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Flash IDE Integration With Amethyst

Editing and Debugging Flash CS3/CS4 Projects in Visual Studio
by Huw Collingbourne
Monday 21 December 2009.

Amethyst is not solely a Flex IDE. It is also a programming environment for Flash projects (e.g. applications designed and animated using Flash CS3 or Flash CS4).

The current beta of Amethyst already supports a degree of integration to allow you to share the same ActionScript code files between Amethyst and the Flash IDE as explained in a previous tutorial. In our next beta, due out early in 2010, the integration will be greatly enhanced. It will allow you to open Flash projects simply by importing existing .fla files. You will then be able to edit and debug the application’s .as ActionScript code files using Amethyst while continuing to use the Flash IDE to work on graphics and animation.

Here’s a short guide to a few of the Flash IDE integration capabilities which will be in the next beta.

- Convert Flash IDE Project

Our Import/Conversion Wizard will have a new option to let you convert an existing Flash IDE project for use by Amethyst in Visual Studio. No changes are made to your original project files which will now be available for use both in Amethyst and the Flash IDE.

- Copy Resources To Output

If you have data files and resources such as XML or images you can set a property to ensure that all the required files are automatically copied to the same output directory into which the SWF will be compiled.

- Edit With Amethyst

You can now use all the editing features of Amethyst including its extensive code colouring, code folding, configurable code formatting, code navigation, refactoring and IntelliSense.

- Debug With Amethyst

You can also use the Amethyst debugger to debug your Flash projects. First set some breakpoints then press F5 or click ‘Start Debugging’. The Flash IDE will automatically be invoked to publish the SWF and the Amethyst debugger will be started.

- Amethyst and the Flash IDE Working Together

Here you can see we have the original Flash application loaded into the Flash IDE - you can continue working on its design and animation here. Simultaneously the code of the project is open in Amethyst - here you can edit, refactor and debug the application. We are debugging an ImageViewer project from the book, Foundation ActionScript 3.0.

- Step, Watch, Debug

When a breakpoint is hit, you have access to all the advanced features of the Amethyst debugger including drill-down debugging in the code editor (via hovering debug tooltips), watch windows, autos and locals, regular or conditional breakpoints, the ability to step into/over/out of your code and navigate the call stack.

As I said earlier, some of these features are currently in development and will be released in the next major beta of Amethyst. We’ll give more details closer to the release date.

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