A long time ago, I ranted about how development tools for Flash were terrible. I set up a pitch that Adobe just knocked out of the park.
With the Flex Builder 2 IDE, the Flash Platform finally has the killer coding environment that developers from other languages have come to expect. Not only can you use it for Flex development, but you can also create ActionScript projects and use the Flex Builder IDE to drive the code for your .fla files for Flash 9 as well.
As awesome as Flex Builder 2 is, I think the biggest congratulations are in order for the paradigm shift that we just saw. To draw developers to the Flash Platform, Adobe is giving away the keys to the kingdom. For the first time ever, you can develop for the Flash Platform for FREE via an SDK released and supported by Adobe.
The Flex 2 SDK will allow you to use ActionScript 3 and the Flex Framework through a command line compiler to target Flash Player 9. This is a strategy that Microsoft has employed so well -- give away the basic tools for free, get developers to target your platform, and charge a modest fee for a great IDE that makes you more productive as a developer. Finally there is a zero cost of entry for the Flash Platform, which is just what what it needs to grow the developer base.
Kudos Adobe, and congratulations to all of the individuals who made this release possible. Flex 2, ActionScript 3, and Flash Player 9 is, in my mind, the most significant release ever for the Flash Platform. Thanks for the hard work.. I've never had this much fun being a FlashCoder before.