Version 4.5 of the Flex framework makes it easier to develop applications destined for mobile devices (and there are some crazy-exciting developments along those lines, which I’ll post about separately), but version 4.5 of the corresponding Flash Builder IDE also comes with a nice bonus: even better integration with PHP.
PHP is my Web programming language of choice, and in version 4 of the Flex framework and the Flash Builder IDE, Adobe made a purposeful attempt to increase usage of Flex among the PHP community (this is also when I really began embracing Flex). For example, Flash Builder 4 comes with a wizard for connecting to PHP scripts, including creation of boilerplate PHP code. The new Flash Builder 4.5 IDE, due out May 11, comes in a couple of versions: Standard, Premium (with extra wizards, debugging tools, and profiling utilities), Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP Standard, and Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP Premium. The Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP versions were created in conjunction with Zend, and include an integrated version of Zend Studio 8. As both Flash Builder and Zend Studio are built upon Eclipse, this is a natural fit. And Flash Builder 4 started using Zend AMF to transmit data in Action Message Format between Flash applications and PHP scripts; the two companies have been working together for a while.
Needless to say, if you’re already doing Flex and PHP development (like I am), Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP is the perfect tool. The ability to do all the programming, both server-side PHP and client-side Flex, in one application, will save a lot of time. Just the debugging alone…Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP will let you debug both the PHP script and the Flash application without changing programs!
In terms of pricing Flash Builder 4.5 Standard is $249.00, if purchased new, and Zend Studio is $299.00 (all prices are in US dollars and accurate as I write this). Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP Standard is $399.00, so there’s a decent price break compared to having the applications individually.
For a good, quick introduction to Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP, see this article at the Adobe Developer Connection.