Friday, September 26, 2008

Like X-Ray Vision For Flex

I seriously owe Dustin a beer. The man saved me hours of painful debugging with the Flex app I'm working on. He recommended I look into the Flex command line debugger (fdb). He's even written a nice article walking through how to set it up.

While fdb is neat, and I'm thinking it will integrate well with emacs, what I'm really in debt to Dustin for is having me enable debug mode in the Flash player.

As part of setting up fdb, I downloaded a debug version of the Flash Player, and then changed some settings in my flex config file to compile with debug mode on, and with showing stack traces. (Check out Dustin's article for how to do this)

The result is that now a runtime error in the Flash player results in a gorgeous stack trace, and not just silent failure. It really is a thing of beauty. I'd have given up on Flex some time ago if I had to debug blindly.

If you haven't taken the time to setup the debug version of Flash - do it now. You'll be glad you did.

Over these last few days, I've grown more and more fond of Flex and ActionScript 3. I love how the Array class provides map and forEach functionality, how I can use nested functions to do tail-recursion style loops, and how I can dyanmically instantiate a class trivially. Well done Adobe. This isn't just a nice GUI toolkit, it's an impressive language, too.

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