Getting started with Flex on mobile devices and tablets
If you are an Adobe Flex developer and haven’t dipped your toe into the world of building mobile applications, skip your next lunch break and check it out! It is incredibly fun and the resulting apps are impressive. Because the tooling and SDK to make mobile app development with Flex possible is all in pre-release, finding information on how to get started can be a bit challenging, so I decided to create a quick guide for you.
- Get the preview release of Flash Builder Burrito from http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashbuilder_burrito/ – You can keep your existing Flash Builder install for your “day job” development and use the pre-release/Burrito install for your mobile fun. It includes the required Flex SDK (code name Hero) so it’s really all you need from a Flex point of view.
- Get an Android device running Froyo/Android 2.2. If you don’t have access to a device, don’t let that stop you. Flash Builder will run the app in an emulator.
- Grab the latest version of Adobe AIR Launchpad from http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/airlaunchpad/ – Launchpad is a new desktop tool that helps Adobe Flex developers get started building AIR apps, including AIR for mobile apps. This app will basically build a skeleton app for you with sample code for all of the fun mobile APIs (accelerometer, GPS, camera, etc.). It will save you a ton of time learning.
- If you have a device running Android 2.2, go to the Android Marketplace and install “Tour de Mobile Flex”. You’ll find a QRcode to the app and the full source code at http://flex.org/tourmobile. This is a great tool for exploring what is possible with Flex on mobile. There are tons of running samples with full source.
- Christophe Coenraets created a great self-paced, step-by-step course on building your first mobile app using Flex….and the resulting app is very useful. You can find the course at http://coenraets.org/blog/2010/12/tutorial-flex-for-android-in-90-minutes/
- Narciso Jaramillo has a great overview article of the new mobile features in Flex at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/articles/mobile_development_hero_burrito.html
The current version of Flash Builder/Burrito supports Android devices. Support for other platforms is coming soon. You can even deploy your resulting apps in the Android Marketplace (you’ll need to pay $25 to sign up for the Android developer program at http://developer.android.com/).
UPDATE: Christophe just posted a video of him running the employee directory application covered in his tutorial on 3 devices – Google Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy Tab and the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook (emulator)! — http://coenraets.org/blog/2010/12/deploying-a-flex-application-to-the-blackberry-playbook-and-android-devices/