach to use to create a web app or a mobile app just got that much more difficult because of Adobe's release of a preview of Flash Builder 4.5.

Flash is not just a way of showing videos inside a browser. It is a complete development environment based on Action Script - a JavaScript like language - and a class library that provides all of the facilities you need to create an app. It is like a mini-platform all on its own and it will run on any platform that the infrastructure is ported to. It really is potentially a run-anywhere development system that can create applications that run in the browser using the Flash plugin or on the desktop using Flex AIR.

Of course what matters is the number of different platforms that the environment is supported on and Adobe has announced that Flash Builder 4.5 will now create standalone Flex AIR applications for Android, Blackberry and iOS devices. You need some extra tools for the Blackberry and neither the Blackberry or iOS systems are quite ready for use just yet. Even so, being able to build apps for three mobile devices using the same language and the same framework is a big step forward.

 

FlexAIR

In addition there is now support for PHP. FlashBuilder now integrates with Zend Studio 8. The idea seems to be that you use PHP for the server side and Flash for the client side and the development environment makes it easier to make the connection. You can for example connect to PHP data services and generally access PHP objects from within ActionScript code.

There are lots of other "minor" improvements in Flash Builder but the most important is probably that it has moved on to Eclipse version 3.6.1 (Helios).

Checkout the Adobe promo video:


It is too early to say how well any of this works but the finished products should be available some time in the early summer 2011. A lot will depend on how well the mobile extensions support access to the underlying device hardware without destroying the platform independence.

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More Information

What's new- flashbuilder 4.5

How do you write a Web App?

Getting started with Flash development

 

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