Pure ActionScript + MadComponents vs. Flash Builder 4.5
I’ve been dedicated to MadComponents lately. With new updates and new features or components every few days – I’m having a completely self indulgent time with this free mobile library of components for Flash or Flex developers.
You can join the fun by downloading/check-out MadComponents from: http://code.google.com/p/mad-components/
When I’m not working on projects like MadComponents, I’m a freelance developer and trainer with expertise in several Mobile development technologies – not just Flash/AIR. Mobile development is my passion nowadays. But my bread-and-butter work is still as an experienced senior Flash Builder (Flex) developer.
I’ve been tinkering with Flash Builder 4.5 since before it went public on Adobe Labs. But my familiarity with Flex makes me contemptuous about its shortcomings and lardy-arsed bloated-ness. In the context of mobile applications – it’s just inappropriate. Flash Builder 4.5 inherits a legacy from its predecessors which were never intended for mobile deployment.
Considering the great job they’ve done of improving the performance of Flash and AIR on mobile devices – I’m really surprised by the decisions Adobe made with the Spark Mobile components and framework.
But I know whatever my opinions about Flash Builder 4.5 – the Flex fanboys will love it. The Adobe branding, and strength of the Flash community will guarantee its success. I know Adobe is encouraging developers to blog about there favourite features, and there are a few sycophantic bloggers that I’ve completely lost respect for.
At least Pure ActionScript development can take full advantage of the mobile enhancements in Flash and AIR.
I did an experiment. I wrote the same application in Flash Builder 4.5, and then using Pure ActionScript + MadComponents. (You can check out my code at http://code.google.com/p/mad-components/source/checkout – take a look at MadComponentsAMF.as . To run this demo, you’ll need to set up a Zend PHP server. Or Coldfusion, or Java. see: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/testdrivemobile/articles/mtd_1_1.html )
Having built the same app using Flex and MadComponents, the resulting file sizes are:-
Flash Builder 4.5: .apk 2MB MadComponents: .apk 70KB*
(* built using the same amxmlc and adt that came with Flash Builder 4.5)
Wait a minute!! The Flex app is about 28x fatter than the Pure ActionScript + MadComponents version.
28 x fatter!
That’s not insignificant for a mobile device with limited memory and capabilities. I was surprised by the numbers, and I scoured Flash Builder for an option that might yield a more optimised app. But I couldn’t find any way to do that.
The fan boys will probably retort that Flash Builder makes things easier. But does it?
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to blog some tutorials, based on Adobe’s “Getting Started With Flex On Mobile” tutorials at:- http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex.html
I’m going to take each of these tutorials, and write about how to do it with MadComponents. Subscribe to this blog if you’d like to follow these. Oh, and if you’re an irate Flex fanboy – leave a message below:-