Feathers 1.3.0

Today, I’m very happy to present Feathers 1.3.0, the latest stable release of the open source user interface components for Starling Framework. This version packs a punch with a couple of much-anticipated new features. I also dedicated many days to filling in many gaps and annoyances here and there, so get ready for the most stable and mature release of Feathers yet.


First up, we have one feature that many developers have been waiting for: percent-based dimensions in layouts. Fluid layouts have been possible since Feathers 1.1.0, with the introduction of AnchorLayout, but I know that many developers prefer percentages instead. HorizontalLayout, VerticalLayout, and AnchorLayout all support adding layout data to components to specify percent width and height values.

Flash Text Engine (FTE) provides advanced text layout capabilities that the traditional Flash TextField can never achieve, with more low-level control over text-metrics, formatting, and bi-directional text. Feathers 1.3.0 adds a new text renderer named TextBlockTextRenderer that exposes many FTE APIs.

Feathers 1.3.0 includes many other smaller enhancements. Among them include support for Mac HiDPI resolutions, better support for multiple desktop windows with different Starling instances, and the example themes are now built as SWCs to allow anyone to easily drop them into a new project. That’s not all, of course. For complete details about what’s new in Feathers 1.3.0, please read the release notes. Now, go download Feathers 1.3.0, and enjoy!

Where to download old versions of the Adobe Flex SDK

If you’re maintaining a legacy project that will not compile or run correctly with the latest Apache Flex SDK, you may prefer to avoid overhauling the entire project simply to make some minor bug fixes. If you’d rather continue using the same Flex SDK that project was originally developed with, you’ll be asking yourself, “Where can I find old builds of the Adobe Flex SDK?” They’re not exactly easy to find.

Adobe helpfully provides Archived Flash Player versions and Archived AIR SDK versions on their website. However, I had some difficulty finding a similar archive for the Adobe Flex SDK. The most promising resource was the SourceForge Flex SDK Downloads, but all of the links point to a strange FlexLicense.swf on blogs.adobe.com that my browser asks me to download instead of running directly.

After searching for a while, I could only find direct links to a few specific versions of the Adobe Flex SDK, but most versions remained seemingly lost. Eventually, I returned to that weird FlexLicense.swf, and I gave it a try with the standalone Flash Player. Someone else posted that they couldn’t get it to run at all after downloading it (which is why I didn’t try it earlier), but it worked for me, and I took the time to select each version of the Adobe Flex SDK that it listed, and I was able to open a valid URL in my browser for every single one of them.

In order to keep my fellow developers from going through the same hassle, I compiled the following list of legacy Adobe Flex SDK versions that are still available on Adobe’s servers at the time of this writing:

Hopefully, that helps another Flex developer with some legacy code to maintain.

Feathers 1.1.1

You may have spotted Gamua’s release of Starling Framework 1.4 the other day. If not, go check it out right now! The new version of Starling contains some great performance improvements, better context loss handling and customization, and many more nice, new features. After you’ve checked out the new version of Starling, be sure to upgrade to the new Feathers 1.1.1 too!

Feathers 1.1.1 focuses mainly on maintaining compatibility with the current stable version of Starling. Some APIs in Starling changed a bit, so Feathers needed a few modifications here and there to compile correctly. Additionally, I slipped in a number of minor bug fixes that were originally on track for the Feathers 1.2 release. No new components or exciting new features. This is purely a maintenance release. Stay tuned for the beta version of Feathers 1.2 later this year. The full details of what’s changed in Feathers 1.1.1 can be found in the release notes. Happy coding!