It's official: Flex 4, codenamed Gumbo, is now beginning active development. Adobe has published their first plan of what should be included in Flex 4 that is scheduled to release next year. According to Adobe, these are the four major themes that will affect Flex 4:
"Design in Mind: provide a framework meant for continuous collaboration between designer and developer. Probably involves an additional component model that integrates with the existing Halo components.
Accelerated Development: take application development from concept to reality quickly. Features could include application templates, architectural framework integration, binding improvements.
Horizontal Platform Improvements: features that benefit all application and user types. Features could include compiler performance, language enhancements, BiDi components, enhanced text.
Broadening Horizons: expand the range of applications and use-cases that can leverage Flex. Features could include finding a way to make the framework lighter, supporting more deployment runtimes, runtime MXML."
Obviously, there’s a hope that upcoming Thermo release will bring together developers and designers. I’m cautiously optimistic here. It’s great that a designer’s tool will automatically generate MXML. A developer will pick it up and re-factor . But will the tool be smart enough to reverse-engineer the re-factored code and present it back in a visual form to the designer for further work? That is a million dollars question.
Accelerated development is definitely the right way to go. Code generators, templates is a must and even Flex 3 with its wizards was a step in the right direction.
I’d allocate the highest priority to the compilation speed improvement and IDE. Flex Builder IDE works fine on small-size projects, but in the real world environment it’s not fun to work with. And I’m not even asking for a decent refactoring or some code editor improvements. I want it to be faster. I do not want it to hang. I do not want it to painfully rebuild the workspace for 30+ seconds.
Making the framework lighter is also a big ticket item. A swf that uses Flex framework should be smaller in the “merge in” mode. One item that I do not see addressed in these plans is printing. Flex printing is rudimentary and has to be addressed.
I wonder if Adobe has set an easy to use way for Flex developers to submit their suggestions to be included in Flex 4 that are reviewed and answered by Flex team?
Since Flex is an open source product, we should have a say too. Looking forward to get a hold of Flex 4 Beta 3 when ready.
About Yakov Fain Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain
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NN commented on 23 May 2008
Yes we should have say in open source platform but way I see it Google and Adobe will do according to own propriety when it comes to add features. I like GWT but again very plain UI with built in library (third party limited not many)
Adobe has to be one step ahead with Flex 4 since sliverlight and GWT are not very behind and also reminder that Flex is plug-in base so make it fast and small so others don't have change to argue on that.
I was surprised to see you question the availability of communication with the Flex 4 development team. More than any other company I've dealt with Adobe has always had an open approach to contact with it's uses.
Flex feature suggestions have been carried forward from the version 3 bug base where there's always been a lot of two way communication. I've posted several suggestions and always received responses. sometimes on the bug reporting \ feature suggestion site & several times direct from development team.
The same holds true with the other products in their suite & server packages.
I'm in total agreement with all your requested avenues of improvement though.
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