Flash Builder is a Eclipse-based commercial tool that helps us to develop graphical applications in a simple way using Flex and ActionScript. Flash Builder offers us the clasical graphical widgets available in other frameworks such as textboxes, buttons, panels, accordions, etc. The main advantage of Flash Builder is its multiplatform nature. Your apps can run not olny in any web browser with Flash Player but in any Adobe Air enabled OS (Win, Mac, Linux).
With the arrival of Adobe Air to mobile devices one problem arise. The graphical components designed for desktop environments din't fit well on mobile devices and they were slow. In this moment Flash Builder "Burrito" comes into play In this release, still under development, Adobe has created a new bunch of graphical widgets specifically designed for mobile devices in terms of usability and performance, and, of course, Flash Builder is capable of generating apps for Android, BlackBerry PlayBook and, in a near future, iOS.
We are playing with it a couple of months and we would like to expose our opinion:
- Fully multi-platform development: A developer can create apps for Android, BlackBerry QNX, Apple iOS, Windows, Linux y MAC with the same code.
- Simple, powerful and well-known programming languages: ActionScript and XML.
- Amazing multimedia framework: It is possible with about 100 lines of code to write an app that streams video from the camera to a media server.
- Visual Development: We can create our app interface dragging & dropping components.
- Mobile Look & Feel.
- It's under development. The SDK and Flash Builder isn't finished yet. After an enviroment update you can find some disgusting surprises.
- Performance. To use a runtime environment like Adobe Air always causes a performance penalty.
- Isolated Apps. Air cannot still invoke other apps or Android activities. In fact, Air only can communicate with those that can understand a URL: phone calls, SMS, Maps and WebBrowser. Your app cannot access to these services: Contacts, Phone Info, Network Info, SIM Data, etc.
- Multiplatform? yes but... many features are only available on Android devices due to the infamous iOS development rules that forbid third party development tools. In this scenario Adobe stopped the framework development in iOS in 2010. Finally Apple removed these restriction and Adobe retake Airs in iOS, so we hope big avantages in this OS soon.
As main conclussion we can say is that Flash Builder will be an outstanding and very powerful tool for create multiplatform multimedia apps but nowadays it has a long way to walk.