Even .NET programmers sometimes want to create or work with a Flash application. Until now this has involved giving up Visual Studio and working with Eclipse or a custom IDE from Adobe. Now the UK-based company SapphireSteel Software, known for its Ruby Visual Studio based IDE, has produced Amethyst, a drag-and-drop IDE that works within Visual Studio. You can use it to build Flex, AIR and ActionScript based projects using nothing but Visual Studio and a drag-and-drop interface designer.
As well as allowing .NET programmers to use their familiar tools to build Flash applications Amethyst also provides the first real alternative to the Adobe IDEs.
The designer can round-trip to code and back and you can interact with the controls in "live mode". It also supports most of the conventions that a VS user would expect - double click on a control creates an event handler, properties can be set using the property window, and there is multi-level undo, code coloring, code folding and intellisense with code completion. You can also automatically refactor code and generally use smart editing features.
When it comes to testing there is the Cylon debugger which provides a similar set of features to the native VS debugger - single step, breakpoints, locals, watch, immediate window and so on. You can also use existing Adobe tools and import existing projects. You can even share a project with the Flash IDE.
Amethyst Professional sells for $249.
A free 60-day Trial is available. At the end of the trial period, the software degrades to Amethyst Personal (a free, limited feature version of the software) unless a licence is purchased.
It sounds as if it is worth trying out.
More information from: http://www.sapphiresteel.com