DEVELOPING WITH YOUR INNER DESIGNER
Mike Jones (Adobe Systems)
This was kinda the rest of the Adobe Catalyst demo from the key note. I cant see much else that makes going from a mock up to a real app this easy. Using tools like Balsamiq and Napkee is close, but they can't work on an actual comp from Illustrator or Photoshop.
One thing I'd not seen before is that Catalyst does actually have a code view, but it only shows the parts of the project that use FXG-based Flex 4 style skins, you have to import from Catalyst to Flash Builder (or FDT :-) ) to see how how it all works together under the hood. Not too much use then really.
Adobe tried to rather gloss over the non-roundtrip nature between Builder and Catalyst (or Photoshop and Catalyst) by saying you can locate the code and change it by hand if the designer changes it. This would need a good visual difference tool or a designer that can make patches using a revision control system - neither a very good story really.
But in questions at the end Mike said that round trip 'in some form' is a high priority for the next version.
Mike also showed some little flourishes like how you can drop skeleton component in Builder, and then with one click launch Flash Professional to create it. When you then close Professional it auto-updates in Builder.
Inside Flash Professional, Flex states show as some sort of complex linear mess in the time line. It looks horrible to me but I guess makes sense to designers.
SET YOUR CODE ON FIRE
Michael Plank (PowerFlasher Solutions)
FDT looks a lot like any other IDE, but Michael is a wizard of the keyboard and live codes a whole application with out using the mouse to some music, only takes about four minutes. And made me want to buy a copy of the song. You can see the video here (code starts at about 2 minutes 38 seconds).
He then goes back over what he did more slowly, and demos the many coder oriented features; automatic templates for things like 'for' loops, declaring an unknown method can create that method, and so on and so on.
The 'Quick Fix' can also create missing variable declarations, or missing methods, even whole classes- this means you can write what you want to have.
'Code templates' creates things like the for loop. You can add your own, the example is the common multi-line usage of flash.display.Loader that needs a 'new', set x, set y, load(url) etc.
There are wizards for everything from get/set pairs to new projects.
You get code warnings and errors as you type, unlike in Flash Builder which needs a compile (triggered from a save).
Where Adobe's Flash Builder has these features (and many FDT have it doesn't), Adobe never seem to me to talk about them, they have a focus on being a more visual environment.
Michael talked a bit about the future roadmap for FDT version 4, and mentioned they have active Linux support, in that they do take bugs and try to help out, but it's not officially been released yet. This is a good contrast to Adobe who seem to be keeping Flex Builder for Linux on minimal life support, and have no public roadmap for where it's going,
We also saw a quick demo of working with HaXe, which is a language like ActionScript 3 but very very fast - it actually compiles all the time in background.