Flash vs Flash Builder (Flex)

I’ve spent the last few months getting extremely integrated with Flash Builder (Flex). Working almost exclusively in Flash before this opportunity, I can honestly say that Flash and Flash Builder (Flex) are two different beasts with their own quarks and challenges. To help our community of Flash Designers & Developers decide which program will be best for them, I created PROs and CONs for each program.



  • Quick use of components to create small applications
  • Component lifecycle for validation, etc.
  • Easier for programmers to get into Flash application development
  • Components can provide an advantage in large-scale projects
  • Client-Side Real-Time User Input Validation
  • Debugger that can set breakpoints and step through code
  • Automatic adding of imports and organizing of imports
  •  Visual Designer for MXML
  • Supports asDoc commenting
  • Refactoring (Renaming of classes, functions, properties with automatic changing of dependencies)

  • Increases the size of your .swf
  • Customizing the look of components can take a lot longer
  • Custom components might require Flash and then packaging of the component for Flex
  • Can force compromises to fit the architecture of the Flex Framework
  • No animation or custom graphic creation capability



  • Lightweight
  • Good for making timeline based presentations /animations
  • When working from scratch, provides a great deal of control.
  • You can program whatever you like; no compromises with existing frameworks

  • Only provides basic user input (text box) out of the box.
  • Timeline can be a nuisance for programmers
  • Development of certain types of applications can be slower than with Flex
  • User input validation must all be handled in the code.