All I want for Christmas is an open-source IDE

I won’t even pretend to know what all Flash programmers want or need for Christmas, health but thinking about it has made me realize how ready I am for something new.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Macromedia has made a fantastic product of Flash, and I really don’t have any complaints other than the usual nits. But still, there is a new year dawning…

For myself, I’d like to see more activity in the world of open-source Flash development. OSFlash has nurtured some pretty amazing projects this year (If you haven’t checked them out, you owe it to yourself!), but I’d love to see an alternative to the Flash IDE itself — an open-source tool for the creation of any SWF content. No offense to Macrom… um, I mean, Adobe, of course: I think one reason we still lack a third-party development platform is because Macromedia did such a fantastic job in creating the original Flash itself. But as the SWF format has been open for some time now, it surprises me there are still no open IDEs for Linux and other platforms.

I don’t think it’s any secret I’m a fan of open-source software, but bear me out.

With Sephiroth’s SE|PY for script editing and MTASC for compiling, it seems we’re only a little way off from a full authoring environment now. Add Screenweaver programming interfaces and functionality, and we’re closing in on a RAD desktop application creation technology that can’t be beat. (Granted, we can do it all today; it’s just a little clunky. My new year’s wish would be to have it all integrated and shiny, just like Mother Macromedia would have done.)

So… what do you want for Christmas?

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9 thoughts on “All I want for Christmas is an open-source IDE”

  1. I think there are a few things that have hindered this effort. One, MTASC is not going to
    support actionscript 3.0. Two, they don’t release the Flash Specifications soon enough. We will
    always be behind in creating this ide unless there is more information posted sooner in terms
    of the format.

  2. Senocular — of COURSE you have to hate Flash to use Linux! But if there were an open-source alternative, I think all would be forgiven. 😉

  3. Regarding Dominick’s comment, I’m not sure that MTASC not suporting AS 3.0 would keep ppl from developing such an open source IDE. After all, most ppl would use it for non-class based applications, like websites and the likes. Let’s not forget that AS 2 has been around for years and most website development work is still done in AS 1 and may even continue do be like so for a long time.

  4. “… it surprises me there are still no open IDEs for Linux and other platforms….”

    Each person can do the work they wish, of course, and then once they’ve done it they can choose how they’d like to share that with others.

    But some *have* been using opensource efforts on various types of Linux, although the lack of predictability still makes this harder:
    http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd/archives/2005/11/fames_on_ubuntu.cfm

    More on the subject:
    http://flashant.org/index.php?p=483&c=1#comments
    http://www.kaourantin.net/2005/08/porting-flash-player-to-alternative.html

    Related popular discussion topic: “opensource” for creation or delivery makes sense because you control your own machine, but “opensource” for clientside engines is trickier because it competes with the goal of predictable running on Other Peoples Machines (OPMs 😉 … VRML, SVG, CSS are all examples of what happens to fragmented runtimes.

    jd/adobe

  5. I agree with JD that the client should be kept as standard as possible. In fact, flexibility among clients almost always leads to gross complexity and programmatic nightmares (i.e., the ol’ Netscrape vs. Internet Exploder code trees).

    While I like the idea of opening up a file-level interface to Flash (a la Screenweaver or Zinc), the thought of Flash production becoming subject to “Which player would you like to target?” decisions at publication time would surely ruin its magic for many of us. It’s hard enough knowing the Flash Lite player is already out there acting “different” from the other versions — I’d hate to have to support separate app versions for a Microsoft player, a Zinc player, a Knoppix player, a GNU player, an Adobe player, a Universal player, etc.

    That’s what makes Flash so awesome today — one small player runs everything. The only way I think anybody would want to see SWF “extensions” would be those embedded in standalone projector files (for local file access, etc). The player itself must remain sacred. 😉

  6. I am on Linux (Ubuntu) and do run Flash 8. Through Wine yes. And yes, I did pay for my copy. Flash does put bread on my table, so I think it is just fair I pay my copy. The couple hundred that the full version cost are well back in my pocket….anyway, just thought I’d share that. Open source or not. I do release most my stuff if there is anything new to my code. And do actively participate as a tester in multiple osflash projects.

    what I love about the ‘open source’ movement (in the lack of a better adjective here) is the participatory aspect of it. If, in the end, I have to flip my part of the bill, I do not understand where the problem. Let’s face the facts, someone always HAS TO get payed. Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s me, and every now and then, it is that other guy or gal down the street…

    keep the change…

    V

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