Total EAP mess for Flex developers

I already (Dec. 25, 2011) filed an issue http://youtrack.jetbrains.net/issue/AS-204 that (Astella EAP) "Make" is not working - i.e. the project is built everytime regardless of changes to the source code. This bug makes Astella completely unproductive for production development, so I refuse to evaluate it further. Now this Make bug has been carried over from Astella to IDEA 11.1 EAP. Ahhhhhhhrrrrrrrrggggggg.
Please also fix http://youtrack.jetbrains.net/issue/AS-248. Debugging Flex 3 projects with Flash Player 11 is also broken http://youtrack.jetbrains.net/issue/IDEA-80407.

Why do you work on useless (Astella) features like Flex UI designer (which nobody needs, has been dumped from future Flash Builder releases) when there are bugs that make productive work impossible?

I think the new UI for Flex modules is horrible, IDEA 11 was perfect.

Regards,
Peter

13 comments

Sorry for delay. There seem to be some problems with forum notifications.

'Make' (AS-204) is fixed in the second IDEA EAP (114.98). Unfortunately 114.98 EAP seems to have more critical issue: all Flex build  configurations settings may become wiped out when opening Project  Structure. Don't press OK or Apply in such case. EAP with the fix will  be published in few days.

Debugging Flex 3 projects with Flash Player 11 on Mac is not a regression. And I can't say now if it is easy to fix, because Flash Player is a black box for us. Luckily fdb tool is open sourced, but it may take some time to dig into the problem. Its cause is outside of IDEA.

AS-248 is also not a regression. IDEA 11.0 doesn't have similar feature. Will be done for IDEA 11.1.

Do you find only UI horrible or the whole new concept? UI will be tuned for sure, whereas we do not see any advantages of IDEA 11 Flex modules, facets and run configurations over new workflow. Do you?

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'Make' (AS-204) is fixed in the second IDEA EAP (114.98). Unfortunately 114.98 EAP seems to have more critical issue: all Flex build  configurations settings may become wiped out when opening Project  Structure. Don't press OK or Apply in such case. EAP with the fix will  be published in few days.

I tried IDEA EAP 114.98 and noticed that the build configuration settings disappeared. Good that the 'Make' problem is fixed - I will just wait for the next EAP.

Debugging Flex 3 projects with Flash Player 11 on Mac is not a regression. And I can't say now if it is easy to fix, because Flash Player is a black box for us. Luckily fdb tool is open sourced, but it may take some time to dig into the problem. Its cause is outside of IDEA.


I can imagine that this is a nasty problem. Fortunately 99% of the time I work on a Flex 4.5.1 project and the 1% legacy work with Flash Builder reminds me why I switched to IDEA 8 - when the Flex plugin was introduced. It would still be nice to have it fixed some day.

AS-248 is also not a regression. IDEA 11.0 doesn't have similar feature. Will be done for IDEA 11.1.


Cool. In my workflow I usually configure two build configurations - one browser based and another desktop based. Usually I spend most of the time working/debugging on the browser based version and then just try 'if it also works under AIR' at the end of the day. So it is a real waste of time to always compile all configurations. I know that starting a debug session with Shift-F9 would do the trick, but sometimes I uncheck 'Make' in the debug configuration when I test different properties settings/flashvars - no compile needed. Then it would be extremely convenient to just trigger a compile of the current build configuration.

Do you find only UI horrible or the whole new concept? UI will be tuned for sure, whereas we do not see any advantages of IDEA 11 Flex modules, facets and run configurations over new workflow. Do you?


Sorry for the rant. Basically the new concept of having several build configurations is welcome. I find the compiler configuration dialog not very convenient, though; too many options (scrolling) and an IDE dependency on the Flex SDK (compiler options). For me it is more useful to start with the SDK provided configuration and just override a few necessary options (like in IDEA 11). This way it is easier to set up a project from scratch because the custom compile xml is part of the project and the build is guaranteed to work - rather than all team members having to play with the overloaded dialog. But as long as the custom build xml option remains, I am happy.

By reading the release notes I noticed that the UI builder is still in the works. I do not know anybody who used the UI builder in Flash Builder. I think it is impossible to get this beast right; too complicated to mimick dynamic views, states and transisions. I would prefer to see a more polished profiler (graphic display of memory on timeline etc).

Regards,
Peter
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the 1% legacy work with Flash Builder reminds me why I switched to IDEA

IDEA run configuration allows to select which version of Flash Player to launch, so for Flex 3 projects just select player 9 or 10.x. Though if you need to launch app in the browser - the task is more complicated. Probably as a workaround - install one more browser that you don't use in usual work and install Flash Player 10.х plugin for it.
Anyway we'll do our best to workaround the issue.

and then just try 'if it also works under AIR' at the end of the day

While waiting for the feature to be implemented you can use 'Skip compilation' check box at build configuration dialog.

too many options (scrolling) and an IDE dependency on the Flex SDK (compiler options).

Only 9 nodes remained at Compiler Options tab, no scrolling.
I'm afraid I haven't got the problem with "IDE dependency on the Flex SDK".

It seems for me that current New Flex Module wizard allows to start any type of ActionScript/Flex/AIR project very quckly. For me new settings look more clear and at the same time more powerful than the old ones. Of course a lot of people got used to the old workflow and don't see much need in improvement. But for new users we had to explain the same things about Flex modules, facets, particular options, run configurations, etc. that we have decided to redesign all settings in more new-user-friendly way.

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Probably as a workaround - install one more browser that you don't use in usual work and install Flash Player 10.х plugin for it.


I am on OS-X - so all browsers use the same plugin configuration from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins :(

While waiting for the feature to be implemented you can use 'Skip compilation' check box at build configuration dialog.


I will try.

Only 9 nodes remained at Compiler Options tab, no scrolling.
I'm afraid I haven't got the problem with "IDE dependency on the Flex SDK".


If I remember right, the first Astella EAP tried to visualize the complete Flex SDK "flex-config.xml" (with the "More options") - that dialog was really long. In that case the IDE would have to be updated if a new SDK introduced new compiler options. The latest EAP seems to use the Flex SDK "flex-config.xml" as a base compiler configuration (again) and offer only the most important overrides plus a custom config. I overlooked the changes but this scheme with project/module inheritance makes sense.

Of course a lot of people got used to the old workflow and don't see much need in improvement.

Your are right, I am probably IDEA 11 workflow brainwashed. Looking forward to the next EAP. Do you have a planned release date for Astella? Adobe is not dumping Flash Player/AIR - it's just the opposite http://devnet.jetbrains.net/thread/434163 .

Regards,
Peter

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IDEA uses neither flex-config.xml, nor air-config, nor airmobile-config.xml file from Flex SDK. I explained why it is impossible. And this is one of the major improvements in IDEA 11.1. Not using standard base config file from SDK gives ability to support all types of configurations: any target platform, pure AS projects, any framework linkage, etc. Yes, for standard Flex Web projects IDEA generates config file similar to standard one, so you actually should not care if IDEA uses standard flex-config.xml or not.

Astella future is under discussion, we'll publish blog post as soon as we are ready to announce anything.

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Thanks for the info. I will report from the Flex UG meeting.

<sh> ping astella
astella is alive

Peter

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Hmm - just opened an old Flex project in 114.98.
Flex build configurations settings are listed under "unknow", some settings are still available under "Flex" and somehow ok.
Edit: maybe these configs are related to opening the project in a previous 11.1 EAP. OS is Windows.

Modules depending on other modules are broken.
How can I set module dependencies?

grz
Heinrich

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Probably "unknown" is your Flex module name (I suppose in was java module in IDEA 11.0, i.e. before conversion), "Flex" subnode is build configuration name (I suppose it appeared after conversion of Flex facet called "Flex"). Dependencies are now configured at Dependencies tab of build configuration. I believe dependencies were converted correctly. But unfortunately IDEA 114.98 has critical bug: all build configurations are cleared when Project Structure is opened, that's why you don't see dependencies. New EAP with the fix will be released today.

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ok, i'll be patient.

The new project setup looks really promising and I'm looking forward to cleaning up the build process for a messy project.

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I checked out UI-114-145 - everything is back cool. Next Astella EAP is due tomorrow - keep my fingers crossed, that it is as good as IDEA 11.1 EAP.

Regards,
Peter

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Just noticed that Astella EAP is on hold  :(

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Gave it another try in 114.145, but my build configurations are still messed up.
Maybe I'll just create new ones.

In "Build Configuration" -> "Dependencies" I can't find an option to create a module dependency.
My Module is based on another Module in the same project, all classes from the parent module are missing.

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Heinrich, where's the mess? According to feedback 114.145 is considered to be stable and useable.

With 'build configuration' (BC) concept there's no such thing as module-on-module dependency. Only BC-on-BC and BC-on-3rd-party-library. So your "another" module should have BC that produces library and your "first" module should contain BC that depends on library BC from "another" module.

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