Flex development workflow suggestions

Hi Maxim,
I really welcome the decision to integrate Flex development tools into IDEA 8.0. It is probably very difficult to fulfil all user expectations to the right extent, though. You have long-time IDEA Java programmers (like me) who might want to dig into RIA development and do just a little Flex hacking and also Flex Builder power users (like me in my current project) who would like to get away from Eclipse and use their favorite IDE also for Flex development. I do not expect IntelliJ to implement design view - that would be too much effort and should be left to Adobe's Flex Builder. On the coding side, IDEA is so much better than Flex Builder already (refactoring, code inspection, code completion, code formatting, and, yes, SVN support) that it only needs a few things to make me switch from Flex Builder for my day to day work:
- Rebuild/Make
It should be possible to build the application without having to set up ANT. The compilers (asc, mxmlc, compc) should be kept in memory so speed up turnaround times. Can this be done using fcsh?
- Output directory
It should be possible to set the output directory in the Flex facet (like in Java), overriding the wizard setting at a later time. No need to create/copy the HTML wrapper stuff (filling in parameters for the ]]> tag) and the SDK libraries from the SDK (like Flex Builder does). I would rather set up my deployment directory manually - including the HTML wrapper - and just compile the SWF into this directory for testing or debugging.
- Compiler options
It should be possible to add commandline compiler options. This is necessary, for example, to compile the application against the signed framework SWZ as RSLs, keep generated source files (from MXML) or use incremental compilation to speed up turnaround times. The first step might be to add command line options manually (in the Run/Debug dialog - like VM parameters in Java), later you might provide options in a configuration dialog for the most used options.
- Run/Debug
Upon clicking debug - on my box Adobe CS3 Flash IDE is opened, probably because this is the default application associated with the .swf file extension, and the SWF (currently built with ANT) cannot load any assets due to the Flash player sandbox restrictions. I think Run/Debug should open up a browser (with the Flash Player debug plugin) through an HTML wrapper. This would also provide testing JavaScript/Flex/Ajax interaction with FireBug. Instead of pointing to the SWF, the Run/Debug dialog should provide a picker for the HTML wrapper file. The browser should be the one configured in general preferences.

I can write up a JIRA request, if/once this thread comes to a meaningful conclusion :)


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+1, strong agreement here on all of those points. It seems like the run/debug issue (#4) has some similarity to the Javascript debugging that Hani mentioned in another post recently--really need to be able to debug these elements in their running context, not in a state of total isolation. Outside of that, the usability just needs to be more clear as to how the configuration is done, which sounds like is in the plans as it stands.

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+1. Excellent suggestions all. I would need all of those features to replace my ANT-based workflow.


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