Tag Archives: Ant

Top 10 – Flex Tools and Resources

When developing Flex and/or AIR applications there are a handful of tools that really make the difference between a good project and a great project. They are all very valuable and provide stability and clarity for the RIA development process; or at least they have for me. From Unit Testing to SVN utilities to frameworks and libraries I’ve found the following ten items to be very useful and helpful. I’d even go so far as to say these are critical for quality Flex RIA development; but as Les says: “It’s just a matter of opinion.” ;)

Cairngorm is the lightweight micro-architecture for Rich Internet Applications built in Flex or AIR. A collaboration of recognized design patterns, Cairngorm exemplifies and encourages best-practices for RIA development advocated by Adobe Consulting, encourages best-practice leverage of the underlying Flex framework, while making it easier for medium to large teams of software engineers deliver medium to large scale, mission-critical Rich Internet Applications.


Flex Unit

FlexUnit is a unit testing framework for Flex and ActionScript 3.0 applications and libraries. It mimics the functionality of JUnit, a Java unit testing framework, and comes with a graphical test runner.



Subclipse is an Eclipse Team Provider plug-in providing support for Subversion within the Eclipse IDE. The software is released under the Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0 open source license.

Eclipse update site URL:


Eclipse is a multi-language software development platform comprising an IDE and a plug-in system to extend it. It is written primarily in Java and is used to develop applications in this language and, by means of the various plug-ins, in other languages as well – C, C++, COBOL, Python, Perl, PHP and more.



ASDoc is a command-line tool that you can use to create API language reference documentation as HTML pages from the classes in your Adobe® Flex® application. The Adobe Flex team uses the ASDoc tool to generate the Adobe Flex Language Reference.

Flex Ant Tasks

The Adobe® Flex® Ant tasks provide a convenient way to build your Flex projects using an industry-standard build management tool. If you are already using Ant projects to build Flex applications, you can use the Flex Ant tasks to replace your exec or java commands that invoke the mxmlc and compc compilers. If you are not yet using Ant to build your Flex applications, you can take advantage of these custom tasks to quickly and easily set up complex build processes for your Flex applications.



Degrafa is a declarative graphics framework open source licensed under MIT.



The corelib project is an ActionScript 3 Library that contains a number of classes and utilities for working with ActionScript 3. These include classes for MD5 and SHA 1 hashing, Image encoders, and JSON serialization as well as general String, Number and Date APIs.


Flex SDK coding conventions and best practices

Coding standards for writing open-source Flex framework components in ActionScript 3. Adhering to these standards makes the source code look consistent, well-organized, and professional.

Flex Language Reference

The Flex 3.3 Language Reference provides syntax and usage information for every element in the ActionScript™ language. It documents all elements in Adobe® Flash® Player and Adobe® AIR™ that are officially supported by Adobe.


Top 10 tools for java development

As a java developer, we always trying to get someone else to do little jobs for us.  This is a list of tools (and possibly frameworks) that we have found most helpful in any java development.

  1. Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org) – everyone should know what eclipse is by now. The reason we include it here is mostly due to the refactoring support is immensely helpful.
  2. Ant (http://ant.apache.org/) – again, everyone should know this tool by now. Ant is a fantastic build tool, but allows you to do much more with all of the extension support. We have seen some very cool things done with ant, ivy and a few custom tasks.
  3. JUnit (http://junit.org/) – people should know this framework, but many people still don’t subscribe to the automated unit testing model. I find automated unit tests a great way to ensure you haven’t broke anything mainly because I regularly break my own tests.
  4. Tomcat (http://tomcat.apache.org/) – Tomcat is obviously more useful if you are doing web development in java. Duh. However, if you do any of that and have tried configuring something like WebSphere, you can understand why I include it.
  5. Sitemesh (http://www.opensymphony.com/sitemesh/) – Sitemesh is one of the simplest web presentation frameworks I have seen. It can be seen as a basic template engine, but quite often that is all that you need. The difficulty with most web frameworks is that they try to be all things to all people. Sitemesh just wants to put a nice configurable template around your content. The idea of “do one thing and do it well” comes to mind.
  6. Spring (http://www.springframework.org/) – Spring is one of the “web” frameworks that tries to be all things to all people. However, it doesn’t do a bad job. If you are involved with a large project, Spring gives you some nice functionality out of the box without having to go the coding standards route.
  7. Ivy (http://ant.apache.org/ivy/) – Well, some things have changed in Ivy-land. It is an ant subproject now and soon to be moving to the ant site. This might be a good thing. Ivy is a dependency management tool that can be used with ant. If you have more than one small project, you are likely to need dependency management. I like it because I am not required to move to Maven which I have not had much success with.
  8. Luntbuild (http://luntbuild.javaforge.com/) – Luntbuild is an open source GUI build management tool. So, you already have your ant builds and they can be integrated with luntbuild. The bonus with luntbuild is that you can have separate development, qa and production configurations for the build. There is also a professional version called quickbuild (http://www.pmease.com/) that comes with support and some additional features.
  9. Cobertura (http://cobertura.sourceforge.net/) – This is my favorite code coverage tool, mainly because it works and it is free. Code coverage is a good metric to have because it will quickly show you where you have less tests. You will never hit 100% coverage (and you shouldn’t), but it is a good benchmark to look at, especially if you get some defect density numbers from your code as well.
  10. Xerces (http://xerces.apache.org/) – Is there any other XML parsing library out there?

If we have missed your favorite tool, let me know and I will try to look into it. I am always on the lookout for new tools that can improve productivity.