Flex is a powerful open-source application framework that allows developers to easily build mobile applications for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry Tablet OS, as well as traditional applications for the browser and the desktop using the same programming model, the same tool, and the same code base.
While Flex applications can be built using only the free Flex SDK, Adobe Flash® Builder® software can accelerate development through features like intelligent code editing, step-through debugging, memory and performance profilers, and visual design. Adobe also offers enterprise-grade advanced data services through the open source BlazeDS project and the commercial Adobe LiveCycle® Data Services ES2 module.
With Flex 4.6 and Flash Builder 4.6, developers can now use the same programming model, the same tools, and the same code base to build applications for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry Tablet OS devices, as well as browser and desktop applications on traditional computers. Flash Builder and Flex 4.6 also provide a number of new productivity features and new components for tablet applications.
You can use Flex to create a wide range of highly interactive, expressive applications for mobile, web, and desktop. For example, a data visualization application built in Flex can pull data from multiple back-end sources and display it visually. Business users can drill down into the data for deeper insight and even change the data and have it automatically updated on the back end. A product configuration application can help customers navigate the process of selecting or customizing products online. A self-service application can guide customers through an address change or help employees complete an otherwise complicated, multiple-step benefits enrollment process. A mobile application can extend an existing web application, providing mobile access to business-critical information.
You can create and deploy Flex applications using only the open source Flex framework. For a more productive development experience, you can use Adobe Flash Builder software, a powerful, Eclipse™ based IDE that is commercially available. For a more productive, higher performing approach to connecting Flex applications to back-end services, you can use BlazeDS, a free, open source Java™ solution. BlazeDS includes both Action Message Format (AMF), which provides binary, serialized data transport, and Flex messaging services, which offer real-time data push. LiveCycle Data Services ES2 can deliver large-scale data services and data push and offers model-driven development support.
There are many ways you can learn and get started using Flex. You can learn on your own using the many resources in the Adobe Developer Connection, including a free, online video-based training. There are many books and online instructional courses available through Adobe partners. You can attend an eSeminar to get an overview or participate in a formal, instructor-led course offered by an Adobe training partner either on-site or off-site.
Flash Builder is a professional-grade, Eclipse based development tool that enables intelligent coding; interactive step-through debugging; and visual design of the user interface layout, appearance, and behavior of rich Internet applications (RIAs) for mobile, web, and desktop. You can import assets from Adobe Creative Suite® software or entire projects from Adobe Flash Catalyst® into Flash Builder, making it easy for designers and developers to work together in parallel. You can download a 60-day free trial of Flash Builder to get started.
Flash Builder 4.6 Standard
Flash Builder 4.6 Standard is a productive, Eclipse based development tool that enables intelligent coding; interactive step-through debugging; and visual design of the user interface layout, appearance, and behavior of mobile, web, and desktop applications built using ActionScript® and Flex. Key features include:
Flash Builder 4.6 Premium
Use Flash Builder 4.6 Premium to create business-critical applications. It offers all the powerful features included in Flash Builder Standard, plus powerful testing tools including memory and performance profilers to help investigate memory use and analyze where applications are spending time; automated functional testing support for regression testing; and the Network Monitor, which provides a detailed audit trail of all data passed between the local Flex application and the back end, assisting with debugging and performance tuning. The Premium edition also includes a free copy of Adobe ColdFusion® Builder™ 2 software.
Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP
Use Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP Standard or Premium edition to rapidly build expressive mobile, web, and desktop PHP-based Flex applications. In addition to all the great new features included in Flash Builder 4.5, Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP adds a deeply integrated copy of Zend Studio 8, a professional-grade PHP IDE, providing an optimized Flex/PHP development experience.
BlazeDS enables developers to easily connect to back-end distributed data and push data in real time to Flex and Adobe AIR® applications for more responsive RIA experiences. Previously available only as part of LiveCycle Data Services ES2, the technologies included in BlazeDS and the AMF protocol specification are being contributed to open source under Lesser General Public License (LGPL) v3.
Yes, enterprise support for BlazeDS is available via subscription offerings, similar to those offered by companies that have built business models around open source software. Subscriptions include access to trusted, certified builds; patches; warranties; and enterprise support for business-critical applications. See the BlazeDS FAQ for complete details.
The Open Source Flex SDK contains most of the components of the Adobe® Flex® SDK (for example, the compilers, framework, and debuggers) but does not include anything that is not open source like the Adobe Flash® Player and Adobe AIR® runtimes or the advanced font encoding libraries. The Open Source Flex SDK can be used to create Flex applications in whatever fashion the Mozilla Public License (MPL Version 1.1) allows. This package is entirely covered under the MPL, including its binaries. Adobe Flash Builder™ (formerly Adobe Flex Builder) software, the Eclipse™ based IDE, is not available under open source.
The Open Source Flex SDK contains everything needed to create a functional Flex application, including the ActionScript® and MXML language compilers and the Flex framework. The free Adobe Flex SDK contains everything in the Open Source Flex SDK plus additional components that enhance the Flex application creation process such as advanced font encoders, tools for packaging Adobe AIR applications, and Adobe Flash Player. These components are not open source but are made freely available by Adobe.
The Open Source Flex SDK is available under the open source MPL Version 1.1. This empowers both open source and commercial developers to extend the Flex framework to suit their needs and to contribute to the evolution of the Flex framework.
Concurrent with the release of Flex 3 on February 25, 2008, the Open Source Flex SDK was released under the open source MPL.
Members of the current Flex SDK development, QA, and product teams are full-time contributors to this open source project. Adobe continues to invest heavily in the ongoing framework and language evolution.
The Flex language and framework are key elements of many Adobe products that help designers and developers create next-generation rich Internet applications (RIAs) for use online and on the desktop. A number of Adobe products, including Flash Builder and the Adobe Creative Suite® family of products, will make it easy to target the Flash Player and AIR runtimes leveraging the Flex SDK. In addition, several Adobe products are being built using Flex, including Adobe Media Player software and the Photoshop.com online service. We also believe that other ISVs, Adobe partners, and members of the open source community are planning to deliver design and development tools that allow developers to leverage the Flex SDK.
Web and desktop developers using Flex can now directly discuss ideas and proposals with project committers, submit code through the open bug tracking system, or contribute enhancements directly to the Flex project. Over time, Adobe also plans to introduce new subprojects that extend the core Flex project.
You do not need to release source code for your Flex application. You are, however, required to release any source code modifications made to the ActionScript source files provided as part of the Open Source Flex SDK. These modifications must be released under the MPL. This obligation does not extend to other files created by you, even if they are combined into a single executable or bytecode file. For a complete explanation of your rights and obligations under the MPL, consult a legal professional.
Under the terms of the MPL, open source project owners can use Flex to develop parts of their applications, extend it and contribute to the community, or incorporate some or all of the SDK itself into their projects, provided they comply with the terms of the MPL.
Adobe has previously contributed source code for the ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation under the Tamarin project. Developers using the Tamarin project can use the Open Source Flex SDK as a compiler and debugger.
No. Adobe is currently sponsoring and hosting the Flex project infrastructure, including the open bug database, source control system, and project planning forums.
The fastest, easiest way to get started is to use Flash Builder. Flash Builder 4.6 has an integrated set of getting started capabilities that will guide you through your first Flex application. Alternatively, you can download the free Flex 4.6 SDK, which includes the Flex framework, compilers, and debuggers, enabling you to develop Flex applications using an IDE of your choice.
No. When you install Flash Builder, you automatically get the Flex SDK and everything you need to start building Flex applications without installing the Flex SDK.
Yes. There are no deployment licensing costs associated with Flex. Using only the free Flex SDK, you can build and deploy Flex applications for free. For a more productive development experience, you may also want to use Flash Builder 4.6, which is available starting at US$249. You can try Flash Builder 4.6 Premium for 60 days at no charge. Using open source BlazeDS, you can leverage high-speed, binary data transfer and real-time data push.
No, you can build Flex applications using only the free Flex SDK or the open source Flex SDK. However, most developers will find it more productive to use Flash Builder to build applications.
Both Flex 4.6 and Flash Builder 4.6 provide full support for building and deploying mobile Flex and ActionScript applications for Android, Blackberry Tablet OS, iPhone, and iPad.
Yes. There are multiple apps created with Flex that are available today, both paid and free, in all three outlets. In addition, many of these apps are also available in the Barnes and Noble Nook store and the Amazon Android app store.
Based on what is widely available in the market today for the tablets and operating systems we support, you can take advantage of most device capabilities. When AIR supports native extensions, you can take advantage of existing native libraries and additional device capabilities.
In most cases, the performance of a Flex application will be comparable to that of native apps.
Because each platform and device type has different capabilities, screen size, and resolution, modifications will be required to support individual platforms. Using a common code library, you can make the necessary changes to your Flex code, enabling approximately 70% of your code to be reused across application platforms and devices.
Yes, you can download a 60-day trial version of Flash Builder 4.6 Premium and start building applications today. At the end of the 60-day trial, you can purchase a license and obtain a serial number to continue using Flash Builder.
Flash Builder 4.6 is available in Chinese Simplified, English, French, German, Japanese, and Russian. Flash Builder 4.6 runs on both Microsoft® Windows® and Mac OS. For detailed information, see the Flash Builder 4.6 system requirements.
Note: The responses below are examples only and might not apply to your particular situation. They are not intended to be legal advice. In all cases, the Mozilla Public License and the Adobe Flex SDK License shall be considered definitive. You must consult a lawyer for a full understanding of your rights and obligations under these licenses
Adobe is using MPL Version 1.1 to govern the use of the Open Source Flex SDK source code. This license is used by many open source projects that need to balance the needs of the open source community and commercial software vendors. MPL and its derivatives (Eclipse Public License and Common Public License) are used by many well-known open source projects with both thriving open source communities and significant commercial users.
The Open Source Flex SDK may be redistributed in accordance with the MPL. The free Adobe Flex SDK may also be redistributed but requires the acceptance of a redistribution agreement. If you would like to redistribute only the open source SDK, your end users may download a package from Adobe that will add the freely available (but closed source) portions to the SDK.
Yes, you are allowed to redistribute the Open Source Flex SDK source code, provided you do so under the terms of the MPL.
Yes. You may use the word "Flex" in your name if you are using only the Open Source Flex SDK. If you are using the free Adobe Flex SDK, you will need to abide by the Adobe trademark guidelines. "Flex" is a trademark owned by Adobe Systems Incorporated for use only with commercial applications distributed by Adobe.
Yes. Apps created with Flex and bundled for iOS are standard iOS applications consisting only of Objective-C Bytecode. By converting the Flex application to Objective-C Bytecode there is no longer a dependency on the ActionScript Virtual Machine. The process of converting an application to native Objective-C Bytecode is one employed by numerous other technologies.
Flash Builder Standard is free for all eligible education customers. Students, faculty, and staff can get serial numbers to activate downloadable trial versions by registering on the registration site. During registration, you will be prompted to upload a copy of your student, faculty ID, or employee ID, or you can upload a letter on institutional letterhead proving your current affiliation with an educational institution. Once validated, you will be emailed a free educational serial number for Flash Builder Standard. It may take up to two weeks after the request for you to receive the serial numbers.
One of the following documents must be uploaded during registration to prove eligibility:
A scanned copy of any of these documents should be uploaded on the Flex Registration site. The scanned copy should be formatted as a GIF or PDF file.
If you are a faculty or staff member and you want to get Flash Builder for multiple machines in your lab, you can request up to 30 serial numbers in a single request on the registration site. If you need more than 30 serial numbers, you should submit multiple requests.
No, Flash Builder Standard for education is no longer available as a boxed copy.
No, Platinum Maintenance and Support or upgrade plans are only available for purchase by customers who have purchased a full license of Flash Builder Premium.
Yes. Your renewal terms allow you to continue to renew Platinum Maintenance and Support based on your initial purchase. Platinum Support is not sold separately.
Flex installation support is available for free. For technical support beyond installation issues, both developer and technical support is available for purchase. These plans include single-incident and annual unlimited-incident support. Additional information is available at the North America support or UK support page.
Both Flash and Flex applications are rendered in the browser using Adobe Flash Player software and on the desktop using the Adobe AIR runtime. Flex applications and Flash applications are both compiled into bytecode that is interpreted by the Adobe runtimes.
Flash Professional is the leading authoring tool for web developers, multimedia professionals, animators, and videographers who want to create interactive content.
Developers may find it difficult to use the Flash Professional tool to create applications. Flex provides developers who know traditional programming technologies like Java, PHP, Ajax, and .NET with an easy-to-learn application framework to create RIAs. In addition, developers can embed rich media elements inside a Flex application.
Applications developed with Flex 2, Flex 3, and Flex 4 all require Flash Player 9. Applications built with Flex 4.6 require Flash Player 10.
Yes, developers using Flash Builder can easily import custom Flex components developed with Flash Professional.
The Flex SDK includes the latest version of the Debug Flash Player for Linux® along with a command-line debugger.
Yes. Flex and Ajax technology continue to complement each other, and the included FABridge helps you integrate rich Flex components with Ajax applications. The FABridge is a small, unobtrusive library of code included in the free Flex 3 SDK that you can insert into a Flex application, a Flex component, or an empty SWF file to expose it to scripting in the browser. You can learn more about the FABridge and integration with Ajax in the Flex documentation.
Flash and Flex technology can augment Ajax to overcome chronic browser limitations in offline data access, audio/video, vector graphics, high-performance data exchange, and message-based publish/subscribe applications. In addition, LiveCycle Data Services ES2 lets you connect both Flex and Ajax-based RIAs with LiveCycle document and process services for richer interfaces that smoothly integrate with business processes.
Ajax Data Services, available with LiveCycle Data Services ES2, brings synchronous publish/subscribe messaging, cross-domain data access, advanced data management, and offline data access to Ajax-style applications. BlazeDS can also be used with Ajax applications using Flash Player as an interface.
LiveCycle Data Services (formerly Flex Data Services) enables you to:
To learn more about LiveCycle Data Services and the benefits of building Flex applications that smoothly integrate with other LiveCycle solution components to create groundbreaking customer engagement applications, visit the LiveCycle Data Services ES2 page.
The following outlines the new features in Flex 4.5 and 4.6.
Touch-enabled, optimized, and density-aware mobile components
Other mobile capabilities
Spark Module and ModuleLoader
Improved Spark capabilities
Native localization capabilities
You can download the Flash Builder 4.6 trial from the Flash Builder trial download page.
Flash Builder is a multiplatform product, enabling you to use the same serial number for both Windows and Mac OS. If you need either the Mac OS or Windows installer, you can visit the Adobe trial download center and download both installers. Simply enter your Flash Builder serial number when you run the installer.
Yes. The free Flex SDK provides a Java API that allows you to call the compiler directly from your code instead of needing to call the command-line tools. You may redistribute the free Flex SDK with your application provided you have signed a free redistribution agreement.
Visit the open source Flex SDK page to get all the details on the open source Flex SDK project.
A new SiteCatalyst Extension for Flash Builder is available. The SiteCatalyst Extension for Flash Builder enables developers to quickly and visually instrument tracking in their existing workflows. Developers can create and implement easy-to-use analytics libraries in their Flex applications. Learn more about the extension or download it now.