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






14 responses

2 06 2009
3 06 2009
Using WebServices with Data Centric Development in Flash Builder 4 « My journey in the world of RIA

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

9 06 2009
John Smith

Any additional features in FB4 for OLAP interfaces?

11 06 2009

Hi John, There are no additional features addedd to OLAP / ADG except few bug fixes.

If you have anyting specific that you want to see improved in this component, please feel free to log a Enhancement request through our public bug base at

17 06 2009

I am working with FB 4 beta and I somehow can’t seem to get the ‘configure data type’ working. I have a straight select * statement in php but flex does not recognize it such that when I use custom data type, it just displays an error asking me to check the server logs (where are those btw?) Any help would be appreciated.

22 06 2009

Hi Sunil, can you please try generating a sample PHP file using “Data->Connect to PHP…” menu item in Flash Builder.

Just go through the sample and modify it for your table. If you still get errors after following that, send me your PHP to me.

17 06 2009

Great information. How you you connect to a php service on a remote server when you’re making a Air based application?

I’ve seen the tutorials that explain this for a Flex based application, but can’t find info on what to put as the URL or Web Root for Air projects.

Thanks – Yogi

22 06 2009

Nice to see your interest in Flash Builder 4. The way you connect to PHP service is same for Flex or AIR project ( Just choose ‘Desktop’ radio button in Flex Project creation wizard and choose ‘Application Server Type’ as PHP)

If you face any specific issues while using DCD with AIR projects, Do send a mail to me.

23 11 2009
Get started in learning DCD feature of Flex « Fun The Flex Way

[…] 1) Introduction to DCD […]

26 12 2009

its wonderful,,
I’m a flash Developer from china,
I hope get more info (sample) about FB4,thks

9 02 2010

Hi srinivasannam,

I read your article on the DevNet. The Flash Builder 4 generated classes are considerably different from Flex Builder 3.

What I wanted to know was is it possible to share the generated VOs across different data sources. For example, if there is an online / offline app scenario. When online, the VOs will be set by a WSDL but when offline, it will be set from local sources (like loading data from the file system). So will it be possible to use the generated VOs in the offine version.. and set the data manually?

10 03 2010
Srinivas Annam

Hi Arpit, There is no such mechanism present out-of-the-box inside FlashBuilder now. You got to manage it by coding yourself.

16 02 2010

Hi Srinivas,
I’ve just started using the flashbuilder 4 beta 2 to display and graph items in my database. I’m an engineer and not a web developer, and have a question. I connect to my database using a php service which contains my SQL queries.
What is the most effective way to take the selection from my drop down where I only use a single column, then from a date box, and feed those items forward into my next query which I graph?
Should this all be done within a single php service where each of the variables is fed forward to the next query? If so, how can I do this effectively?

10 03 2010

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