Flash Builder Extension – Live Preview of Flex Components

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There is no doubt Flash Builder is one of those IDE, built on top of Eclipse helps you to stop worrying about design time issues and gives a nice editor to paint your application screen. Over last few years, Flash Builder has got rich in functionality and now it provides so many utilities that aid developers to build applications quickly. Though this article is not meant for details about the features like Web Service binding, Integration with Server Side Technology like BlazeDS, ColdFusion, Managing DataGrid and DataGrid columns etc., one must have a look at it before spending effort on coding it manually. Well the Aim of this article is not about giving details about what utilities Flash Builder offers to ease development, but one of the strong feature meant for designers/developers which is quite not so popular. – Design View Extensibility Kit for Flex X.X. (yes the version is marked as X.X, because it has been there for long time.:)

In day to day application development, most of the Flex developers create custom components and most of them are meant for visual interaction. While you may have encountered that, the custom components work pretty well at Runtime, there is hardly any design time interaction that you can do. (Ability to interact with component at Design Time – Flash Builder Design Mode.)
While in most cases, it won’t look as a constraint, but from User experience point of view, most would like to have that feature incorporated in their component.

So, is thre really an option to interact with components at Design Time, the answer is Yes. Adobe has developed Design View Extensibility Kit for Flex which one can use to provide live preview of the components – Yes you can interact with the components in Design Mode.

The above URL provides quite few sample applications, that one can use to experiment and understand how Design View Extensions work in Flash Builder. The sad part is there is no much information available about this Kit (not even enough documentation) and it has been mostly remain hidden, apart from one page article on Adobe site. 🙁

3 Comments

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