About Flash Builder

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Adobe® Flash® Builder™ is an integrated development environment (IDE) for building cross-platform, rich Internet applications (RIAs) for the desktop and a wide variety of mobile devices. Flash Builder also includes testing, debugging, and profiling tools that lead to increased levels of productivity and effectiveness.

Flash Builder is built on top of Eclipse, an open-source IDE, and provides all the tools required to develop applications that use the Flex framework and ActionScript 3.0. Flash Builder runs on Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X, and is available in several versions. Installation configuration options let you install Flash Builder as a set of plug-ins in an existing Eclipse workbench installation or create a stand-alone installation that includes the Eclipse workbench.

Applications you can build with Flash Builder

You can build applications that use the Adobe Flex® framework, MXML, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe AIR, ActionScript 3.0, and LiveCycle Data Services, and the Adobe® Flex® Charting components:

Features that accelerate application development

Flash Builder has the tools you need to develop applications that use the Flex framework and ActionScript 3.0. You can:
  • Access data services - Use Flash Builder tools and wizards to create applications that access remote data services.

    See Accessing data services overview.

  • Customize the Flash Builder workbench - Customize the workbench to suit your individual development needs. For example, you can arrange the interface to include your favorite tools in a specific layout.

    See Customize the workbench.

  • Edit code - Write and edit your application source code using the code development tools in Flash Builder. The code development tools include code refactoring, code hinting, streamlined code navigation, and automatic syntax error checking, and other features.

    See Code Development Tools in Flash Builder.

  • Build a user interface - Use the MXML editor in Design mode to design applications using layout options, to drag components onto the design canvas and then reposition and resize them as needed, to simplify using view states, and so on.

    See Build user interfaces.

  • Publish source code - Publish your application source code so that users and other developers can view it .

    See Publish source code.

  • Manage projects, folders, files, and other resources - Create, modify, and delete projects and resources, link to resources outside your project, and so on.

    See Projects in Flash Builder and Project resources.

Features for running and debugging projects

Flash Builder includes building, testing, debugging, and profiling tools that help increase your productivity:
  • Build projects - Flash Builder automatically compiles and builds your applications for debugging or production release. You can also create custom build scripts using Apache Ant.

    See Build projects.

  • Run applications and manage launch configurations - Run your applications in a web browser, AIR, or the stand-alone Flash Player. Create custom launch configurations to control how your applications run.

    See Run and debug applications and Manage launch configurations.

  • Debug applications - Debug your applications using the integrated debugging tools.

    See Debugging Tools in Flash Builder.

  • Run and debug mobile applications - Run and debug your applications on the desktop or on a device.

    See Run and debug mobile applications.

  • Profile applications - Identify performance bottlenecks and memory leaks by using the profiling tools in Flash Builder.

    See Profiling Tools in Flash Builder.

  • Monitor applications that access data services - Use the Network Monitor to generate a detailed audit trail of all data passed between your application and the back end .

    See Monitor applications that access data services.

Flash Builder versions

Flash Builder is available in two versions: Standard and Premium.

Flash Builder Standard
Flash Builder Standard provides a full-featured IDE that allows you to create applications using the Flex framework and Flash API. Flash Builder Standard also includes MXML, ActionScript, and CSS editors, as well as debugging tools. Flash Builder Standard provides a library of interactive charts and graphs that enable you to create rich data dashboards, interactive data analysis, and data visualization components.

Flash Builder Premium
In addition to the Standard version features, Flash Builder Premium includes memory and performance profiling and automated testing tools. Use the Network Monitor to view the data that flows between a client application and a data service. The FlexUnit test environment allows you to generate and edit repeatable tests. The repeatable tests can be run from scripts or directly within Flash Builder or outside the Flash Builder environment. The Command Line Build feature allows you to synchronize a developer’s individual build settings with a nightly build.

Flash Builder for PHP Standard
Flash Builder for PHP Standard provides a full-featured PHP IDE that includes Flash Builder Standard integrated with Zend Studio 8. You can build mobile, web, and desktop applications using PHP, Flex, and ActionScript.

Flash Builder for PHP Premium
In addition to Standard version capabilities, Flash® Builder™ for PHP Premium includes professional testing tools, including profilers, network monitoring, an automated testing framework, integration with FlexUnit testing, and Command Line Build support.

For more information on Flash Builder for PHP, see Introducing Flash Builder for PHP.

Flash Builder configurations

Flash Builder provides a single downloadable installer with the following two configuration options:
Stand-alone configuration
Installs Flash Builder as a stand-alone integrated development environment (IDE). The stand-alone configuration is created specifically for developing applications that use the Flex framework and ActionScript 3.0. This configuration is ideal for new users and users who intend to develop applications using only the Flex framework and ActionScript 3.0.

Plug-in configuration
Configures Flash Builder to run as a plug-in within an existing Eclipse™ installation. You must have Eclipse 3.6 32 bit (Windows) or Eclipse 3.6 Cocoa 32 bit (Mac) or a higher version of Eclipse installed on your computer to run the plug-in configuration.

The Flash Builder plug-in and stand-alone configurations provide the same functionality. If you aren't sure which configuration to use, follow these guidelines:

  • If you already have Eclipse 3.6 or a higher version installed, use the plug-in configuration to add Flash Builder features to your existing copy of Eclipse.

  • If you don't have Eclipse installed and your primary focus is on developing Flex and ActionScript applications, use the Flash Builder stand-alone configuration. This configuration also allows you to install other Eclipse plug-ins to expand the scope of your development work in the future.

For detailed information about installing Flash Builder, see the Flash Builder 4.6 release notes.

Adobe Community Help Client (CHC)

Flash Builder uses the Adobe Community Help Client (CHC) as the search engine. The CHC is an AIR-based application that replaces the Eclipse Help engine for Flash Builder and is the platform for the next generation of Adobe Help delivery. CHC features include:
  • Always online

    If you have a network connection, the CHC accesses content from the web. The CHC ensures that you access the most up-to-date-material. It can also work in local mode if there is no Internet connection.

  • Search-centric

    Use Community Help search, adobe.com search, or local search. Community Help search aggregates resources, including resources from third-party sites. adobe.com search includes refinements to narrow your scope.

  • In-context navigation

    Provides a dynamically generated set of related links for key pages.

  • Rating and commenting

    Comment on, rate, and contribute to Help content and Adobe online resources from within the CHC. You need a valid Adobe ID to provide any feedback and rating.