Mobile Development with PHP
Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 will soon be available (release is currently scheduled for early May) to the PHP development community. Version 4.5, though, is not just the latest version of Flash Builder, it is the beginning of a partnership between Zend and Adobe. Flash Builder 4.5 is under the Adobe umbrella, but will come with Zend Studio 8 bundled in and will have the full backing of Zend. You will now be able to create mobile applications using the Adobe Flash platform and PHP in one integrated application. Both Flash Builder and Zend Studio have been built on the Eclipse platform, so you will be able to build Flex and PHP side-by-side.
So what’s so great about that? According to Andi Gutmans of Zend, having the two programs bundled together will provide a seamless experience end-to-end, creating apps deployable to Android devices with support for iOS and Blackberry devices shipping within 60 days. Even though this is not a pure “write-once-deploy-everywhere”, this will save considerable time and resources. Instead of three completely separate apps for the three separate platforms, you will be able to use one code base within Flash Builder to deploy natively to all three mobile platforms and the web. Dave Gruber of Adobe estimates there will be upwards of 70% code reuse across all platforms (mobile and web).
And the best news beyond that is integrated debugging. Flash Builder 4.5 will be able to handle debugging for all your platforms – desktop, IDE, server-side PHP and device – all in one session.
Everything described above will be available for Windows (XP SP3 or higher) and Mac OS (OSX v10.6 or higher). See the Adobe website for the full list of requirements. The Standard version of Flash Builder 4.5 will cost $399 USD. There will also be a Premium version for $799 USD which will also include memory and performance profilers, a network monitor, and a unit testing harness to connect to major unit testing frameworks. Both the Standard and Premium versions will be available for sale through either Adobe or Zend. There are company-specific upgrades available as well. If you already have Flash Builder, upgrades are available for both versions for $299 USD through Adobe’s website. Current Zend Studio users can contact the Zend Sales team to receive discounted pricing on upgrading to Flash Builder.