Twenty requests for Flex 4

Two months ago, I’ve created a group called Adobe Flex Experts on LinkedIn. More than 100 Flex developers/bloggers joined this group since then.

I posted there the following question:
“If you could add just one feature or suggest an improvement, what would it be? Please keep the response very short (as in Twitter – under 140 characters). There is no need to explain why you want it. Just name it.”

And here’s what people are looking for in the future Flex:

1. Full html rendering support (tall order i know…)
2. Print Preview Component.
3. I would not add anything, I would like Adobe to focus on fixing bug and issues from the jira system. Like the need for application wide exception handling. Or just fixing bugs, bugs, bugs. Oh, maybe some real collections.
4. I would love to see private constructors and possibly method overloading added to the language.
5. Access system environment variables at least in AIR.
6. Better performance
7. Better printing support. Launching of external apps in AIR. Improved AIR silent installers. More fine grained control over data binding.
8. Abstract classes and true singletons
9. More components and more build in skins. Better performance. My eclipse still weeps when i change my perspective to flex.
10. We need a real effort on Flex Builder script editor. They must implement a full “quick fix” support. A source menu with more functionalities and refactoring like default Java editor for Eclipse.
11. We also absolutely need that they implements enum and abstract class in Actionscript, but it will not be possible for Flex 4 with the actual release of Flash player 10, we still need to wait one or two years more … this was something widely asked since 2006. It’s really hard to create robust architectures without a real enum support. But with recent changes on ECMAScript 4 ex-standard, we perhaps have a chance something move right.
12. A plugin for IDE to generate getter and setter, a plugin to format code of MXML and as3, better performance on compilation so that I don’t have to  wait for 5 minutes after writing a few lines of code to see changes.
13. Make modules more robust including versioning and fix issues with Singleton class caching
14. Integrating Text and Graphics is OK, Full html rendering is too …
15. Abstract classes.
16. Fonts embed (font style and weight enabled with font characters subset)
17. Support for native PDF generation (pdf classes) and embeded PDF display (altrought it is possible with LiveCycle I would see it standalone).
18. For  AIR:
– support for other DB then SQLite
– possiblity to call external system libraries and programs
– possiblity to read/write system registry
19. I would add to the call for better OO, especially now that ActionScript is potentially no longer associated with ECMAScript. Also, please decouple  layouts from containers. Composition over inheritence should be the way to go, the current UI component hierarchy is far too complicated and    inFLEXible.

20.  Here’s my one and only wish for Flex 4. Do something about Flex Builder. It’s unbearably slow.

I’m not sure if Adobe will take this list into consideration, but every little bit helps. Use all available channels to speak up. Submits bugs and requests for improvements to Flex bugs database.
Even though I’m very skeptical about the Dear Adobe site, if you are desperate, submit your request there too.

Yakov Fain