Building A Mobile App Using Flash Builder 4.5

Executive Summary

Adobe has currently launched Flash Builder 4.5. This release enables builders to build “Mobile Apps” for some of the cell tool structures, similarly to growing web applications and computer programs the usage of MXML and Actionscript three.

This launch seems squarely centered at managing the recent comments from Steve Jobs and others, and the following debate over whether or not Flash is useless, given the capabilities of HTML five and different technological traits.Mobile

Since that is pretty a prime release for Adobe and a critical new capability for us Flex developers we notion we’d undergo the process of developing a smallish App and implementing it on some of the devices. The idea of being capable of developing Mobile Apps for a huge range of cell gadgets the use of a single code base is without a doubt an attractive one.

Overall, the developer experience that Adobe has added to Flash Builder 4.5 is pretty staggering, even though there are one or two pretty essential omissions. Given the variations in Operating System, display screen length, screen decision, and handset functionality, deploying a Mobile App for a number of gadgets is a frightening mission. Whilst it doesn’t solve all troubles, Flash Builder four.Five is honestly an extraordinary start.

Target Market

Flash Builder 4.5 would not target each cell device in the marketplace. It objectives cell devices strolling Android 2.2 and upwards, iOS (iPhone 3G, iPhone 4 and iPad) and QNX (Blackberry Playbook Tablet). These are basically the excessive capability current Operating Systems for Smartphones and Tablet PCs. That covers around 50% of the present cellular device mounted base and quite possibly a much better percent of recent cell tool sales. The vital omissions to the goal structures to be had are Symbian, Blackberry Smartphones and Windows Mobile 7.

Development Environment and Experience

Overall, the use of Flash Builder 4.5 to expand Mobile Apps is widely just like the usage of it to broaden desktop programs for Adobe Air or internet packages strolling within the Flash Player. The Flash Builder development surroundings are well incorporated with the relaxation of Adobe’s services including Creative Suite 5.5 and Flash Catalyst so you can broaden property in the one’s packages and import them into Flash Builder effortlessly. Developers use MXML and Actionscript to develop the App, however, there is a more restricted variety of consumer controls. Importantly there may be the same connectivity to data services the use of Web Services, AMF, HTTP and similar.

Differences in Developing an Air or Web Application

The ViewNavigatorApplication Tag

The first distinction you observe with developing Mobile Apps is that rather than an Application tag that’s used for developing Air and web programs, you have a ViewNavigatorApplication tag. With the Application tag you generally are a navigation manipulate after which location child components (effectively the exclusive views) within the navigator manage. This offers builders the capability to recognize what components are getting used no matter how deep they’re buried within the document hierarchy. With ViewNavigator however, while you navigate to a unique View you “pop” a different View onto the display screen through the name. You can then pop other perspectives later in reaction to events and person moves. You should move returned to the house display screen thru the identical view order but in the opposite.

With the Application tag because you are aware of what additives constitute your baby screens you can configure the application to bypass any required facts from the main application to the child additives. Since homes are generally strongly typed, Flash Builder will deliver build time errors if you are trying to access or Skip assets that don’t exist. With Mobile Apps and the ViewNavigator tag, the compiler doesn’t actually see the other Views which are part of the utility until runtime, therefore, the developer loses an important stage of mistakes checking before runtime. In addition, Views best have an unmarried “Data” assets. The Data belongings can be any item so that you can pass a set of all of the facts you require however build time mistakes checking is lost on whether or not properties in the statistics being surpassed in reality exist.

No Drop Down List

There isn’t always a drop down list in Flash Builder Mobile. No, there truly is not. To me, this seems the largest oversight and I anticipate in Flash Builder five, or with any luck before that, they will restore it. However, for now, the workaround is to have a button that looks like a drop down list (has a skin with a drop down listing icon) after which when the user clicks the button, to pop up an issue primarily based across the “SkinnablePopUpContainer” with a list of your items interior it. So you can emerge as with something that looks to the person like a drop down listing but is really a button that calls a pop up with a listing of items.

No MX Components Except Charts

No MX components will work except charts. The MX namespace is not to be had in Mobile Apps so most of the MX components are not to be had the drop down menu within the IntelliSense editor. In addition, some of the Spark components (eg dropdown list) are “Not Mobile Optimized” that is Adobe’s manner of announcing they likely might not paintings. In well known but, there are sufficient controls to create the screen you need.

Styling and Sizing for Different Devices

When growing a Mobile App there are several troubles that make styling for a variety of devices difficult. In no particular order they’re:

Different display sizes;

Different display screen density. This is measured in dpi. Since an iPhone 4 has double the dpi of the iPad, any button of the identical pixel measurements might be 1/2 the dimensions of the iPhone 4;

Different tool particular gestures and integrated functions For instance inside the iPhone e-mail consumer a swipe gesture consequences in a delete button stoning up, and some devices have a returned button always available as a part of the machine.
From the appearance of it then, being capable of providing you with something with a purpose to look suitable on each screen seems like venture impossible. However, Flash Builder comes with integrated features that help substantially. Firstly, you may say what display density you are targeting after which when the App masses if the tool getting used has an exclusive screen density, the App will shrink and make bigger buttons and other additives as required. Flash Builder categories each device as having one in every of three display densities, both 160, 240 or 320 dpi.App

Bitmap photographs, however, cut back and develop very poorly so the above approach isn’t always suitable. To deal with this, Adobe has supplied the “MultiDpiBitmapSource”. This is where in case you are using a bitmap as the icon for a button, you may offer three extraordinary variations of the same bitmap to the button, every sized to target screen density one hundred sixty, 240 or 320. Flash Builder will then detect what the device is and use the right bitmap because of the icon.

Finally, you may additionally offer one of a kind settings for your CSS record that permit you to exchange settings for extraordinary display screen densities, and also extraordinary Operating System.

The result is that you could code once after which after which after spending some attempt ensuring it seems as right as possible in numerous situations, it will look quite suitable for most devices. If you are targeting the total spectrum of gadgets you will have to have some sort of exchange-off of time spent on styling v the payback for every device. Some research into the target market length for each device after which prioritization will allow you to make suitable selections on what the principle tool must be and then how much time ought to be spent styling for the opposite devices.

Testing the App in Flash Builder

Flash Builder comes with an amazing technique of being able to see what your display will seem like on one-of-a-kind devices. Firstly at layout time you could select from a drop down listing of gadgets and spot the effects. Then through deciding on distinct run configurations by way of Operating System and device, you may run the software and spot the effects on each device.

Other than styling problems there did not seem to be any variations in how the App behaved on every tool in phrases of runtime errors.

Testing Your App on A Device

Once you have got evolved and styled your App the use of Flash Builder you may in all likelihood need to check it at the actual machines themselves previous to deploying it to the market location. The simulator inside Flash Builder offers a reasonable approximation of ways free apps for computer my apps will appear on every device however it is no longer similar to the usage of it at the actual device.

There are a large number of clever phones available so in preference to buying every individual mobile phone and testing it on each, you will probably select to check on one of each of the three running structures that are Android, iOS (iPhone and iPad) and QNX (Blackberry Tablet). With Android devices, the process is quite easy. Essentially you create a dummy certificate the usage of Flash Builder after which you can join and download your App to your device.

Apple devices are considerably greater difficult to check on. You need to observe to Apple to get a developer license which provides you with a developer key, then get a key to your tool and use the two keys to install it to iTunes after which use iTunes to put in it in your tool.

The Blackberry Playbook continues to be quite new and has not had demonstrably rave evaluations so the range of your customers with a view to in reality set up your App on a Blackberry Playbook might be at this point quite small. A realistic alternative to shopping for the real device is to check it on the Blackberry Playbook Simulator which runs via VMWare. This gives a greater advanced illustration of what the App will appearance and experience like in comparison to the simulator in Flash Builder.

Deploying the App

Once your App is prepared for deployment you ought to go to the diverse App stores and go through their character tactics of deployment.


Adobe has known the undertaking and possibility that cellular gadgets constitute and have dedicated a large amount of advertising, development and promotional muscle to getting the discharge into the market. For experienced Flash Builder builders, growing a running version of an Android mobile phone App is a very comparable system to what they’re used to in growing an internet or computer software for the reason that development environment may be very similar.Flash

Styling the App for all devices but can take up plenty of time and improvement effort should be prioritized in step with the gadgets anticipated for each mission. However, the venture that Adobe has set themselves in being capable of building Android mobile phone Apps for a mess of devices the use of the Flash series is an ambitious one that they have largely carried out.

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