Upgrading From Flex Builder 3 to Flash Builder 4

MicroStrategy 9.2 includes the Visualization Plugin for Flash Builder 4.  If you can obtain a copy (say, from a test environment), you can still use it against an older version of MicroStrategy.  The changes in the plugin are simply related to interfacing with Flash Builder 4 and have no consequence on the actual version of your MicroStrategy implementation.  Today I’ll walk through my upgrade experience and note a few issues I ran into along the way.
I was a little worried about upgrading from Flex Builder 3 (“Flex”) to Flash Builder 4 (“FB4”), mostly due to all of the 64bit issues I’ve encountered in Flex, but it turned out to be very easy!  FB4 can be installed completely separately from Flex so you can have both up and running if you feel more comfortable during your transition.  The plugin installation is the same process of just dropping it into the plugins folder and restarting the app.  Once it’s up, you’ll have the MicroStrategy menu across the top just like normal.  I’ve been using the plugin for a few weeks now and deploying effortlessly to my 9.0.2 environment.

Importing your projects is a lot easier in FB4 than it was in Flex.  There was a tricky work around in Flex where to add a project you had to create a new one with the same name and location as an existing one, and then it would pick up all of the files.  In FB4 there is a simple “Import Flex Project” option where you can point to the folder and import it.  You also have a nice option to “Export Flex Project” and save it as a single file which makes backups and transfers a lot easier now.

I didn’t have to change any MicroStrategy related code at all in order to continue coding and deploying my MicroStrategy widgets.  The only thing you have to keep an eye out for is that you keep the Flex SDK version set to 3.5 for 9.0.2, and 4.1 for 9.2.  Other than that, I was pleasantly surprised to see everything work flawlessly.  FB4 is nearly identical in all of the areas I can tell to Flex, but it runs a lot nicer on a 64bit system.  If you haven’t had any issues at all on Flex in a 32bit environment, then you may want to refrain from upgrading just to avoid the extra software cost.  However, Adobe does offer a free 60 day trial so you can see for yourself if it’s worth it.  If you’re on a 64bit environment and have been struggling with Flex’s quirks, then upgrading to FB4 is a no brainer and should be done immediately!

I did encounter a few Flex related issues between the 3.5 and 4.1 upgrade.  I’m sure those are documented throughout the web, but the big one I ran into is an apparent change in one of the default methods that fonts are embedded.  My environment requires a special non-standard font set which I have to embed at the beginning of the mxml like this:

@font-face {
   src: url(“../fonts/MyFont.TTF”);
   fontFamily: MyFont;
   advancedAntiAliasing: true;
    embedAsCFF: false; }

The command in red above is what I had to add to all of my Font declarations in order to get them to show up in the controls.  Pretty minor, and fortunately an easy work around.

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7 Responses

  1. future says:

    This is realy good info that i have been searching around. I thank you for that!
    BTW, i have MSTR9.0.1 with SDK capability installed and tried out to install Flash Builder 4. visualization builder plugin doesn’t appear altho i copied the same to the /plugin folder. so it looks like flash builder 4 can work with MSTR 9.2, right?

  2. Bryan says:

    You have to use the Visualization plugin from the 9.2 sdk in order to get it to load with Flash Builder 4. Then, just be sure to use the VisFramework.swc from 9.0.1 and compile using Flex SDK 3.2, and then you can use Flash Builder 4 to build 9.0.1 compatible widgets.

  3. future says:

    Thank you for the quick response. How can i be sure if i am using the VisFramework.swc? anywhere to check? I am new to SDK.

  4. Bryan says:

    You can check out a more detailed post in configuring your environment for MicroStrategy Flex Development, including details on VisFramework.swc at this post: Setting Up a Flex Environment for Building MicroStrategy Widgets

  5. future says:

    Perfecto! Thanks alot!

  6. mzx says:

    Some users may have older version of flash player and new flex sdk usually requires newer flash player runtime. Html-template in flash builder already has code that updates flash player in semi-automatic manner so where is the right place in microstrategy to use this scripts?

  7. Bryan says:

    I believe MicroStrategy already has that built in on their side. Remember that your widget/visualization is loaded by theirs, so they’ll have the same requirement you have in terms of Flash Player version. It should prompt the user to upgrade if they don’t meet it already.

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