I have been using FDT for a couple of years now and I love it, but it wasn’t until recently that I started to really use it’s full potential. The biggest reason is that we still use the Flash IDE a whole lot and .fla’s are the main source of our project. Previous a lot of our projects would be 1 maybe 2 fla files and all the code would get compiled into them. We would still use FDT for all of our coding but would lose out on using the debugger which is really an amazing time saver.
So now after building the Fuel ANT Tasks, and creating a new workflow between designers and developers, we have now embracing all that is FDT. We have come up with a great solution on how to remove all of the code from our FLA’s and have it get compiled into one swf. The swf can be compiled from Flash or FDT. We create a blank fla with only a document class as our entry point, this way anybody with the IDE can compile our project. Now there are many different ways to accomplish this, so I am not going to go into them, but may post about it in the future – we are still refining the process.
The thing to take away from it is that when we are doing only code changes we can compile the code and even fla’s from FDT and have it run through the debugger. Now in order to get this running a ran into a few problems and wanted to share the solution, because it has stumped a lot of people.
Launching in External SWF Viewer
One of the options to launch your application is the External SWF viewer. This is a basic java application that displays a html page with your swf in it. The html page is generated in your output directory when you compile and then deleted when it’s complete. Because the swf is running in a local html file chances are you are going to run into security errors if you are doing any network calls, or loading of remote assets. The easiest way to get around this is to add your workspace directory to the Flash Global Security Settings panel. The path to my workspace looks something like /Users/julian/workspace, so it’s tempting to add that as a path. But because the way that the External SWF viewer is loading the swf you need to add the path like so file:////Users/julian/workspace. This will now make that directory and all it’s sub directories locally trusted locations and will not throw security errors. Be sure to check out the Run/Debug preferences in Eclipse as well for some useful settings that you may want to adjust.
Flash Player 10
I was trying to compile a project to Flash Player 10 the other day and kept getting a bunch of errors. I had added the Flash Player 10 playergloabal.swc and my swf was running in Flash Player 10 so I thought that would be enough. But it was actually compiling to Flash Player 9 still. So after much digging I found out that you need to add the following arguments to the flex sdk during compiling.
So now after a couple of weeks of trial and error on getting the whole workflow set up, I think we have a really good system in place and am looking forward to starting a new project to use it from start to finish. It took me a while to get used to the debugger and really understand it’s power, but once you do it’s an amazing time saver. No more traces just breakpoints.