Wednesday, October 20, 2010

<— How do you feel about your current IDE?

I’m just taking a quick poll to the left about whether or not people are happy with their current IDE whether it be FlashBuilder, FDT, FlashDevelop, IntelliJ, or whatever.

Also, please leave a comment here about what it would take to get you to switch to a new IDE and list what IDE you’re currently using. Thanks!


  1. I have been using Flash Builder 4 since the beta came out and it was the first time I used anything other than the Flash IDE and Coda. I love it for what I do but things like SourceMate make it alot better. Then I watch your videos and cry in shame that I can't code that fast.

  2. Peter Lorent5:07 PM

    Visual Studio Pro 2010 with Amethyst. XCode. If you are serious about your business, you use serious tools, right?

  3. I used FlashDevelop for years. I switched to a Mac and continued using FlashDevelop via VMWare Fusion. It worked fairly well, but there are a few nuances that bothered me since it wasn't Mac "native" (for example, debugging doesn't work when using Flash CS5). Other ups and downs of FlashDevelop:
    - Snippets/Templates work, but not as powerful as FDT or FlashBuilder+SourceMate
    - No auto-formatting support for entire as files like FDT or FlashBuilder+FlexFormatter
    - "Quick Fix" isn't (currently) as powerful as FDT, but getting closer
    - No UML support (such as UML4AS for Eclipse based IDE's)
    - Can't directly open AS files from Flash CS5 (like you can w/ FlashBuilder)
    + Can create a new file w/out having to save it first
    + Can easily create a "new project" from a pre-existing project that you received from someone else via svn or otherwise (w/out it automatically making folders or you having to copy and paste stuff around, etc)
    + Code completion is instantaneous and phenomenal. I love that it will match even "sloppy" matches
    + It's not as bulky as Eclipse (starts up faster, way smaller memory foot print, etc)
    + It will save you a TON of money since it's free to use

    FlashBuilder isn't even a candidate IDE to me w/out SourceMate and Flex Formatter. These are necessary plugins, but too bad you have to pay even more money for SourceMate. In general, FlashBuilder has nothing on FlashDevelop or FDT for me. The only (small) thing it has going for it is the native integration with Flash CS5.

    FDT is what FlashBuilder should be. Great code completion, formatting, templates, "Quick Fix", etc, right out of the box. My biggest complaints are:
    - It's Eclipse, so it takes way too long to launch and uses too many system resources
    - There is not an easy way to create a "New Project" that is new to you, but pre-existing from someone else (maybe you received it via svn, etc), unless they also use FDT and included project files (which is rarely the case).

    I haven't used any other IDE's so far and I'm tempted to try IntelliJ because of your tutorials. If I was still on Windows, I would use FlashDevelop w/out question. Being on a Mac, I'm leaning towards FDT, but haven't made a final decision yet.

  4. johnlindquist5:36 PM

    Wow, thanks for the very thorough answer. Informative +1

  5. johnlindquist5:38 PM

    Out of curiosity, what did you use before Amethyst? And why did you switch?

  6. johnlindquist5:40 PM

    While I think I code pretty fast and I use a ton of shortcuts, I think the fact that I have a plan about exactly what I'm going to write gives a false sense of super-speed. Knowing is half the battle ;)

  7. Pascal5:57 PM

    Have tried FDT / FlashDevelop / Flash Builder. Loved all, but in different ways, but after switching job found an old love again; Vim.
    I really like the editing power, but miss the code hinting. It makes me more aware of imports, packages and structure.
    Not necessary a bad thing.

  8. Robin Debreuil6:12 PM

    FlashDevelop - quite happy
    VS2010 - ecstatic
    Eclipse based flash - not so happy

    If VS compiled to flash I would switch. If intelliJ was cheaper to get into I would probably have tried it and upgraded - not the money, just the IDE isn't the bottleneck in flash development with FD, so you don't look too hard. Also it means you are asking collaborators to buy IntelliJ, which is a tougher sell. (I really think all people on the same project should use the same IDE if at all possible). Often you send a project to a client and they want to see it. Would be a pain to port to a free ide just for them.

  9. Jonathan6:58 PM

    I started with FlashDevelop and really loved it, then I switched to FlashBuilder because it is the "Professional Tool" (don't really think so), and because I wanted to learn Flex (Design View), and for the IPhone, Android publishing feature. I really don't regret switching but FB is not the best without SourceMate (and costs money too!!). I'm using FB without Source Mate is not so fun...
    Sometimes I get frustrated because don't really know which one to use.

  10. johnlindquist7:30 PM

    I agree. Sometimes I realize that I do so much code gen and autocomplete that I've completely forgotten the syntax/structure of what I'm working on. I guess that could be a good thing, but I definitely see the appeal of being down and dirty with the language in Vim (although it's just not for me).

  11. johnlindquist7:32 PM

    Yeah, with the consulting I've done, it seems like everyone uses FlashBuilder because it's just the Adobe "standard" and the clients expect you to use it.

  12. As many here I started with FlashDevelop. Still love that it's so fast and always ready to use - best thing about it is code-completion (you don't have to type from the very first letter of element you need). FD got really nice plugins like MultiGenerator and recently native support for GIT/SVN. FD is going to be more and more feature packed IDE staying the fastest IDE for me.

    Now I'm using IntelliJ 9 and totally love it for the speed of creation. The worst thing about it - it's not that flash integrated like others. Currently I'm working with Robotlegs + Signals + ANT generator. It's perfect match for me now. I've learned lots of key shortcuts and I really don't need mouse now. I'm going to install IntelliJ X EAP next. BTW thanks John for introducing me to IntelliJ.

  13. Jonathan Hardie1:40 AM

    I'm reasonably happy and productive with FlashBuilder + sourcemate, however if I were purchasing again, I'd think seriously about not spending more on Premium, it hasn't done a lot for me so far. Without sourcemate fb is just awful though, I'd go back to FD in a windows VM or try FDT.

  14. Peter2:39 AM

    Currently using FlashDevelop on Win. Have Flash Builder installed but only ever use for some top level refactoring/renaming. Was starting to get very tempted by IntelliJ thanks to you, but with the latest code generation updates in flash develop I'm more than happy. Plus it has a pretty stellar price point, and the people working on it are a really great bunch of people. Actually makes me proud to say I use FlashDevelop.

  15. Peter Lorent4:31 AM

    A number of reasons. We do a lot of C# and of course Visual Studio Pro 2010 is our editor. Switching to another editor to do AS3 wasn't a great experience coming from Visual Studio Pro so when I found Amethyst I installed the plugin right away and it is absolutely great to be able to do all of the work in Visual Studio Pro! Before Amethyst: Flash Develop on Windows, Flexbuilder/Flashbuilder/FDT (various editions) standalone and plugin version. At the moment we are all using Visual Studio Pro 2010 and I haven't had one complaint yet. We're happy coders :-)

  16. Hey John,

    Oddly enough it looks like I present right after you at MAX so I'm looking forward to meeting you. I used to code in the Flash CS3 IDE because I didn't know any better, got a taste of FDT at my current company and now I won't touch anything else. I've tried Flash Builder, Flash Develop and briefly experimented with Amethyst but nothing compares to all the little things FDT does to make your coding life as painless as possible.

  17. Dasdas6:50 AM

    At work FlashDevelopt. Unfortunately i use a macbook at home so i cant use FlashDevelop as a native program. Beacause of that i started using FlashBuilder which I dont like at all and FDT but im currently using a trial version of FDT4 so in about 20 days i will start using Intellij .

  18. I've Started with Flex Bulder 3 then Flash Builder 4. After that I've discovered FDT and started using the trial version of FDT4: I've loved it at first sight then bought the PURE version to go on using it even without the wonderful add-ons of the Max version. Since a week, thanks to you, I've started playing with Intellij and i must say that it is awesome, even if it is not so Flash integrated as FDT. So, right now, I'm still developing in FDT but starting to learn and configure Intellij fo a definitive switch.

    There is still a very important lack in Intellij that is still blocking me from switching:
    In FDT and Flash Builder you can link a global library folder containing "as" clasees that can be easily shared in all the projects. In IDEA this is more restricted: the Project/Modules structure that should be very similar to the Workspace/project structure of FDT, it's not exactly the same.
    Let me explain: I've always used (both in Flash bulder and in FDT) a global _CLASSES/AS3 folder that i keep on C: (or Users/myName in OSX) attacked as a linked library in all my projects: inside it I keep all the packages that i use (com, org, etc...): it contains ".as" files and not swc, I prefer this because when i change some classes i do not have to do the whole swc again.
    In intellij, Inside a project structure, you CANNOT use the SAME SOURCE FOLDER in more than one module, so you are obliged to link you _CLASSES folder in the dependencies tab. This is ok for code hinting but then, when you compile, you have a "package not found" error. If you link your _CLASSES folder as a source folder everything goes right but you can't link the same folder in another module until you unlink it from the previous one.
    I've managed the whole thing adding "-source-path C:/_CLASSES/AS3/" as a compiler option in the flex compiler settings: doing this the compiler includes my global folder when compiling. I think it is boring.
    Another thing:
    in FDT (Same in FB) I've created a kind of project template that I use now for every project I start, already with all the folder structure and linked classes libraries that I always use. I've reproduced the same in Intellij but to make it work I have to copy the module and rename the .iml file (It does not rename it automatically), the import it as a new module in the project. Boring.

  19. johnlindquist9:12 AM

    Have you tried creating one "global" module for all your "global" swcs, then just having the rest of the modules link to that?

  20. johnlindquist9:13 AM

    Cool, see you there. Good luck with your preso.

  21. Riccardo Sallusti3:00 PM

    Yes, it works :) but it's still a kind of workaround...
    I've suggested to Jetbrains to automate this task, as in FDT or FB. I've also suggested to add the possibility to create project/module custom templates. And they've replied immediately.
    In the end I think Intellij is the winner...

  22. johnlindquist3:07 PM

    Cool, glad to know you're taking advantage of their awesome support from their devs :)

    Btw, have you tried this?

    I never use the global libraries, but it seemed to work from a quick test (and they stay linked regardless of what Project you have open)

  23. I have tried Flash Builder several times and absolutely hate it! 700$ for the IDE that is the worst code editor of all? What's the deal Adobe?! Maybe the Adobe's people think that profiler/visual (and buggy) mxml editor/catalyst support worth it but I'm sure they are horribly wrong.

    My favorite IDE is IntelliJ Idea. It's as3/flex support is getting better every day.
    The maven/flex-mojos support is pretty unique. And must have for flex projects running on java backend.
    And when I've started to test my apps with cucumber and use rake/sprouts I've discovered it has an excellent support of all this technologies!

    The FDT is nice but it lacks ruby support which is integral part of my current workflow. Also it's rather overpriced comparing to IntelliJ Idea. The most interesting thing FDT has at the moment is evolving haxe support.

    What I haven't figured out yet is hot to do advanced code generation in IntelliJ Idea. I'm going to look into this.

    The FlashDevelop isn't my option. I'm on a Mac.

  24. johnlindquist3:31 AM

    Here's an example of a more advanced File Template in IntelliJ:

    video demo:

    I've been meaning to look into the plugin called "Kiwi Generator" which is a "Code generation tool supporting multiple output files, dynamic file names and complex parameter models", but I haven't really taken the time yet (it may even be Java only?) If you find anything, please let me know!!!

  25. Yes i've tried it but it works just for code completion. When you compile it throws "package not found" error. But I've resolved the whole thing just creating a module that points to my global library and then adding that module asd a dependency to all the other modules. COOL.
    I have another last issue to solve:
    if I write something like this like this to:
    mainMenu["b" + n].title.htmlText = parsedXML.SECTIONS.SECTION[n - 1].BUTTON.toUpperCase();
    to retrieve a dynamic object or an XML value Intellij marks it as an error, i mean "title" and "BUTTON" are marked as unresolved variable names. How can I do to disactivate this behaviour in the inspector? In FDT it is possible...

  26. johnlindquist8:57 AM

    I just confirmed that it's throwing an error and filed a bug:

    Please vote :)

  27. Abhishek Agrawal9:52 PM

    I use the Flash Builder plugin. I would switch to any IDE that gives me features of Flash Builder + Refactoring capabilities (Like Eclipse gives for Java, but Eclipse based Flash Builder doesn't give the same power for Flex) AND that works with linux (in particular, with Ubuntu)

  28. Currently on FDT. Very happy with the feature set. But as with any other Eclipse-based IDE, the unavoidable Java bugs and general slugishness can be a real pain sometimes. Which is why I've been testing IntelliJ. I really like the editor, but for me it's too immature as an AS IDE.

    I usually end up in a mix of FDT, TextMate and Flash IDE with FDT as the primary. Which is why I keep my snippets in TextExpander.

  29. i use flash professional for years, but i am trying to switch Flash Builder, it is better then Flash Proffesional but i cant see weakness at this time, i dont use mxml, i am happy with actionscript alone.

  30. I feel pretty much the same way regarding FlashDevelop/FDT/Flash Builder...except I made my decision back in March to go with FDT, and I don't regret it one bit. Previously the only thing holding me back was Flex Builder's profiler, but with the profiler in FDT4 I had no more excuses.

    Regarding pre-existing projects, FDT does work with Flash Builder projects, and you can add Flash Builder to your FDT project so that you can work with developers using Flash Builder, but if the project is from a different IDE you're out of luck.

    You can also have the code completion come up just as quickly as FlashDevelop if you go to the FDT prefs and change the auto activation triggers and delay. FlashDevelops support for spelling errors is nice, but I still prefer FDT's camel case support...just type the capital letters of a class/function/var and it will show up in the code completion window. For example, to bring up IOErrorEvent real quick just type ioee, or gotoAndPlay type gap, etc.

    My biggest complaint with FDT is the launching. Using launch configurations has a lot of power, but there should be a default config that is always launched when you're working in that project, similar to Flash Builder's concept of applications. Otherwise, FDT tries to launch whatever class you're currently editing...lame. The only way around it is to use Ant (but you still need to manually make it run in the same jvm as the workspace for every script...lame) or you can have FDT always launch the last launched conifg...that's ok but it sucks when you're working on multiple projects or you have no launch history. Also, there's no built in support for modules like Flash Builder.

    One additional plus for FDT over non-Eclipse IDE's is that there's tons of plugins for Eclipse so you can use the same IDE for many different languages. Even if you don't use it as your primary editor for those languages, it's nice sometimes to not have to switch to Dreamweaver to make some small html or css changes, and I can write my Android apps using JDT or FDT in the same IDE.

  31. FDT is an Eclipse want Ruby support just download a Ruby plugin like RDT.

  32. DEvil HUnter9:16 AM

    For the most stuff i use Netbeans (most of the time Java, php, c++, c). it's a realy nice ide with very much nice usefull shortcuts. rest of the time i use visual studio for c & c++.
    realy i love netbeans - maybe there is a plugin for your flah stuff

  33. eco_bach8:13 AM

    For years was a PC only developer, used something called PrimalScript, then Flashdevelop for several years. For the past few years have been coding almost exclusively on the Mac, and switched to Flex builder for all my as3, flex development. Tried FDT off and on, but could never justify the cost. Recently have been trying out IntelliJ, which I love for its refactoring and UML support. One hiccup I have discovered is the sometimes funky finder synchronization(adding files folders at finder level are not always reflected in project view). For various reasons am not impressed with Flash Builder. So, if I could afford it, would get BOTH IntelliJ and FDT, but at the moment have to choose between the 2.

  34. If IntelliJ had a profiler that would be so much the IDE for me.