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January 1, 2008

Installing the latest nightly Flex 3 SDK build into Flex Builder 3

Continuing my post from the the other day, if you’re trying out Flex 3 SDK and Flex Builder 3 (codename: Moxie), you may want to consider downloading and installing a newer nightly build of the SDK so you can take advantage of all the bug fixes that happen on a daily basis. The first step is to grab the latest version of the SDK, which can be found over on the Adobe Labs site at All you need to do is read the terms of use and check the check box to enable the downloads. That’s it, no logging in, or registering, just one click and go!
Currently you have a few different options of things to download:
You can download the beta 1 build of the Flex 3 SDK (67 MB ZIP, released June 11, 2007), which includes support for building Adobe AIR (codename: Apollo) applications (for more information, check out the
Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) page on Adobe Labs). According to the “Flex 3 Planning” page on the official Adobe Flex Wiki (see, You can expect to see Beta 2 ”Feature Complete” some time in late July/early August, with Flex 3 shipping in Q4, 2007 (yay!)

Flex 3 milestone schedule:
April 9, 2007
M1 Release (Alpha)
June 11, 2007
M2 Release (Beta 1)
October 2007 (was: late July/early August)
M3 Release (Beta 2) - Feature Complete
Late 2007 (was: late August/early September)
M4 - Release Candidate
Early 2008 (was: Q4 2007)
Final Release
OK, back on topic… After reading and agreeing to the terms of use, click the check box on the Flex 3 SDK page on Labs ( to download a copy of the Flex SDK. Here you have a few different choices. You can download any/all of the following:
“Flex 3 SDK Beta 1″ (which includes support for Adobe AIR).
“Flex 3 Beta 1 Compiler Modules”. These include compiler ISAPI filters for Windows, as well as compiler modules for Apache on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.
“Recent Nightly Builds of the Flex 3 SDK” (Note: “The nightly builds of the Flex 3 SDK do not include support for Adobe AIR. If you require Adobe AIR support you should use the beta 1 version of the Flex 3 SDK.”).
With that out of the way, I’ll assume you already have Flex Builder 3 installed, so grab the most recent copy of the nightly build and download the ZIP file to your desktop (or somewhere easily accessible). If you’re so inclined, you can read the changelist to see which bugs have been fixed in this release. Just click on the “View” link in the Changes column and it should pop up a new browser window.
With the download complete, locate the file, and expand it. You should see about 8 directories, as well as an XML file, a license.htm file and readme.htm. According to the readme.htm file (which may not be updated for Flex 3 yet), the Flex SDK contains the following directories:
asdoc - Contains ASDoc related files. ASDoc is a command-line tool that is you can use to create HTML documentation from theclasses in your Flex application.
bin -Contains command-line tools such as mxmlc, compc, asdoc and fdb. You use these tools to compile, debug and document Flex applications and components.The bin/jvm.config file contains Java VM settings.
frameworks - Contains the framework.swc file, frameworks.swc source code, and other helper files that you use to compile Flex applications.The frameworks/flex-config.xml file includes the default compiler options.
lib - Contains JAR files used by the compilers.
runtimes - Contains debugger versions of Adobe® Flash® Player 9 for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows.
samples - Contains source code for sample applications.
templates - Contains HTML templates for Flash Player detection and history management.
With the ZIP file expanded on your harddrive, create a new folder on your harddrive. I chose “C:\dev\FlexSDK” since it is easy to find and a minimal number of letters to type. Copy each of the files and folders you just unzipped into aforementioned folder. So now you should have a folder like “C:\dev\FlexSDK\runtimes\” (where you can find the various Adobe Flash Players).
Next, start up your copy of the Flex Builder 3 beta. If you’ve made it this far and still don’t have that installed, download it from this handy URL: (In a later post I’ll walk through installing the standalone version of Flex Builder now, so sit tight if you’re lost).
After Flex Builder 3 has launched, I’ve found two painless ways to add our newly downloaded SDK:
Method 1) From the main menu, select Window > Preferences to open the Preferences dialog box. Expand the “Flex” tree, and select the “Installed Flex SDKs” option. This brings up a data grid of all currently installed Flex SDKs and their locations. It also allows you to check off which SDK you want to set as the default SDK by clicking the check box on the left of the SDK name. To add a new SDK, click the “Add” button to launch the “Add Flex SDK” dialog box. This dialog box allows you to browse for a new SDK directory, as well as give it a name. In my case, I’m going to set the Flex SDK directory to “C:\dev\FlexSDK” and give it a name of “Flex SDK (Latest)” and click OK. It’s important to note that you’re adding an additional SDK here. You aren’t overwriting anything, or replacing anything. You still have the option to compile your MXML files with the previous versions of the SDKs, such as Flex 2.0.1 Hotfix 2, or Flex Moxie M2, both of which came installed with Flex Builder 3 Beta 1. After clicking OK, you return to the Installed Flex SDKs page. From here, click the check box next to “Flex SDK (Latest)”, or whatever name you used, to set it as the default SDK. This allows you to compile against the latest version of the SDK by default, yet still have the ability to compile against Flex 2.0.1 or Flex 3 SDK Beta 1 within a few clicks. You could also download a nightly build and extract it to a nested folder within your C:\dev\FlexSDK folder. For example, I could have created C:\dev\FlexSDK\build_177055 and then add each nightly build of the SDK to Flex Builder. While this may be overkill for most, it allows you to easily revert back to previous versions of the SDK if something was working in a previous build but not in newer builds.
Method 2) Right-click a project folder in Flex Builder’s Navigator tab and select Properties to open the Properties for dialog box. From here, click the Flex Compiler option on the left to see the various Flex SDKs currently configured by Flex Builder. Here, you can set the SDK that the project will compile against, or override the default SDK with a specific one (such as Flex 2.0.1 Hotfix 2, or any other installed SDK). To add a new Flex SDK from this screen, click the “Configure Flex SDKs…” link on the right to be taken back to the Preferences dialog discussed above.
That’s it. Downloading and installing new SDKs into Flex Builder is a pretty simple and straight forward process.

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