Archive for the ‘FDT’ Tag

haXe IDE Choices for Mac OS X

In my short time spent working with haXeNME and Jeash I have used a few code IDEs. Initially, I upgraded my FDT to version 5 which is touted as having good haXe support…. not so. The haXe support in FDT5 is very poor at present. I am sure it will get better and come into line with what is usually an awesome product (and one I have used happily for years now).

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The next IDE I tried was Sublime Text 2 (see image above). There is a Beta release you can try out for free. The haXe support is pretty good and there are lots of nice touches to the IDE. In particular I loved the scrolling panel on the right. I now miss this whenever I am using another IDE. It has some code completion and you can compile in the IDE itself if you want to.

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However, in the last week or two I have settled on the new haXe plugin for IntelliJ IDEA (see image above). This was actually my Actionscript IDE of choice and so I have been excitedly waiting for the haXe plugin support to arrive. It is now on version 0.2.1 and the latest release features the following:-

  • Type resolving improvements
  • Documentation support
  • New color settings
  • Jump to declaration of local, std symbol or class
  • Reference and Class completion

The Jetbrains guys make great IDEs – checkout Webstorm for Javascript coding – and the haXe plugin is definitely a step in the right direction for IDEA. So for me, this is my haXe IDE of choice…..

FDT 4 – How to auto-generate Getters and Setters

Again, this is common knowledge but I thought I would post it for convenience and the hope that it will help someone else out in the future.

To generate a getter and/or a setter create a variable in the declaration section of your class. Make sure to prefix it with an underscore _ and also make it private. Simply put the cursor in the variable and press Cmd-1 (on a Mac). FDT will then generate the statements for you. For instance, in the below statement, if I put the cursor on the _alertText_str variable here:-

private var _alertText_str:String;

And press Cmd-1, FDT will generate:-

public function get alertText_str() : String {
return _alertText_str;
}
public function set alertText_str(alertText_str : String) : void {
_alertText_str = alertText_str;
}

Thanks to @dougal07 for showing me this.

FDT 4 – How to auto-generate a trace() command

I only just discovered this incredibly useful shortcut in FDT. I imagine that knowing this will buy me an extra week or two of life time as I don’t have to type out trace() anymore!

Simply put the cursor over the object you want to trace and press Cmd-0 (on a Mac). FDT will then generate the trace statement for you. For instance, in the below statement, if I put the cursor on the width property of the _questionBoxStyle object and press Cmd-0, the following will happen:-

_questionBoxStyle.width = _questionBoxWidth;
trace('_questionBoxStyle.width: ' + (_questionBoxStyle.width));

My Flash on the Beach 2010 #FOTB

Flash on the Beach Conference

FOTB 2010

I recently returned from the Brighton based conference Flash on the Beach. It was my second year of attendance and once again I had an amazing experience. It has been a tough year for the Flash world and this definitely was a strong theme over the four days of talks and workshops. I caught a number of sessions related to establishing and understanding what has happened and how to adapt to the changes in the industry. I’m going to run through some of the highs and lows of this years conference and try and capture my thoughts and feelings about what was ultimately a really valuable time for me.

Highs

Grant skinner kicked off Monday morning after the keynote. His talk was excellent as usual. He covered numerous projects that he has done that started out as experiments or play. He talked about how his adhd-like nature can lead him to distraction from client work sometimes and how he has harnessed this to create many interesting side projects, often feeding back into the client work and leading onto greater things. It was a fascinating and funny talk and a pleasure to watch. He went on to provide methods on how to invoke time to be able to do this, to take twenty minutes a day and devote it to coding fun, to “Find the time” and “Learn to love to learn”. He talks a bit about this theme on a recent post that can be found here. It is so easy to slip into the habit of neglecting to ‘play’ and this was a real reminder of the tangible benefits and enjoyment that can be drawn from doing so. Some of the examples of projects of this type included Androideroids, Regexr, Perfectr (as yet unreleased), Kaleidoscope and his Playing Records experiment.

Lee Brimelow‘s talk entitled My Head Hurts was very insightful, pragmatic and encouraging and left me feeling positive about Flash’s future. Lee is a Platform Evangelist at Adobe. He made some interesting points and observations about the resulting fallout (and misinformation) generated by Steve Job’s ‘Thoughts on Flash’ blog.

Seb Lee-Delisle‘s talk, ‘What the Flux?’ was probably my favourite of the conference and covered similar subject matter to Lee Brimelow’s. Seb decided to talk to some major players in the open web community to gain some perspective on how flash is viewed from outside our own community. What he discovered was quite sobering stuff and did not leave me feeling overly warm and fuzzy inside. There is obviously some venom felt towards the Flash community, and it was interesting to hear Seb say that it’s partially our own fault for the weaker aspects of the content we have produced over the years. The talk was great because it managed to trawl though so many complicated issues and summarise it all into really useful information and comment. The overall conclusion was that we all needed to keep on learning new tech, keep adapting and keep being passionate. It was a great call to arms and kick up the backside and definitely a talk worth watching, Flash developer or not, if you can find a link to it online. It ended in an on-stage game of Family Fortunes that he had built using an iPad and Wii-mote controllers. I also had the pleasure of talking to him at the bar afterwards and discussing his talk further. What an lovely guy he is.

Iain Lobb‘s game design talk, ‘Zero to Game Designer in 60 Minutes’, was excellent. The venue was packed and many were unable to get in. He used a demo-suite created using his latest game-engine to illustrate the many subtle nuances that come together to make a pleasing gaming experience. You can play with his demo here. It enables you to play with camera movement, character movement, physics, feedback, enemy behaviour and many other components of gaming. One particular insight I loved was the explanation of how Mario games feel so ‘right’: Mario has three times as much gravity applied to him on the way down as he does on the way up.

– Seeing the work of artist/coder Robert Hodgin, the man behind the iTunes Visualiser!

– Bumping into the FDT team on Brighton Pier and chatting to them about their great product face to face.

– Having after-party drinks at the Dome Bar right at the conference. £1 drinks and plenty of room for everyone = much better!

Stefan Sagmeister‘s manatee blowjob joke, oh, and his talk in general. Again, the theme was one of experimenting and play (in the context of sabbaticals). Inspiring stuff.

– Having at least one strand of every talk session being signed for the deaf audience.

– Leaving the conference feeling inspired, engaged, reinvigorated and ready to do more (this is probably the thing I like most about FOTB).

Lows (actually these were very hard to come up with…)

– Although I found it all quite amazing, I think I saw too much generative art this year.

– For me, there was a lack of talks containing tangible, valuable, help and advice such as gotchas, code examples or best practices.

___________

So all in all it was an excellent and valuable time. I will definitely be back again for more. Thanks to everyone involved for making it so good and to all the people I met and hung out with. It was a pleasure.

Make #FDT’s code assist more like #FlashDevelop’s

I love FDT but the main thing I miss from FlashDevelop is it’s amazing code assist functionality. My friend Darren B just showed me how to make FDT behave more like FD and I think it’s pretty close! Do the following:-

Window -> Preferences -> FDT -> Editor -> Code Assist -> Auto activation triggers for AS: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz_.:

This will basically bring up the code assist upon any key press (rather than having to trigger it manually).

There are also a WEALTH of FDT customisation techniques to be found on this wonderful blog:-

http://www.rblab.com/blog/2009/07/eclipse-3-5-and-fdt-3-2-for-actionscript-development-part-3-configuration/

I am starting to see that I am barely scratching the surface of the power contained within Eclipse and FDT.

Blog and screencasts on FDT’s most useful features

I found this Top 5 list of FDT features written by Marcel Fahle. He does some nice screencasts that do a great job of demoing the power and usefulness of FDT. It might be good for people who don’t know what FDT can really do.

http://marcelfahle.com/2009/06/30/my-top-5-timesavers-in-fdt-and-how-to-use-them/

Word-wrap in Eclipse

I was amazed to see that word-wrapping does not come as standard in Eclipse and that it has been on the feature request list for years. I know that your code shouldn’t be longer than the width of the page but I wanted to use Eclipse to edit my xml and I frequently have large chunks of text content that are a pain to work with if they don’t wrap. After some rooting around I found this plugin – ‘Virtual word wrap’. Once installed, you can turn wrapping on and off with a right-click. I read that it’s a little basic and buggy but it serves my purposes well. Here is the link:-

http://ahtik.com/blog/eclipse-word-wrap

Informative review of FDT from a FlashDevelop user

I have recently switched from Windows back to Mac OSX. The thing I miss about Windows is using FlashDevelop: it’s free, it’s excellently made and it just suited me down to the ground. On OSX I have been using Eclipse 3.4 with the Flex Builder plugin and it has been good but not as good as FD. So…. basically, I am still on the hunt for a FD equivalent on OSX and I think I am going to give FDT a try. I found this useful guide/review to setting up FDT:-

http://blog.flashmech.net/2008/08/review-fdt-vs-flashdevelop

So far I have found it very good although it keeps throwing a lot of annoying warnings for instances that are being declared by Flash on the stage but not in a class. I wonder if there is a way I can turn this off?