About the rebranding of Flex Builder into Flash Builder

What’s this all about?

The next version of our IDE, Flex Builder, will be called Flash Builder 4. This summer, we will make available a public beta for Flash Builder 4 and Flash Catalyst (check Adobe Labs from time to time, because this is where we will make them available).

At the same time, we will not change the name of Flex Builder 3. This will stay as it is now. Furthermore, the names of the Flex framework, and the Flex SDK, remain unchanged. The same goes for Flash Professional, which remains unchanged.

Why we are doing this?

This has happened to me more than once. When I ask people at conferences “Who’s a Flex developer?” many people are unsure how to answer. Why? Because some of you are using the Flex framework, to create Flex or AIR applications, and not our IDE (Flex Builder), some of you are using Flex Builder, but without using the Flex framework (you use ActionScript 3 to create Flash applications). Thus the uncertainty.

Of course, the correct answer is this: anyone who uses the Flex framework, is a Flex developer. It doesn’t matter what tools you use to create these applications. At the same time, any Flex application gets compiled into a SWF file, which is played by the Flash Player. The same happens with the applications written using ActionScript and not the Flex framework.

So looking at it from this perspective, I think it makes a lot of sense. Have the developer tool that is used for creating Flash/AIR applications with or without the Flex framework called Flash Builder 4.

Flex framework Flash CatalystFlash Builder

What’s next?

We are working on the next versions of our tools and framework. As I said, this summer, on Adobe Labs, we will launch the beta versions of Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder 4. Both of these products will work with the upcoming version of our framework, Flex 4 (codename Gumbo).

I’m really curious about your feelings. Please feel free to drop a comment, if you wish!

16 thoughts on “About the rebranding of Flex Builder into Flash Builder

  1. Even if it makes sense from a marketing perspective I have to get used to it. You fought years to make everyone understand what Flex is and all of a sudden alll changes again. It`s like your girlfriend decides to change her name ;-) Will take a while to get used to it – but as long as she still keeps that look :-)

  2. @Benz

    A change is a change, it takes a while to get used to it. But when it is for good, then I think it is worth it.

    However, I think all the “fight” to explain what Flex is, is not for vain, because the framework continues to be called Flex. Isn’t it? ;)

  3. I think this is a long overdue change. I’ve been ‘arguing’ for a couple of years that Flex is but a framework on steroids — having its own XML dialect, IMO, takes it a notch up over a ‘typical’ framework. Because everything you do with Flex ends up as a compiled SWF, I think this keeps things grouped properly in the Flash world.

    This will actually make it much easier for me to communicate to my clients: no bouncing back and forth between Flex/Flash in discussions.

    Good call, Adobe and keep up the great work with the Flex SDK, Gumbo, etc.

  4. I am a Flash Applications Developer. I work with ActionScript and MXML. My IDEs are Flex Builder (primarily) and Flash Professional (sometimes). I use the Flex SDK to develop the majority of my apps.

    So, in the end, I think the name change makes sense. One would not call themselves a “Cake Developer” if they were using PHPCake to develop PHP apps, or “Struts Developer” simply because you used Struts to develop your Java apps. The name change helps clarify the platform better, eliminate confusion when talking platforms to executives, and lends more to the applications as being a development tool for the Flash platform rather than being thought of as a development tool for a specific framework.

    Kudos to Adobe :D

  5. Hi,

    So if I use the flex framework to build air apps – how is that flash developing?

    Surely you use flex builder to build flex apps – you dont use it to build purely flash projects surely thats what flash pro is about.

    I just think this will create as many issues as it solves. If you say you build apps in flash your going to get as many questions along the lines of – oh so its a banner ad? as you will the other way.

    Just seems a pointless change.

  6. @peter

    I think that usually the clients don’t really care about what are your tools to build the application. Having said that, it means you can say to your clients I am using the Flex framework to build web app (that runs inside Flash Player), or to build an AIR application (that runs as a desktop client).

    What do you think?

  7. As I now Adobe has a beta version of Flex Builder for Linux. What will be happened now? Will it be a Flash Builder 4 for Linux?

  8. Hi
    Are there any plans to release something along the lines of a Flex Builder Express edition? Microsoft puts out a lot of Express edition products and it now fully supports Silverlight development. I think Adobe should provide something along the same lines – a scaled down version of the Flex IDE. Just my 2c…

  9. I think Adobe is going a little bit crazy about all its products. Flash Professional CS4 (isn’t confusing they just have a product called this way?) comes with a very useful tool that lets you to totally change the IDE based on how you think you will use it. This means you can use the Flash IDE like any other programming IDE you can find around. If the problem is the Timeline and the MovieClip, it’s better to remember to everybody that almost EVERY developement tool has its own peculiarities. So, why Macromedia and Adobe decided not to use the Flash IDE anymore if that IDE can be easily customized?? Maybe, simply to attract developers who were just used to work with Eclipse and similar tools. This does not in any case means that the Flash developer does not exist and that every developer abandoned Flash to use Flex: this is not true and someone should point this out more firmly than I can. We’re all here building swfs and Flex is not always so flexible. Moreover, Adobe should seriously support other IDEs, like Visual Studio, for example and working hard to integrate .NET and swf, before Silverlight becomes a serious competitor. My 2 cents.

  10. @Yann Nicolas
    For now we don’t have any news regarding the Linux version of FB.

    @Kris
    I think it’s an excellent idea. When we will have something like this, you will find the info on my blog ;)

  11. @Gabriela

    The renaming doesn’t have anything to do with Flash Professional. Flash Professional is an excellent product, and as you pointed there are more than 1 million people using.

    However the name of our Eclipse based IDE (Flex Builder) was a little bit of misleading for many people. Flex SDK, Flex framework, Flex Builder. Too many, and in the end for people having to explain to their clients the technology they want to used to create the app, it was a pain.

    Regarding the support for .NET, we are very seriously. In the current version (Flex Builder 3) we added support for Flex projects for ASP .NET. There are two plugins for Visual Studio to create Flex projects or ActionScript. Both are free: Tofino and Amethyst. For more you can read my post here:
    http://corlan.org/flex-frameworks/
    I know this is different from an official plugin from Adobe. But at the same time, our client side technology can talk to any server side technology. And there are so many…

  12. Pingback: Flex Builder 4 (”Gumbo”) to be named Flash Builder | Loyal Moses

  13. Though I’m used to the old name, I totally support the change!

    It should have been done for years! Flex really confused people.

  14. Thanks for the mention of Amethyst ;-)

    Can I make a clarification to the statement that Amethyst is ‘free’ however. Amethyst is currently in development (public beta 5) and we plan to have two editions. The free one will be Amethyst Personal. This will have all the essential features for editing, debugging, IntelliSense etc. and it be installed into either a standard or a free (shell) edition of Visual Studio so the free edition really is completely free.

    The other edition, Amethyst Professional, will also have refactoring, a drag-and-drop visual designer for Flex and AIR, enhanced debugging (tracepoints, conditional breakpoints etc.) and other features which we will announce closer to the release date. This edition will not be free.

    best wishes

    Huw Collingbourne

  15. Even if it makes sense from a marketing perspective I have to get used to it. You fought years to make everyone understand what Flex is and all of a sudden alll changes again. It`s like your girlfriend decides to change her name ;-) Will take a while to get used to it – but as long as she still keeps that look :-)

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