Improved Flex Project Setup in IntelliJ IDEA 11.1

Hi, Flash and Flex devs!

We’ve been analyzing feedback from those of you who use IntelliJ IDEA for Flex and ActionScript development. A common problem turns out to be complicated project setup. To address this issue in IntelliJ IDEA 11.1, we have reworked the user interface, all the way from module wizard and project setup to run/debug configurations and AIR Packaging.

We believe these changes will make product experience better for everyone, and especially for the users of Eclipse-based IDEs.

Read on to see what we’ve changed so far. However, this isn’t final, as we count on more feedback from you to make additional improvements and polishing.

Introducing a new fundamental concept: build configuration. Build configuration is a set of parameters that define how to produce SWF or SWC, HTML wrapper, AIR descriptor and installer, Android and iOS package from the module source. ActionScript/Flex module can have one or more build configurations, thus allowing you to use the same code base to produce apps/libs for different target platforms (Web, Desktop or Mobile), pure AS3 or Flex based app/lib, use different SDKs, specific compiler options, etc.

You no longer need to create different types of SDKs depending on your target platform. Now you just define the Flex SDK, and IntelliJ IDEA will automatically choose the correct subset of SWCs for each build configuration.

The screenshot below shows a project with 2 modules: one of them (CommonLibs) produces a single pure ActionScript library, while the other (MyApp) has 3 Flex application build configurations: Mobile-, Desktop- and Web-targeted.

Build configurations give you an easy start with a small test project, as well as all the power to set up a huge multi-module enterprise level project with complex dependencies and various compiler options.

At this point you might ask: how are source files highlighted if the corresponding module has several contradictory build configurations? The answer is in the status bar (and the same item in the context menu) – there you can select which of the configurations is used to highlight module sources:

Hint: You can switch build configurations very quickly if you assign a keyboard shortcut to the action.

Run/debug configurations were redesigned as well. Now there is a ‘Flash App’ run configuration type that allows launching your app in the browser, on the desktop, mobile emulator or Android device, according to the selected build configuration:

IntelliJ IDEA 11.1 will open your Flex project and convert it to the new settings on the fly (having backed up previous settings), so it’s easy to start using new features in no time!

If you find anything unclear or inconvenient, please leave your comments here, or reach us on the forum or the issue tracker.

Let me remind you that we also provide Flash profiler and Flex UI designer plugins (we’ll post demos on the latter shortly).

Happy Flash coding!

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