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Life After Adobe Flash Builder

SapphireSteel Software has released Amethyst 2 Ultimate, a visual IDE for Flex, Flash, and ActionScript developers. Amethyst supports team development with multiple-project solutions, named build configurations, incremental compilation, and integration with TeamServer.

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It can share a codebase with other IDEs including Flash Builder and Flex Builder to allow teams to work on a project using a mix of development tools. Amethyst imports Flash IDE (e.g. CS4/CS5) projects so that animators may continue working on timeline-based development in the Flash IDE while programmers have access to Amethyst's advanced editor and debugger.

This news stems from comments made when Adobe removed the visual designer from Flash Builder 4.7 — at that time Flex developers who needed a visual design tool were left "stranded", says SapphireSteel.

So whereas Flash Builder has removed its Flex visual Designer, Amethyst 2 (which exists as a Flash Platform IDE for Microsoft Visual Studio) has actually extended its visual design support. It now not only has a drag-and-drop Designer for Flex; it also includes a "pure Flash" Designer to support form-based design (with similar capabilities to Windows Forms in C#) for Flash applications that don't use Flex.

Amethyst 2 Ultimate includes tools for ActionScript and Flash developers including a "bubble-based" debugger that lets developers step through code in the form of linked call-graphs, with each called function shown in a separate popup "bubble".

Also included here is a Graphical profiler that analyzes the efficiency of a running program and displays a memory map, the Developer Scratchpad, which is a docked panel to store code snippets or even selected methods in popup bubbles — and an SWF obfuscator so there is no need to buy a separate tool to protect your code as Amethyst has one built in.

"Amethyst 2 Ultimate builds upon the existing features of Amethyst 1. It has the most extensive editing and debugging features available for Flash and Flex developers. The multi-window editor has code collapsing, extensive refactoring, 76 code color options, and fast IntelliSense. It can be used to design, debug, and deploy applications for the web, the desktop, or mobile devices," said the company.

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