Adobe has decided to name the next release of Flex Builder 4 as Flash Builder. It’s a good move by Adobe though it doesn’t change much about the underlying technology. Since most of the new comers to the Flex world are quite confused about the difference between Flash and Flex it makes perfect sense to let the product name reflect it.
There might be some confusions and concerns though on this change since all of us are now so used to the word “Flex”. Personally, I think this should have been done much earlier. We hear that Flex SDK and Flex Framework are going to still retain their names.
Many a times we had client who were not ready to use Flex as they thought it requires a special server or sometimes that it a different technology all together than Flash and needs it’s own player/runtime to work on the client side.
Just to clarify things for those who still don’t understand the difference, Flex is an open source framework and a tag based language (mostly) which eases the development of web applications and desktop applications (based on AIR) but the end result is still an SWF file which runs on the Flash Player. The way in which you generate the SWF is the only difference between Flash and Flex.
Flash is more design oriented but Flex is more code oriented. Unlike Flash, Flex doesn’t have a timeline and other animation related tools but that doesn’t mean you cannot do them in Flex. The underlying programming language (ActionScript) is now so mature that you can almost do everything which you can do in Flash, in Flex – just that you have to do them through code unlike Flash where you can do them visually. In fact even the new Inverse Kinematics (IK) in CS4 can be programmed through ActionScript.
In essence, Flash and Flex are almost the same from a programming perspective and both of them generate an SWF which runs in Flash Player.
So do we have to re-designate all our Flex Programmers to Flash Programmers? No, not yet !