My verdict on FDT

I said I would try FDT for a month and I am sad to say that I did not find it superior to FlashDevelop. FDT has some good sides and even stuff that it does better than FlashDevelop, here are some:

  • compile errors while editing
  • debugger
  • ant support

But it has two major problems, first it is built on Eclipse which makes it much more complicated than it should be. Secondly it is very expensive (well I had more problems with it than just that, but these are the game changers). I don’t even understand why it cost so much… It even cost more than Flash Builder. Anyway that seems weird to me, but maybe it’s just me. Anyway in comparison to FlashDevelop which is free, it doesn’t stand a chance.

While venturing in the FDT world we came across templates, snippets and short keys. Those are very useful things when you use them. Templates are also time savers when you are using PureMVC because when you want to create a Mediator, all you have to provide it is the mediator name, and it’s view  name and type and it will generate the rest; no more copy paste from other mediator. Also project template are very cool. Snippets are mini templates, for example to generate getters and setters. Short cuts are combination of keys you press to do an action instead of going trough a menu to do the same action. Well, it just happens that FlashDevelop has all those things, but I just wasn’t using them… So out of all this I came out with increased efficiency.

FDT might still be a very good tool, mostly if you are already familiar with Eclipse, but for me FlashDevelop is still the way to go. If  FlashDevelop gets a Debugger than I won’t even ask myself the question.

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  1. #1 by Tahir Ahmed - December 10th, 2009 at 05:08

    I use FlashDevelop too and find it way better than FDT and FlexBuilder (I haven’t tried FlashBuilder yet). FlashDevelop’s clean interface and easy project navigation are things, IMHO, keeps it on top of the other contenders.

    And, ofcourse, FlashDevelop is free.

    - Tahir.

  2. #2 by ray - December 10th, 2009 at 06:22

    Stuff like templates, snippets and short keys are all available in FDT.

  3. #3 by zedia.net - December 10th, 2009 at 10:59

    @ray
    When trying FDT I paid attention to details and I wanted to find features that made it better, so I came across templates and snippets and I tried to learn the shortcuts. So when I went back to FlashDevelop I was happy to see it had all those options also. We then translated our templates from FDT to FlashDevelop.

    @ Tahir Ahmed
    I also think project creation and management in FlashDevelop more intuitive than in Eclipse.

  4. #4 by Alan - December 11th, 2009 at 15:29

    I am a huge FDT fan, mostly for one reason- refactorig. Your top 3 things you liked: debugger, compiler errors and ant support are (to me) rarely used. I don’t even use templates.

    But refactoring… I use it tremedously. I know the FDT guys are pushing to have more refactoring power with it, but it will be a little more time before it’s at where something like intellij idea 9.

    It’s a tough call, because a developer has to be familler with heavy and constant refactoring, a la Fowler and Martin style, before they understand how nessecary it is. It’s a chicken and the egg thing.

    If someone is a developer and doesn’t need the team integration, automation and refacotring powers of FDT. Then FlashDevelop is a great alternative.

  5. #5 by jeff - December 14th, 2009 at 22:32

    I have just begun to start using FlashDevelop myself. Glad to know I am not missing out on anything. Thanks for conducting this experiment. :)

    great wordpress template btw. ;)

  6. #6 by rich - December 16th, 2009 at 08:28

    FlashDevelop is great for a free tool and works really well for small projects, but for larger scale stuff the added power of a proper debugger, refactoring, and built in svn are essential. The fact it’s eclipse based is also a plus for me, switching between different perspectives for other tasks is really useful.

    I’m using Flash Builder at the moment and still can’t believe how much Adobe have left out – full template support and code completion being the biggest issue. Hopefully this will be resolved in the full release.

  7. #7 by echo5-7 - January 2nd, 2010 at 07:51

    FDT was open source when it was released, but it was to difficult to build up a developer community around the tool. So the powerflasher decided to keep the code, and since then, the FDT is more popular for business clients.

  8. #8 by zedia.net - January 5th, 2010 at 17:27

    I don’t know if I’m missing something, but refactoring doesn’t seem to be something I do often. Maybe it is because of the type of project I am doing which are more microsites or websites that are not modified often. That might explain why I don’t find FDT more useful than FlashDevelop.

  9. #9 by Semjanin - April 13th, 2010 at 01:20

    По моему мнению Вы ошибаетесь. Могу отстоять свою позицию.

  10. #10 by aristophrenia - October 4th, 2010 at 07:22

    FDT is for gown ups.
    The sheer number of tools I have at my disposal is insane – plugins from pixel bender etc. FlashDevelop is – sorry – a toy next to eclipse.

  11. #11 by george - May 8th, 2012 at 12:51

    FDT is much cooler then FlashDevelop, once i wanted to rename a setter’s name in FD – it was a damn hell to implement as opposed to FDT which does the same thing as expected

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