The official statement came yesterday from @LeeBrimelow.
Flex Builder will have a new name from the next version, it will be called Flash Builder.
There is a lot of fuzz over the web about this change. I’ll try to describe things from my perspective.
First of all let me try to define a few things by trying to simplify them.
People are mostly use the term Flex for:
–the Flex Framework: is build on top of AS3 and basically means that you use components to build SWFs.
You can use a combination of AS3 and MXML which is a declarative language, think of it as xml. If you still don’t get it think the Flex framework as a REALLY advanced components panel like the one in Flash IDE.
–the Flex Builder: a tool based on Eclipse. It’s more of a development environment but you can call it “an Adobe remix of Eclipse in a good way”.
When you download it (its free for Education and developers that lost their job thanks to the economic crisis) you get the Flex Builder AND a plug in for Eclipse, the choice for which one to use its yours. If you still don’t get it, first of all forgive me cause its 06:00 AM and English is not my native language, but you can (in a way) think of Flex Builder as a Flash IDE without the timeline but with an awesome AS3 editor.
More on the tool later*
People are mostly use the term Flash for:
–the Flash Player, browser plug in or desktop app: You don’t really expect me to describe Flash baby Player right?
–the Flash IDE or Flash CS3, CS4, CS5 or Flash Professional : The tool that we all love and hate. The one that combines vector graphics, bitmap graphics, sound, video, fonts, code and so much more to create beautiful things and some not so beautiful things (banners, skip intros etc).
–swf files: These little files that have changed the web. They can be simple banners, full sites, presentations, applications, games and SOOOO many things.
*Now more on the tool.
Adobe created Flex Builder for the developers to be able to code easily Flex and later Air apps. But Flex Builder is an awesome Actionscript 3 editor too.
So this nice editor can export stuff for the web and the desktop.
For the desktop, Flex Builder exports apps that run on the Adobe Air runtime.
For the web, Flex Builder exports ONLY SWFs. The exact same files that Flash IDE exports.
If you are still here, reading this post, I’m sure you ‘ve faced the confusion with some of your customers, boss, friends etc or even with your self. I’m talking about the confusion when someone uses the word Flash or Flex to describe some or all of the above list. Its clear that Adobe had to do something about it. So that’s why Flex Builder will be called Flash Builder from the next version (version 4, codenamed Gumbo – and I’m telling you it’s awesome!).
I’m almost sure that this is a good move but its not complete yet in order to make things more clear. Flash Builder is a tool that publishes stuff for the Flash Platform and that stuff can be created either by using pure AS3 code or code from the Flex framework but in the end all you get are SWFs.
The only reason I could think on why the change might concern your clients is because Adobe did a good job on marketing the Flex brand and there is so much buzz around it while the same time some really “nice” guys are using the black days (and uses) of flash to show how bad flash is “in general”. But you know what.. even this doesn’t make ANY sense. If you are ready to make a proposal for a project that it has to be build using the Flex framework then go ahead and propose it. The customer doesn’t have to know the name of the tool you are going to use.
Don’t even consider that I’m suggesting you to “hide” the word Flash for the love of Macromedia!
If someone thinks that Flash is all about skip intros and banners my first reaction is of course to try to open his eyes. Everyone deserves a chance. If he/she still doesn’t get it then fine he/she can go use this silverLITE thing and he/she will have my blessings.
Other than that the Flex framework is called Flex framework. In the next months it will be more easy when someone uses just the word Flex because the framework will be the only thing that will have that name. So I think with this renaming Adobe cleared a lot the confusion around the term “Flex”.
The big problem although was and I’m afraid still is the “Flash” word. You see Flash means so many things and now there is even one more product name that includes that word. If the confusion remains after this it will be only because the term Flash is used again. If lets say for example Flex Builder became Adobe Builder (NO I’m not suggesting anything here!) it would be more clear to new people what this tool is all about. Now using the term Flash, some people might think that this is ANOTHER .fla IDE.
I think Adobe has in mind more re-brandings starting with the Flash IDE. @PeterElst and many others had a nice suggestion to rename Flash IDE on something like Flash Designer. Maybe that would be enough, I don’t really need such a change but many others do as with the Flex Builder. I totally understand that such move can shake the web (I don’t know if its going to be on the same magnitude as the “Google down” day) but renaming Flex Builder I guess was an easier move.
Even if this happens I don’t really mind that much. In the end of the day the only thing that I notice was a change in the name of the product.
I like the Flash Builder name but people have to realise that this “Flash” on the name refers to the FLASH PLATFORM.
Now if they tried to change the name of the platform or lets say the player I would be the first to go to Redmond and sell my soul. (but I don’t worry about it cause I think they are is a good way.. right?)