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IDEA doesn't have Flex GUI designer.
There's an opinion among professional Flex developers that this feature is useful for HelloWorld-like applications only and not appropriate for enterprise projects.

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There are more types of people than professional flex developers and non-flex developers.
I would say that of the flex developers there are broadly speaking 3 categories

  1. Professional Flex Developers (time>80% on flex)
  2. Professional Java/J2EE developers who do a bit occasionaly as part of a larger project
  3. Hobbyists

I fit in the 2nd category and have only just started looking at flex so I can't comment on whether or not your statment is true.

The reason that I think a GUI designer should be included though is as a selling point for IDEA.
The software architects where I work have deemed that we should be using Flex, so the developers have started looking at IDEs.
They have downloaded a version of Adobe Flex Builder (based on eclipse) to evaluate -~$300 to buy
This allowed them to put together a mock up what the interface for our project might look like quite quickly.

They all use eclipse for their Java work and as I have seen so many Flex related updates in the EAP release notes I thought I would recommend IDEA to them as an alternative.
The first thing they said was, Where is the GUI?
They couldn't instantly get going with IDEA and get that satisfaction of quickly seeing an example made by themselves.
If there was a GUI, they would have spent longer evaluating it and seen the rest of the advanced Flex features.
As it was they discarded IDEA out of hand after only a short evaluation.

This isn't just a loss of one potential licence though, because if they had chosen IDEA they would have started using it for their other Java work then would understand what I have been banging on about for ages and start recommending IDEA to the rest of the people outside this project.

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We're in a similar boat. As Java/J2EE developers we have been tasked with a new application that has to have a Flex UI. I've always been a loyal IDEA user. I looked at FlexBuilder. The only thing it had that IDEA did not was the WYSIWYG GUI tool. I have also always been of the opinion that those tools are really only useful for very simple UIs and for hobbyists. I had that opinion back in the days of good old fashion HTML pages when people used FrontPage (*shudder*).So this was of no concern to me.

A fellow developer was tasked with some of the Flex work. He was an eclipse user. He tried FlexBuidler, and then he tried IDEA. He is now a proud owner of a personal license for IDEA and isn't looking back. He commented on how much better IDEA was at doing Flex work, a secondary consideration, than FlexBuilder was at doing it, its primary function.

UI mockups should be done in a diagramming tool (we just started using Balsamiq Mockups) and not code. But I understand your point about the importance of initial impression of a  tool. That initial "wow, look at I what I did" factor. Something a GUI builder allows for. And I am well aware that too often when evaluating a tool people (especially mangers) do it using a simple Hello World like project or demo apps. So a tool that may be great at getting things up quickly (FlexBuilder) but lack quality tools and features for large and involved projects often get picked over tools that maybe don't have that initial bang but are far superior in the long run (IDEA). It's hard to say if the time and resources (i.e. money) that JetBrains would need to put into a Flex GUI tool would be offset by an increase in sales. Especially given it is functionality that, IMHO, 95% of people would stop using once they start doing serious Flex development. So I have mixed feelings on the subject. Personally, I'd rather see JetBrains spend the resources on more "important" and "truly useful" features. But I also want to see IDEA's usage increase. And maybe a Flex GUI builder would help with that since the "but this one is free" argument that we hear in the IDEA vs Eclipse debate is taken away when comparing IDEA to FlexBuilder. Thus the tools will be compared more on features. And unfortunately it is the glitzy features that win that argument more frequently than the practical features.

Just my 2 cents on the subject.


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