Welcome Flex 4 (And for IPP Native Developers…Now What?)

Hello!!  My name is Anjali Kucheria and I’ve recently become a Developer Relations Engineer at the Intuit Partner Platform (IPP) team.  I’ve been a Flex Developer for some time now, specifically focused on the user-interface, styling and skinning aspects of development. I’m super enthused about my new role.  I’m also very excited about the launch of Adobe's new Flex SDK. I’m sure Flex developers will rejoice in  the enhancements in this new release!

Recently, Adobe released its much-awaited  version of the Flex Framework (Flex 4). Developed under the code name ''Gumbo", Adobe has enhanced the framework in several ways (Note: The Flex 4 development environment will be known henceforth as Adobe Flash Builder (previously known as Adobe Flex Builder):

•    Bridging the gap between designers and developers.  Adobe has built a new, comprehensive UI framework known as Spark.  Spark lies on top of the existing MX architecture, allowing the MX components to easily integrate with the new Spark components.  Spark also carries with it a new approach to skinning.  At a high-level, the new framework provides a clear delineation between the “look” of a component and the wiring behind a component.  For more information see  brief overview of the Spark architecture and component set".

•    Did you find yourself constantly struggling with the idea of States in Flex 3? Have no fear, With Flex 4, Adobe promises to unravel some of the complexities surrounding this often confusing, but also useful concept.  No longer will you need to use the <mx:SetProperty> for changes to button properties; Flex 4 denotes states simply by a dot notation   within the original component. For a more detailed explanation see: Flex 3 vs Flex 4 State Management.

•    Flex 4 allows you to connect to data services seamlessly.  For those who’ve done this with prior Flex releases, you will be pleasantly surprised with the new simplicity and intuitiveness.  The provided wizard interface eliminates common errors and misunderstandings and allows you to simply enter the required URLs.  To learn more, see Flex 4 & Data Wizards Make Life Easy.

•    Flex 4 allows for far more flexibility with layouts than in previous versions. Flex 4 introduces   layout objects which separates the layout logic from the component itself,  allowing far more design ingenuity. 

•    Flex 4 simplifies 2 way binding greatly.  All that a developer needs to do is add the ‘@’ character to the property that is to be bound.  For example to bind the text property of one Text areato another,  it can be done like this:

<mx:TextArea id=”textArea1”/>

<mx:TextArea id=”textArea2” text=’@{testArea1.text}’ />

What does this mean to IPP "Native" Developers?

We’ve developed a two-phased approach to transition our developers to the Flex 4 SDK and Adobe Flash Builder 4. What you can expect in the coming months:

•    We will be supporting Adobe Flash Builder 4(FB4) with the IPP SDK tools.  Initially, we will support FB4 with the Flex 3 SDK only.  If you choose to upgrade to FB4, you will automatically be upgraded to JVM 1.6.  For those who develop on a Mac and choose to upgrade to FB4, please be sure you run, or upgrade to, Snow Leopard.  Your application will not be backwards compatible.   Our recommended install is during this phase is Eclipse (Ganyanede 3.4/Galileo 3.5) with Flex 3.4 SDK and the Flash Builder 4 plugin.

•    Subsequently, we will support the Flex 4 SDK.  Once this upgrade occurs, your application can fully utilize the Fx and Spark component architecture (along with the existing Mx components) along with the state, layout and other Flex 4 SDK enhancements.

More details about IPP’s integration and support of the new Flex tools and SDK will be furnished upon the IPP tools 2.7 release.

In the meantime, we invite you to comment, ask questions/concerns you may have with regards to the Flex 4 and we will provide the necessary guidance. Also, please visit the forums IPP developer forums which is a great resource to post your questions as well as see other developers concerns and questions and the solutions. 








2 responses to “Welcome Flex 4 (And for IPP Native Developers…Now What?)”

  1. Ryan Avatar

    Any updates on FB 4 support? I don’t recall seeing any mention in the IPP 2.7 release notes.

  2. Alex Barnett Avatar

    Hi Ryan –
    FB4 is now supported as part of the IPP 2.8 release. For more details, please see http://ippblog.intuit.com/blog/2010/05/announcing-ipp-v28.html

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