Adobe Flash Builder(or Flex Builder) offers many powerful features for enabling intelligent coding, interactive step-through debugging, and visual design of the user interface layout, appearance, and behavior of rich Internet applications (RIAs). But we need pay $699 for Flash Builder 4 Premium Edition or $249 for Flash Builder 4 Standard Edition. In fact, it is almost unnecessary for most beginners or the colony who only want to try. Don’t worry! This article presents 11 free development tools(compilers) which allow you needn’t to buy software from Adobe to create Flash content, and all of them are open source!
Apparat (GNU Lesser General Public License)
Apparat is open-source language manipulation and optimization framework for ABC, SWC and SWF(ActionScript language) files in the Scala programming language. Main goals are support of multi-core architectures and useful DSL syntax to manipulate ActionScript bytecode.
As we all know, Flash Builder/Flex Builder is based on Eclipse. We can find many tutorials on how to configure Eclipse IDE as a Flash IED.
FlashDevelop (MIT license)
FlashDevelop is a Microsoft Windows .NET 2.0 based free and open source (MIT license) source code editor, supporting Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. It offers advanced ActionScript coding support:
- Supports three languages: ActionScript 2, ActionScript 3 & MXML and HaXe.
- Brilliant Actionscript Code Completion (IntelliSense) and code generators.
- Code completion for XML, MXML and HTML
- Code navigation (jump to declaration), just pressing F4/Shift-F4.
- Easy integration with Flash and command line compilers, just using Ctrl+Enter to compile.
- Integrated Project Manager to handle all the project assets, properties and files.
- Smart project templates to quickly get started.
- Instant swf building with MTASC or MXMLC using custom comment tag @mtasc/@mxmlc.
- Easy to use Context API search.
- Customized GUI for AS2API & ASDocs documentation generators.
FlashCommand (MIT license)
FlashCommand is a command line tool written in python which can launch Flash authoring to compile FLAs into SWFs. You also could find more details here.
HAXE (GNU GPL license)
haXe (pronounced as hex) is an open source programming language. You can compile a haXe program to a
.swf file. haXe can compile for Flash Players 6 to 10, with either "old" Flash<8 API or newest AS3/Flash9+ API. haXe offers very good performance and language features to develop Flash content.
MING (LGPL for the core library & GPL for the utilities)
Ming is a library for generating Adobe Flash files (.swf), written in C, and includes useful utilities for working with .swf files. It has wrappers that allow it to be used in C++, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Perl.
MTASC (GNU GPL license)
MTASC is the first ActionScript 2 Open Source free command line compiler written in the Objective Caml (OCaml) programming language by the company Motion-Twin. It can compile large number of
.as class files in a very short time and generate directly the corresponding SWF bytecode without relying on Adobe Flash or other tools. MTASC is also much faster than the Adobe Flash ActionScript compiler.
Open Dialect (GNU GPL license)
Open Dialect is an Open Source Flex based Flash IDE distributed under the GPL. Open Dialect is written in C# using the .NET 2.0 framework and has been ported via Mono and GTK+ to Linux and partially OSX. The final goal of this project is to create a tool which allows for the creation of Interactive Learning Environments that interact with System Dynamics Models over the internet.
OpenLaszlo (Common Public License)
OpenLaszlo is an open source platform for the development and delivery of rich Internet applications. It is released under the Open Source Initiative-certified Common Public License. OpenLaszlo is using it’s own compiler to generate the output.
Swfmill (GNU GPL license)
swfmill is an open source xml2swf and swf2xml processor with import functionalities. It’s most common use is the generation of asset libraries containing images (PNG and JPEG), fonts (TTF) or other SWF movies for use with MTASC- or haXe-compiled ActionScript, although swfmill can be used to produce both simple and complex SWF structures.
- built around an XSLT/EXSLT processor (libxslt)
- input and output of the XSLT transformation can be either XML or binary SWF
- XSLT commands for importing PNG, JPEG, TTF and SWF, and for mapping SWF ID numbers
- built-in "simple dialect" to support library creation and building simple SWFs
SWFTools (GNU GPL license)
SWFTools is a suite of software tools to create and manipulate SWF files. This tool collection includes programs for reading SWF files, combining them, and creating them from other content (like images, sound files, videos or sourcecode). It works on Solaris, Linux (both 32 as well as 64 bit), FreeBSD, OpenBSD, HP-UX, Solaris, MacOS X and Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista.
At last, an interesting image,