Flex Builder Plus

As most are aware Flex Builder is built upon the eclipse IDE. Now for those that use the Flex Builder plugin for eclipse as opposed to the standalone the following will not be a huge surprise, but it may highlight elements that you hadn’t thought about to improve or extend your workflow.

What do I mean, well I’m talking about additional plugins to make your Flex 2 workflow just that little bit easier. To give you an idea of what I mean here are the additional tools and plugins I have installed within Flex Builder to streamline my own workflow. Firstly we have entire development environments (perspectives)

  • Aptana – Probably the best front-end development plugin for eclipse (Supports HTML / Javascript AIR development too)
  • OxygenXML – Very handy if you are doing a lot of XML based data solutions
  • PHPeclipse / PDT – I’ve recently started looking at PDT as a replacement. Well have to wait and see if one is a clear winner.
  • CFEclipse – I personally do very little Coldfusion, but if asked I have the tools to sort it out :)

These are the some of the additional plugins that I tend to use solely as views within one or more perspectives:

  • subclipse – Some hate this plugin. Personally I find it very useful. Especially as OS X doesn’t have a decent TortoiseSVN like Finder plugin* Ant (you will need to install the eclipse Java Development Tools to get this one in the Standalone version of Flex Builder)
  • JCraft SFTP viewer (this utilizes the WebDAV and FTP eclipse plugins). Great for remote file management – package includes JSsh and JTerm if you need them.
  • Site Explorer – Again this is part of the WebDAV and FTP tools providing remote file management through common web protocols.
  • QuickRex – A Regular Expression Builder and common Regexes to speed up your development
  • Multi Clipboard – Pretty much does what it says. Handy clipboard manager within eclipse

*There is SCPlugin but it is a bit hit and miss and only recently got a full time dev team again. Plus I never got on with SvnX

Mike Jones


  1. i am in a dilemma, whether to use stand alone Flex Builder or a FB plugin over Eclipse.
    Can anyone explain the advantages of both?

  2. @Dodo I personally use the plugin version these days. This is because I have a lot of additional applications installed in eclipse and it is quicker for me to manage them.

    That said, the standalone version of Flex Builder is a fully functional build of eclipse; it has just been cut down to use only the files that Flex Builder requires. You can install the missing elements quite easily (they were removed as they tend to be Java development specific and only add dead weight in FB).

    I would recommend the standalone if you only use eclipse for Flex development. It isn’t hard to migrate from this to an eclipse plugin version at a later date if you need to use additional eclipse based tools.

    Just make sure you use external plugin repositories to load tools like those listed above. This way you shouldn’t need to reinstall everything if you remove FB or switch between that and the plugin. I wouldn’t recommend sharing a plugin directory between different version of eclipse though.

  3. Thanks Mike, what are your thoughts on PHPeclipse vs PDT (& possibly also Zend) now?

    I only just discovered Aptana but I’ve been using Subclipse for some time – I’m on the verge of getting myself a Macbook Pro and hadn’t considered the fact that there would be no more TortoiseSVN.

  4. Hi Neil, I finally opted to use Aptana for PHP as well – keep it all in one so to speak. Plus it had RadRails suport too so it is quite a good package. Subversion client wise on a Mac, you’ve got SCPlugin which is a bit like TortoiseSVN or Syncro SVN. Although my personal favourite for non eclipse based SVN control is Versons.

    Good to hear you’re taking the plunge and switching – you won’t regret it one bit :D

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