Introduction to Data Centric Development in Flash Builder 4 (Gumbo)

1 06 2009

As a part of “Adobe Flash Platform” branding strategy, “Flex Builder” is now renamed to “Flash Builder”.

Flash Builder Beta build can be downloaded for Free from


Using WebServices with Data Centric Development in Flash Builder 4


Data Centric Development (DCD) is an exciting new Rapid Application Development feature in Flash Builder 4 which helps traditional web developers to quickly build Flex applications that talk and fetch data from various backends like ColdFusion, PHP, BlazeDS, LCDS, WebService & HTTPService.

DCD Service List

This feature provides an easy-to-use unified workflow to import Services, see them inside Flash Builder & bind UI elements in your application to data coming from server.

Below are some of the compelling features offered as a part of Data Centric Development workflows:

  • Import existing ColdFusion/PHP/BlazeDS/LCDS/HTTP/WSDL services using very easy to use “Connet to Data/Service “wizard
  • Generate sample code for  ColdFusion/PHP service
  • View all functions & data types of your Service inside Flex Builder IDE using “Data/Services” panel
  • Test & Configure the output return type of your server side function/operation inside Flex Builder using “Configure Return Type”
  • Easily invoke & show the data from services using simple Drag & Drop and other gestures
  • Automatic client side Paging
  • Automatic client side Data Management
  • Automatic Input & Output Form Generation
  • Automatic Master-Detail view generation

Whole of this workflow can be categorized into 4 important steps. They are:


DCD Workflow


1. Connect to Data/Service

In this step, user is supposed to Import existing service by providing File path (for ColdFusion/PHP) or URL (for HTTPService/WebService) or Destination name (for BlazeDS/LCDS) to the service or generate a new service (for ColdFusion/PHP only). This step can be done using “Data->Connect to Data/Service” menu item.

2. Explore Service

Once the service is imported or created, all the available functions/methods along with its signatures from your backend service would appear in “Data/Services” panel inside Flash Builder.

3. Configure Return Type

In most of the cases, Flash Builder automatically identifies the data type of input arguments and return type of the operations by introspecting your server code & metadata. But, in some cases, Flash Builder would need to invoke the operation, introspect the output returned by the operation and create client-side ActionScript VOs if required.

4. Bind Components to Data

Once Flash Builder knows the Input argument types or Return types of the operation, you can start binding the output returned by these operations to UI elements like DataGrid, List, Button, ComboBox, Form, Charts etc..


Over the next few days, I will be explaining in detail about each of these wizards and backend specific workflows to make your life exciting with DCD.

More articles on Flash Builder 4 can be found here