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I have been looking for a really good open source flash development environment with no success. The best I could find would help in the development of pretty much everything, but I still needed to have Adobe Flash Professional in order to compile my work. Is there a way I can develop Flash applications and not need to purchase Flash Pro?

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Are you looking for an open-source IDE or just one that doesn't cost money? (the title suggests the former, your actual question the latter) –  PersonalNexus Jan 17 '12 at 20:04
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4 Answers

It depends on what it is that you're trying to do.

If you're looking for something that provides you with functionality that Flash Pro provides (such as timelines, library imports, etc), then no, there's nothing that will replace that (you can replicate the library functionality with compiler options, but that requires knowledge of the compilers and writing your own pipeline).

If you're happy replacing that functionality with code (i.e. animating your own timeline/path based animations, masks, etc) then there are a few options available.

FlashDevelop (as mentioned by Tangurena) is a great IDE and I fully recommend it to anyone working with Flash, whether on personal or professional projects. It installs the FlexSDK as part of its installation routine and uses the compilers (mxmlc and compc contained therein).

The FlexSDK is open source and therefore the compilers and utilities are free for use (but it's always good to check with your legal department prior to using it if it's for commercial use).

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FlashDevelop is a reasonable IDE, and one could use something like Sam Haxe to compile the resources down to an SWF file. I'm back to being a student again, so I qualify for the very much reduced price academic versions of the creative suites. Suites starting with CS4 will require you to send them your student ID. CS3 and below won't.

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I've made some webcam experiments using swfc (it's a crazy language but it's good for putting objects on scenes and doing some as2) and as3compile straight out of the SWFtools toolset.

You have to bridge the gap between its own documentation and the Adobe one with some faith and imagination, but it somehow delivers.

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Flash is proprietary property of Adobe. I do not expect them to open source it any time soon.

Flex is a powerful, open source application framework that allows you to easily build mobile applications for iOS, Android™, and BlackBerry® Tablet OS devices, as well as traditional applications for browser and desktop using the same programming model, tool, and codebase.

Flex has a flash compiler though I think you need a license for it. Though I believe the license the flex flash compiler is less than the Flash Pro.

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I suppose the license for Flex is less than Flash, in the sense that the compiler open-source. -1 for misleading information –  jhocking Jan 18 '12 at 2:55
    
@jhocking - Last I knew you needed a license for the flash compiler. –  Chad Jan 18 '12 at 14:07
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