SapphireSteel Software: The Blog
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ActionScript and C# working together

by Huw Collingbourne
New tutorial on using .NET with the Flash Platform
Friday 17 December 2010.

One of Amethyst’s special features is its ability to integrate Flash and Flex projects into your .NET workflow.

This lets you...
- Create mixed-platform (.NET/Flash/Flex) Solutions
- Load ActionScript, MXML, C# or VB code in multiple editor windows
- In a single solution do drag-and-drop design for both Flex and .NET
- Drag your Flash Platform (SWF) programs onto .NET user interfaces
- Easily write and test .NET applications that communicate with Flash programs
- Debug Flash and .NET applications in a single debugging session

The most important and powerful of all these features is the Amethyst debugger. This lets you step out of C# code (for example) and into ActionScript code and back again so that you can debug ’both sides’ of a mixed-platform application quickly and easily.

For .NET developers, the integration of .NET with Flash provides a uniquely powerful workflow. You can design, edit and debug .NET and Flash Platform applications in a single, integrated environment. You never have to switch to a separate editor or IDE. Everything can be done inside Visual Studio.

I recently wrote a short tutorial to explain how to add SWFs to .NET forms. Today I uploaded a new tutorial to explain how to open channels of communication between .NET and Flash so that C# can call an ActionScript method and pass data to it - and vice versa.

- Read my new tutorial on Using Flash In .NET.

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Embed Adobe Flash In .NET Applications

by Huw Collingbourne
Easier than you may think!
Wednesday 15 December 2010.

I’ve just uploaded a new tutorial explaining how to add compiled Flash (SWF) objects to .NET applications.

Using Amethyst you can create mixed-platform solutions containing, for example, a Flex and a C# Windows Form application. This lets you build your the Flex (or Flash) SWF and drop it onto the .NET form. Read the tutorial: How to add SWFs to .NET Applications.

Amethyst also gives you the ability to debug into both projects - the C# and the ActionScript code – simultaneously. The basic steps are explained here: Debug From .NET Into ActionScript.

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Amethyst 1.2 Released (Plus WebORB integration)

by Huw Collingbourne
New features and optional .NET connectivity
Monday 13 December 2010.

SapphireSteel Software today announced the availability of version 1.2 of Amethyst Professional, the Visual Studio IDE for the Adobe Flash Platform.

This release incorporates a number of new and improved features to make Amethyst work more effectively with code shared with Adobe’s IDEs such as Flash Builder/Flex Builder and the Flash IDE (CS4/CS5). For .NET developers, it also introduces optional integration with Midnight Coders’ WebORB to enable developers to create Flash-based applications that communicate easily and efficiently with .NET servers.

Amethyst 1..2 shown here with its new optional support for Midnight Coders’ WebORB

New Features

- Support for Flash IDE ‘profiles’ attached to Visual Studio Build Configurations
- Ability to ‘add files as links’ in Solution Explorer
- Macro substitution in HTML templates
- Better SDK detection when creating projects

For full details of the changes, see the Amethyst Release History.

Amethyst 1.2 can import and share Flash IDE profiles

WebORB Integration

We are pleased to announce the availability of integrated support for Midnight Coders’ WebORB For .NET. This is an optional add-in to Amethyst (‘Amethyst For WebORB’) which, when enabled, provides dedicated support for Flash Platform/.NET development inside Visual Studio. This makes it possible to create, edit and debug mixed-language (ActionScript and, for example, C#) and mixed-platform (Flex and .NET) projects in a single Visual Studio Solution!

Amethyst For WebORB provides a uniquely powerful development environment for .NET developers working with the Flash Platform. It is even possible to debug between Flex and .NET in a single debugging session!

Amethyst For WebORB is enabled free for 60 days during the normal trial period of Amethyst Professional. If you wish to use it after that period, you must first purchase a regular license for Amethyst Professional and then purchase an additional license for Amethyst For WebORB.

Getting started with WebORB is easy - just download and install a FREE copy of WebORB running in Development Mode - all you will need is IIS 5.0 or above and .NET 2.0 or above. Licensed versions of WebORB are also available for deploying commercial projects. See: WebORB for .NET Licensing (on the Midnight Coders web site).

If you by a license for Amethyst with WebORB, use the Amethyst/Optional Components menu to register

The following resources provide more information and guidance on using Amethyst 1.2:

- Amethyst Tutorials (screencasts on various Amethyst features)
- Amethyst Product Page (overview of Amethyst)
- Amethyst Download page (free 60 day Trial or buy a license to unlock Amethyst Professional)

The following resources provide more information on using Amethyst For WebORB:

- How to Use the Amethyst/WebORB IDE Plug-in for Visual Studio (Midnight Coders web site)
- New Plug-in for Visual Studio Enables Flash/Flex Design, Dev, Debug and more (Midnight Coders announcement)
- Flex Client-.NET Server Development in Visual Studio (YouTube video)
- Debugging Flex and .NET apps using Visual Studio (YouTube video)

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Flash IDE properties shared with Visual Studio build configurations

by Huw Collingbourne
How to take fine control of Flash compilations with Amethyst
Thursday 9 December 2010.

Need to set up ’Build Configurations’ for Flash IDE (e.g. CS4, CS5) projects? Yup, you can do that with Amethyst. This video shows how to share named sets of Flash IDE properties so that you can easily switch between Debug and Release builds (for example) when you use Amethyst to control compilations of code shared with the Flash IDE.

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Flex/.NET integration with Amethyst and WebORB

by Huw Collingbourne
Develop and Debug entirely in Visual Studio
Monday 6 December 2010.

If you develop Flex apps that need to communicate with .NET you may be interested in a couple of tutorials which our friends at Midnight Coders have recorded.

These show how to create a single VS Solutions with both your Flex front end and your .NET services communicating using Amethyst 1.2 with its WebORB integration. You can try this out in the 60-day free trial period of Amethyst 1.2 RC2 from the Amethyst Release History page.

When the final version of Amethyst 1.2 is released in a couple of weeks, the Professional Edition will be licensed for $398 per developer with WebORB or $249 per developer without WebORB. Existing customers will have the option of upgrading to WebORB integration for $149.

You will also need the WebORB Community Edition or WebORB Enterprise Edition to deploy a WebORB-enabled application into production. WebORB Community Edition is free and is ideal for single-server deployments. WebORB Enterprise Edition has various licensing plans available depending upon the type of deployment. These plans are described here:

WebORB for .NET can be downloaded from Midnight Coders:

Amethyst integration with WebORB is incredibly powerful, especially if you need to debug between .NET and Flex (say C# code and ActionScript) since you can do this in a single debugging session.

The video above demos debugging. The one below explains the basics of Amethyst+WebORB integration:

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Use Flash IDE Profiles in Amethyst Builds

by Huw Collingbourne
Our tutorial explains how
Thursday 2 December 2010.

One of the neat things about Amethyst is that it can share named sets of properties for building and debugging projects with the Adobe Flash (CS3/4/5) IDE.

This is quite easy to do and we’ve just published a short tutorial to explain the basics. Read the Tutorial.

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Handling ActionScript Associative Arrays

by Huw Collingbourne
New FFD Mag article
Tuesday 2 November 2010.

The new issue of Flash&Flex Developer’s Magazine is now available.

As you may know, I write a regular column called ActionScript in Action. This month I look at the mysteries of the associative arrays (Hashes) built into the Object class at the root of the ActionScript class hierarchy.

Unlike Ruby, ActionScript does not provide a rich set of methods for manipulating associative arrays. In this month’s article, I explain how you can easily write your own methods.

The magazine is available as a free download from:

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Ruby In Steel 2.0 Announced

by Huw Collingbourne
First sneak peek at software in development
Monday 1 November 2010.

SapphireSteel Software today announced the first details of the next version of its professional Ruby integrated development environment, Ruby In Steel.

Ruby In Steel 2.0 will support development of Ruby 1.9.2 applications and Rails 3. Core features include:

- Integration into Visual Studio 2010
- Support for Ruby 1.8.6, 1.8.7, 1.9.2 and JRuby
- IntelliSense for all supported versions of Ruby
- Support for Rails 3
- Fast debugging for all supported versions of Ruby and Rails
- Enhanced project properties and Build support
- License includes Ruby In Steel 1.0 with support for VS2005/VS2008 and Rails 2

Ruby In Steel 2.0 is integrated into VS2010 and supports multiple versions of Ruby including Ruby 1.9.2

From today, we introduce a new pricing structure for Ruby In Steel. A single $249 license will entitle purchasers of Ruby In Steel 1.0 to a free upgrade to Ruby In Steel 2 when it is released in 2011. Existing owners of Ruby In Steel Developer 1.0 will be offered a low-cost upgrade to Ruby In Steel 2.0 following its launch.

Ruby In Steel 2.0 has been redesigned on the pattern of Amethyst (SapphireSteel’s Flash Platform IDE)

SapphireSteel Software will provide access to early beta releases of Ruby In Steel 2.0 to enable users to gain early access to its new features. Prior to its launch, we shall be giving a number of ‘sneak previews’ of the software here on the Blog.

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Debugging From .NET Into Flash using Amethyst

by Huw Collingbourne
Mixed language, mixed framework debugging!
Wednesday 27 October 2010.

Did you know that you can debug .NET and Flash programs simultaneously?

The unique ’Cylon’ debugger is one of Amethyst’s most powerful features. I’ve explained previously how to debug multiple Flash programs in a single debugging session. In fact, you can also debug a mix of Flash and .NET programs. Just put breakpoints in (for example) C# code and a Flex or Flash project and step from one to the other as each breakpoint is triggered.

It’s easier to understand how powerful - and simple to use - this is if you see it in action. You’ll find more information and a video tutorial HERE.

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Amethyst 1.1 Released

by Huw Collingbourne
Improved Flash IDE integration and more
Tuesday 19 October 2010.

Amethyst 1.1 - SapphireSteel Software’s visual design, editing and debugging environment for the Adobe Flash Platform - is released today and is available for download.

Amethyst 1.1 adds or enhances a number of features and it fixes some issues reported by users. Amethyst Professional is available for a free 60 Day trial, after which the software automatically degrades to Amethyst Personal unless a license is bought. Amethyst Personal Edition is a free ActionScript editing and debugging IDE which lacks some of the Professional Edition’s high-end features such as the visual designer, refactoring and multi-process debugging.

These are the principal new or improved features in Amethyst 1.1:
- Flash IDE Properties Page supports configurable named profiles (Build, Release etc.)

- Conditional compiler directives supported for Flash projects as well as for Flex projects

- SmartTags (for refactoring etc.) supported in VS2010 bringing Amethyst 2010 to parity with 2008

- New code formatting option to adjust spacing both before and after colons

- Module SWFs can now be automatically built in directories other than the main output

Other changes have been made to improve IntelliSense, code formatting, build configurations, integration with Flash IDE and debugging. Refer to the Amethyst Release History Page for full details.

To download Amethyst 1.1 for Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Studio 2008, go to the Amethyst Download Page.

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