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Visual Studio Flex IDE - Amethyst Developments

Beta 2 due soon
Tuesday 6 January 2009.

As regular readers will know, my ‘day job’ (when not writing for Bitwise) is developing Visual Studio IDEs for Ruby On Rails and Adobe Flex.

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)

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