Guest Post: HFCD 4 Review
Hello, my name is Jeremy Petersen. I’m the Vice President of Technology at School Improvement Network, and I wanted to take a moment to write a review of my experiences with HFCD 4.
Let me start with a little background. The School Improvement Network http://www.schoolimprovement.com provides the solutions, products, and services that help teachers and educators increase student achievement. Our flag ship product is a large Adobe Flex application called PD 360. PD 360 is an on-demand professional learning system for teachers and educators, with a series of tools built around a library of video segments.
PD 360 started out as a simple on demand video player application back with Flex 2.0 in the fall of 2006. The application has followed the maturing of the Flex platform with a full Flex 3 rewrite, and is now in the process of a full Flex 4 rewrite. Along with the obvious advances and growth inherited in keeping up with latest versions of Flex/Flash Builder, the application has also grown exponentially in complexity, size, and features. In fact, our Flex 4 rewrite has a (insert expletive) 42 modules! The project has also gone from a couple of developers that tinkered on it in their spare time to team comprising of 4 full time Flex engineers, and 2 full time ColdFusion engineers.
Let me start out by saying that we love Flex 4, but after making the switch from Flex 3 and having rearchitected our application from the ground up (enter the 42 modules), we definitely noticed a HUGE hit in compile times. All of our engineers have very capable hardware (Corei7 etc). But to even change the text on a single button in the application would result in a 4-5 minute compile time. Talk about a drop in productivity.
Now, enter HFCD 4. One of our engineers read about it on a blog and decided to try it out. His results were too good to be true. After waiting a couple of weeks to make sure he did not have any issues, the rest of the team changed over on 30 day trial licenses to test things out. Remember that 4-5 minute compile time from before? With HFCD 4 , making changes to a single module, that compile time is down to 4-5 seconds! Granted changes to code that is linked in to multiple modules (say our controller etc) still take a couple of minutes to compile, but for most of the work our team is doing we are officially back in business of writing code and not reading blogs or firing up World of Warcraft in between every single run/ compile.
So it goes without saying that we love this product! But my review does not stop here. I have one other thing to comment on. The support of Clement Wong (HFCD creator). Clement went above and beyond our expectations in support and answering questions. For some reason my personal install had some issues (it ended up being Eclipse problems). Clement not only helped me via email, but even offered to do a phone call to get me up and running. In addition, he is very responsive to feature requests and suggestions.
HFCD comes with a free 30 day trial, so grab a copy and try it out. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!