My company, SapphireSteel Software, announced our new Flex IDE, ‘Amethyst’, about a month ago when we released the first beta. This beta concentrates on editing and project management functionality. Shortly, we will released beta 2 which will add IntelliSense ‘code completion’. In a few weeks we will release a version that includes a debugger. All of these features will be in our free IDE, ‘Amethyst Personal Edition’ (PE), which will even run (optionally) inside a free version of Visual Studio (the ‘VS Shell’), making the entire IDE completely free to end users.
We are also developing a commercial edition, ‘Amethyst Professional’, which will have a more powerful debugger, more complete IntelliSense and (crucially) a drag-and-drop visual design environment - the ‘Amethyst Designer’.
The designer was, in fact, the first part of Amethyst which we began working on when we started this project, about a year ago. Flex is essentially a visual framework which makes components available for use in Flash-graphics-rendered user interfaces. It was clear to us from the very outset, that professional Flex developers would absolutely require a sophisticated and fully integrated visual designer. Creating a visual designer that both provides a really accurate representation of a Flex user interface and is also fully integrated into Visual Studio is far from being a trivial undertaking.
However, the version of the designer that we now have in development integrates with the Visual Studio toolbox (for drag-and-drop component placement), as well as various VS toolbars (to provide, for example, click-and-align capabilities) and will also provide code-editor/designer round-tripping and integration with the VS property panels (and so on).
The first beta of Amethyst Professional will be available fairly soon. In the meantime, beta 2 of Amethyst PE will be available next week.
More news of Amethyst on the SapphireSteel Software site:
A Brief Guide To Amethyst PE
ActionScript Code Formatting In Amethyst #1
ActionScript Code Formatting #2
ActionScript IntelliSense in Amethyst
Ruby and Flex Developments In 2009
Download Amethyst PE (beta)