Building A Mobile App Using Flash Builder 4.5

Executive Summary

Adobe has currently launched Flash Builder four.5. This launch allows builders to construct “Mobile Apps” for some of the cell device platforms, in addition to growing internet programs and computer applications the usage of MXML and Actionscript three.

This release appears squarely targeted at coping with the current remarks from Steve Jobs and others, and the following debate over whether Flash is lifeless, given the abilities of HTML 5 and other technological trends.

Since that is quite a primary release for Adobe and a vital new functionality for us Flex developers we thought we’d undergo the system of developing a smallish App and imposing it on a number of gadgets. The idea of being able to broaden Mobile Apps for a wide range of mobile devices the use of a single code base is honestly an appealing one.Mobile App

Overall, the developer revel in that Adobe has delivered with Flash Builder 4.Five is pretty mind-blowing, despite the fact that there are one or two pretty essential omissions. Given the differences in Operating System, display length, display resolution, and handset functionality deploying a Mobile App for a variety of gadgets are a frightening challenge. Whilst it would not clear up all issues, Flash Builder four.Five is genuinely a terrific start.

Target Market

Flash Builder 4.5 does not target every cellular device available on the market. It goals mobile gadgets walking Android 2.2 and upwards, iOS (iPhone 3G, iPhone four and iPad) and QNX (Blackberry Playbook Tablet). These are basically the excessive functionality modern Operating Systems for Smartphones and Tablet PCs. That covers round 50% of the prevailing cellular device installed base and pretty in all likelihood a far better percentage of latest mobile device income. The crucial omissions to the target systems available are Symbian, Blackberry Smartphones and Windows Mobile 7.

Development Environment and Experience

Overall, the usage of Flash Builder four.Five to increase Mobile Apps is widely just like the usage of it to expand computer programs for Adobe Air or net applications jogging within the Flash Player. The Flash Builder development environment is well incorporated with the relaxation of Adobe’s offerings which include Creative Suite 5.Five and Flash Catalyst so you can expand property in those packages and import them into Flash Builder easily. Developers use MXML and Actionscript to expand the App, however, there is a greater limited range of person controls. Importantly there’s the identical connectivity to information offerings using Web Services, AMF, HTTP and comparable.

Differences in Developing an Air or Web Application

The ViewNavigatorApplication Tag

The first distinction you be aware of growing Mobile Apps is that in preference to an Application tag that’s used for developing Air and net programs, you’ve got a ViewNavigatorApplication tag. With the Application tag, you generally area a navigation manipulate after which area child additives (efficiently the unique perspectives) within the navigator control. This gives builders the capacity to realize what additives are being used no matter how deep they are buried in the record hierarchy. With ViewNavigator however whilst you navigate to a exceptional View you “pop” a exclusive View onto the display via call. You can then pop different views later in response to activities and consumer actions. You should move lower back to the home display through the equal view order, however in reverse.

With the Application tag since you are aware of what components represent your baby displays, you could configure the application to bypass any required facts from the main utility to the kid components. Since residences are usually strongly typed, Flash Builder will deliver construct time mistakes if you are attempting to access or pass a property that doesn’t exist. With Mobile Apps and the ViewNavigator tag, the compiler would not genuinely see the opposite Views that are a part of the application till runtime accordingly the developer loses a vital degree of blunders checking before runtime. In addition, Views best have a single “Data” belongings. The Data belongings can be any object, so you can skip a collection of all the records you require but construct time mistakes checking is lost on whether residences in the facts being exceeded certainly exist.

No Drop Down List

There isn’t a drop down listing in Flash Builder Mobile. No, there honestly isn’t. To me, this appears the largest oversight and I anticipate in Flash Builder 5, or optimistically before that, they may restoration it. However, for now, the workaround is to have a button that looks as if a drop down listing (has a skin with a drop down list icon) after which when the consumer clicks the button, to pop up a factor based totally across the “SkinnablePopUpContainer” with a list of your objects inner it. So you may emerge as with something that appears to the consumer like a drop down listing but is actually a button that calls a pop up with a list of objects.

No MX Components Except Charts

No MX additives will paintings except charts. The MX namespace isn’t always to be had in Mobile Apps so most of the MX additives are not to be had the drop down menu within the intelligence editor. In addition, a number of the Spark components (eg dropdown list) are “Not Mobile Optimized” that is Adobe’s manner of announcing they likely might not work. In popular but, there are enough controls to create the display screen you want.

Styling and Sizing for Different Devices

When growing a Mobile App there are numerous problems that make styling for a variety of gadgets difficult. In no specific order they’re:

Different display screen sizes;

Different screen density. This is measured in dpi. Since an iPhone 4 has double the dpi of the iPad, any button of the same pixel measurements might be 1/2 the scale in the iPhone 4;

Different device unique gestures and built-in capabilities For example inside the iPhone email client a swipe gesture effects in a delete button shooting up, and some gadgets have a lower back button usually to be had as a part of the machine.
From the look of it then, being able to provide you with some thing with a purpose to appear right on every display looks as if task not possible. However, Flash Builder comes with built-in functions that help appreciably. Firstly, you could say what screen density you are concentrated on and then while the App hundreds if the tool getting used has an extraordinary screen density, the App will reduce and make bigger buttons and different additives as required. Flash Builder categorizes every tool as having one among three screen densities, both one hundred sixty, 240 or 320 dpi.

Bitmap pictures but reduce and grow very poorly so the above approach isn’t always suitable. To cope with this, Adobe has furnished the “MultiDpiBitmapSource”. This is where if you are the usage of a bitmap because the icon for a button, you can provide 3 special variations of the same bitmap to the button, each sized to goal display density a hundred and sixty, 240 or 320. Flash Builder will then discover what the tool is and use the correct bitmap because of the icon.

Finally, you can additionally provide exclusive settings in your CSS file that enable you to change settings for extraordinary screen densities, and also special Operating System.

The end result is that you can code as soon as after which after which after spending a few attempt ensuring it seems as right as possible in various conditions, it will look quite right in maximum devices. If you are focused on the full spectrum of gadgets you’ll have some kind of trade-off between time spent on styling v the payback for every tool. Some research into the target market length for each tool and then prioritization will permit you to make appropriate selections on what the main device must be after which how an awful lot time ought to be spent styling for the other gadgets.

Testing the App in Flash Builder

Flash Builder comes with a good approach of being able to see what your display will appear to be on exceptional devices. Firstly at design time you could pick from a drop down list of devices and see the outcomes. Then through choosing exceptional run configurations via Operating System and device, you may run the utility and spot the consequences on every device.

Other than styling problems there did not appear to be any differences in how the App behaved on each device in phrases of runtime mistakes.

Testing Your App on A Device

Once you’ve got evolved and styled your App the usage of Flash Builder you’ll possibly want to test it at the actual machines themselves previous to deploying it to the market area. The simulator inside Flash Builder gives an affordable approximation of ways the App will appear on each device however it’s not similar to using it on the real device.

There are a massively wide variety of clever telephones to be had so in preference to shopping for each man or woman tool and testing it on each, you may probably decide upon to test on one of each of the 3 working systems which are Android, iOS (iPhone and iPad) and QNX (Blackberry Tablet). With Android gadgets, the manner is quite simple. Essentially you create a dummy certificates the usage of Flash Builder after which you can join and down load your App on your tool.

Apple gadgets are considerably greater tough to check on. You have to follow to Apple to get a developer license which offers you with a developer key, then get a key in your device and use the 2 keys to installation it to iTunes and then use iTunes to install it to your device.

The Blackberry Playbook continues to be quite new and has no longer had demonstrably rave opinions so the number of your users to be able to clearly deploy your App on a Blackberry Playbook is probably at this factor quite small. A sensible opportunity to buying the actual system is to check it on the Blackberry Playbook Simulator which runs thru VMWare. This offers an extra advanced representation of what the App will look and feel like in comparison to the simulator in Flash Builder. Flash Builder 4.5

Deploying the App

Once your App is ready for deployment you need to visit the diverse App stores and go through their character strategies of deployment.

Summary

Adobe has regarded the mission and possibility that mobile devices constitute and have dedicated a considerable amount of advertising and marketing, development and promotional muscle to getting the discharge into the marketplace. For skilled Flash Builder builders, developing an operating model of a Mobile App is a completely comparable system to what they’re used to in developing a web or desktop software since the improvement surroundings are very comparable.

Styling the App for all devices but can absorb a whole lot of time and improvement attempt ought to be prioritized in line with the gadgets anticipated for each mission. However, the venture that Adobe has set themselves in being able to build cellular Apps for a mess of gadgets the usage of Flash Builder is a formidable one that they have got in large part achieved.