The mysterious “June update” is out ! It’s Flash Builder 4.5.1. I’m a Flex developer and I AM SUPER EXCITED. For many years, I have been able to build first-class web applications and even desktop apps thanks to the AIR runtime. This morning I woke up, and I discovered a new skill: I’m now a mobile application developer and I can run my apps on Android, iOS and the PlayBook. I love this new spell. You can now build and deploy your Flex applications on Android, iOS and the BlackBerry Playbook and the applications perform great. A Flash Builder 4.5.1 developer can target Web applications, desktop apps, mobile and tablet apps. Thanks to Flash Player, Flex developers can reach 98% of web users (desktop users). Now that they can package native applications for Android, iOS and the Playbook, they can also reach a big majority of smartphones and tablet devices. That’s why I wanted to challenge myself in this video.
The challenge is quite simple: develop a twitter app, deploy it on an Android device, on the iPad and on the Playbook in less than 10 minutes. Do you think I can make it ? Answer at the end:
I nailed it in 8 minutes and 34 seconds ! Flash Builder 4.5.1 is really impressive as a coding environment, but also the “debug and deploy” experience is so unique. Some additional comments:
- Flex 4.5.1 and the new mobile framework are very easy-to-learn and efficient. You should be able to build your first mobile application in a few minutes! Seriously, what are you waiting for ?
- The coding part of my challenge is fast thanks to the new coding productivity features of Flash Builder 4.5. If you’re still using Flash Builder 3 or 4, please consider upgrading to 4.5 just for the coding experience. You’ll save a lot of time. I also used the data wizards to generate a bridge with Twitter. Check out the new coding productivity features here.
- To deploy it on Android, just turn on the development mode on your device, plug it via USB and you’re done. You can deploy your application. Very easy.
- To deploy it on iOS, get a developer certificate on the Apple.com website and create a provisioning file for your application. Holly just published a tutorial that describes the full process. Flash Builder 4.5.1 directly packages your app as an IPA file. Use iTunes to deploy it on your device. In the video, I’m using the “Fast Packaging” option. You obtain an IPA in a few seconds, but it’s just for testing purposes as the performance is not as good as a “Standard Packaging” process. But it can take several minutes to package your app with the standard option… so.
- On the PlayBook, we still must wait for the PlayBook OS update that will embed AIR 2.7. I think that this update will happen in the coming days. That’s why I have to change some compilation parameters in the video to run it on this device. But usually, you just have to plug your device and deploy your application as the AIR runtime is by default installed on the PlayBook.
- Remember that if you have a Flash Builder license, you don’t have to buy the full product again. You can just upgrade it (it’s only $49 to upgrade your Flash Builder 4 license for instance).
- If you have developed a Flex application for these three platforms, please contact me. I’d like to get some feedback on this new development workflow.
- Last point: HAVE FUN! As you can see, I can code an app dancing and singing (although “dancing” is not part of my DNA). Mobile development is a fantastic new territory for our community. Thanks to Flash Builder 4.5.1, we have a unique value proposition: “One code base, one skill, one tool for multiscreen”