Well, the time so many of us have been eagerly awaiting for the last two years has arrived, and its no surprise that the twitter-verse, facebook-verse, linkedin-verse, and other social media universes are buzzing quite loudly with the news already, before it even had a chance to hit the tabloids (no surprise there). I’m sure there are many Flex developers wondering:
What can I expect to see in this new release?
Is it a lot different from the public beta 2 that was on Adobe Labs for Max?
There’s a lot to cover, but here is the start to what will likely be a lot of upcoming posts…
One of the most significant things to take place after the beta 2 was the porting of the rest of the Flex 3 components (with the exception of DataGrid, AdvancedDataGrid, and OLAPDataGrid) to the Spark library, complete with the wonderful new Spark architecture, which adds a huge amount of scalability by separating the display logic from the encapsulated functionality of the component. Personally, that is one of the things I’m most excited about.
Additionally, code hinting and code generation is now a LOT more useful, which becomes exponentially more apparent as your Flex 4 applications get more and more complex. What does this mean for you as a Flex developer?
3 words: WRITE CODE FASTER!
Its true, as you get used to taking advantage of the code hinting, code generation, and service generating features (among other things), you’ll notice that your workflow will improve dramatically. I admittedly have been using the Pre-release and beta versions of Flash Builder 4 (but with SDK 3.4 or 3.5) for enterprise clients for over a year now. While everyone else was still coding in Flex Builder 3, I was consistently able to complete a task comparatively quicker using Flash Builder 4. Unfortunately, being on the version 3 SDK, I didn’t get the level of code-hinting that you get when using version 4, but the code generating facilities and enhanced project navigation alone made it so much easier to build very complex Flex apps.
Of course, a lot of work was also done on stabilization and A LOT of bug fixes!
Now that v4 is out of beta, I’m excited about the fact that clients will be much more inclined to use it, and rightfully so. The bottom line is simple: Flex 4 SDK and Flash Builder 4 extend their predecessors by leaps and bounds. The great news is that there is a lot of support for backward compatibility to ease the transition from 3 to 4 for apps that are in active development and want to take advantage of the features that ship with the new releases.
Ironically, today also marks the day of having completed our revisions to the chapters of Flex 4 in Action, being published by Manning Press. You can find the early access edition here. Our revisions come as the result of the extremely valuable feedback given to us by our reviewers, to whom we are very grateful.