The more I use Flex Builder, the more I want to get rid of it.
I have been using Flex Builder from versions 2 to 4. From early on it wasn’t exactly a complete tool – more like something thrown together quickly. Compared to other IDE’s it has always been slow and buggy, and although it has somewhat improved, it is still not doing very well.
As a C++ programmer, I roam between two universes: the Microsoft universe and the Adobe universe – each with its own set of tools and libraries. As one who used Microsoft Visual Studio between all its incarnations (Visual C++, MsDev, etc.) I got used to certain standards, and unfortunately Flex Builder does not even come close.
Probably the biggest complaint is the build time. If you leave automatic build on (the default) any save or build command will slow the system to a crawl, sometimes for a few minutes at a time – crippling the ability to code efficiently. In an average work day, probably 1-2 hours are lost to waiting for the builder in a debug cycle of modify-build-test.
Part of the problem is because it’s based on the eclipse platform – a huge and inefficient app that is sucking out system resources. No wonder, since eclipse itself is a java application – the java VM simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to heavy lifting, even with top of the line hardware (e.g. Quad core with 4 GB of ram).
Most coders tolerate it because it’s better than notepad, or the Flash CS4 scripting panel.
So why do we have to put up with it? You can expect that when paying over $500 for an IDE, it should be professional, well-oiled, and with solid performance.
Adobe, please take a cue from Microsoft Visual Studio and provide a decent command line complier that is not java based, one that can utilize multi-core processors – that belongs to the 21st century. Is it too much to ask?