SapphireSteel Software: The Blog
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Midnight Coders and SapphireSteel Announce Partnership

by Huw Collingbourne
Amethyst plus WebORB - a killer combination!
Tuesday 31 August 2010.

Following yesterday’s launch of Amethyst Professional, the Flash Platform IDE for Visual Studio, SapphireSteel Software today announces a technology partnership with MidnightCoders, makers of WebORB for .NET. This partnership aims to provide a uniquely powerful solution to integrate the Adobe Flash Platform with Microsoft .NET in Amethyst.

With the release of Amethyst, developers now have an easy way to create Flash-based applications inside Visual Studio. The problem of linking Flash with .NET is solved by Midnight Coders’ WebORB which provides end-to-end client-server application development across the two platforms. The Midnight Coders and SapphireSteel Software technology partnership is aimed at implementing seamless integration of Amethyst with WebORB. This will give Visual Studio users a simple and elegant way of creating data-driven Flash Platform applications with a .NET ‘back end’.

More information on The Midnight Coders web site.

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Amethyst Professional Now Available

by SapphireSteel Software
Visual Studio Flash Platform IDE ships today
Monday 30 August 2010.

SapphireSteel Software, specialists in development environments for Microsoft Visual Studio, announces the release, with immediate availability, of Amethyst, the Flex, Flash and ActionScript IDE for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and 2010.

Amethyst Professional - the visual (drag-and-drop design) IDE for the Flash Platform - brings Flex, AIR, Flash and ActionScript development to Visual Studio.

In addition to its visual Designer, Amethyst also has powerful editing features includes code folding , extensive ActionScript syntax coloring and user-configurable code formatting. It provides fast IntelliSense and a superset of the refactoring capabilities provided as standard for C#. It also has a powerful ‘multi-process’ debugger which gives programmers the ability to debug multiple separately compiled programs (Flash SWFs) simultaneously.

- Visual Designer

The Amethyst Designer supports Adobe’s Flex 3, Flex 4 and AIR. It integrates fully with the Visual Studio tools such as the Toolbox, the Layout toolbar, the Properties panel and the code editor so that users can easily create and edit Flash-based user interfaces inside Visual Studio.

- IntelliSense

Amethyst Professional supports all the standard IntelliSense features including code completion, snippets (code templates), navigation bars to find methods and classes in the current code file plus Go To Definition and Find All References to locate references to classes, variables and methods throughout an entire project.

- Refactoring

Amethyst Professional supplies a range of automatic refactoring options (to help restructure the user’s code) including: Rename, Auto-generate getter and setter methods (‘encapsulate field’), Extract code into a new method, Move a class to a new package, Promote local variable to parameter, Remove parameters and Reorder parameters. All suggested refactoring changes can be previewed prior to starting a refactoring operation.

- Integration with Adobe Tools

Amethyst Professional can import projects created by Flex Builder, Flash Builder or the Flash IDE (CS3, CS4, CS5), so that teams of developers can work on a shared codebase. When a project is shared with the Flash IDE, animators may use Flash’s timeline-based development while programmers have access to the advanced editing and debugging tools of Amethyst.

- Debugging

The unique ‘Amethyst Cylon’ debugger supports simple breakpoints, conditional breakpoints and ‘break on hitcount’. It integrates with the Visual Studio debugging windows including the Watch windows, the Call Stack and the Immediate window. Programmers are able to evaluate expressions interactively in the Immediate window. The Amethyst Cylon debugger provides multi-process debugger including ‘listen and attach’ to enable the debugging of multiple compiled files (SWFs) simultaneously. When the debugger is in ‘listen’ mode it will auto-attach to one or more SWFs when they are loaded so that the programmer can debug by stepping out of one program into a different one in a single debugging session.

- Pricing and Availability

Amethyst Professional sells for $249 USD. A free 60-day Trial is available. At the end of the Trial period, the software degrades to Amethyst Personal (a free, limited feature version of the software) unless a licence is purchased.

- License

The Amethyst license permits a single user to make multiple installations of Amethyst (for Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2010 or both) on one or more PCs. The software is licensed per user so a license is required for each developer.

- Amethyst Store
- Amethyst Download Page
- Amethyst Product Page
- Amethyst Features List
- Amethyst Tutorials

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Amethyst Launch Announced

by Huw Collingbourne
Date and price now confirmed
Thursday 26 August 2010.

Amethyst Professional - Visual Flash Platform IDE for Visual Studio
Launch date: 30th August 2010

SapphireSteel Software announces the release of Amethyst, the Flex, Flash and ActionScript IDE for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and 2010. Amethyst Professional’s visual (drag-and-drop design) IDE for the Flash Platform - brings Flex, AIR, Flash and ActionScript development to Visual Studio.

Core Features...

Visual Design

- Drag&Drop design for Flex 3, Flex 4 and AIR
- ‘Round trip’ between Designer and code editor
- ‘Go Live’ mode lets users interact with controls in Designer
- Double-click control to create event-handlers (as in C# and VB)
- Integrates with Properties, Events and Styles palettes
- Layout toolbar to resize and align selected controls
- Align to grid or align to on-the-fly alignment bars
- Multi-level Undo/Redo (synchronized with code)

Code Editing

- Extended Code colouring (all VS standard colours + 76 more)
- Code folding (based on syntax and user-defined regions)
- Customizable code formatting (spacing, newlines, wrapping, indenting - 23 options)
- Supports standard VS editor options (split-windows, macros, indent/outdent etc.)


- Code completion for ActionScript and MXML
- Double-pane completion lists (Common/All)
- Parameter completion tooltips
- Go To Definition
- Find All References


- Rename identifiers (auto rename all references in project)
- Auto-generate getters/setters (‘encapsulate field’)
- Extract code into new method
- Extract interface
- Promote local variable to parameter
- Remove parameters
- Reorder parameters
- Move class to a new package
- Preview changes before refactoring


- Unique ‘Amethyst Cylon’ debugger fully integrated with VS
- Breakpoints (simple/conditional/on hit-count)
- Step into/over/out
- Multi-process debugging (debug multiple SWFs simultaneously)
- Debug windows: Watch, Locals, Autos
- Call Stack window with stack navigation
- Immediate Window for on-the-fly expression evaluation
- IntelliSense code completion in debug windows (e.g. Watch)
- Drill-down variable expansion in Watch window and code editor
- Run/Debug via file or server

Integrates With Adobe Tools

- Convert existing project ‘in place’
- Import existing project to new location
- Share project with Flash Builder or another IDE/editor
- Share project with the Flash IDE (CS3, CS4, CS5)
- Import Flex SDK for IntelliSense and code navigation

Other Tools

- Auto-expanding snippets with editable ‘replacement points’
- Snippet editor so user can easily create new snippets
- Support for VS Class View and Object Browser
- TODO comments listed in Task pane
- Support for user-defined ‘custom comments’ in task pane
- Publish-to-site project uploader
- Incremental compilation support
- Auto-versioning support
- Build automation (batch/command line support)
- Named build configurations
- Supports Team features such as Microsoft TeamServer

Pricing and Availability

Amethyst Professional sells for $249 USD. A free 60-day Trial is available. At the end of the Trial period, the software degrades to Amethyst Personal (a free, limited feature version of the software) unless a licence is purchased. Amethyst Professional will be available for purchase from 30th August, 2010.

More Information

- Amethyst Product Page
- Amethyst Features List
- Amethyst Tutorials

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Dr Dobbs on Amethyst

by Huw Collingbourne
read the article
Tuesday 24 August 2010.

Dr Dobbs writes about Amethyst here:

Amethyst is SapphireSteel’s Flash Platform IDE for Visual Studio. Available for purchase before the end of August. More news on the Blog soon.

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Amethyst Release Candidate 3

by Huw Collingbourne
Now available
Tuesday 17 August 2010.

RC 3 of Amethyst has been released today.

We expect this to be the final release candidate before the launch of Amethyst Professional. More information and download details on the Blog:

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Amethyst Release Candidate 2

by Huw Collingbourne
Now available
Tuesday 10 August 2010.

Download from the Amethyst Download page.

More information on RC2 in the Forum.

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Amethyst Release Candidate 1

by Huw Collingbourne
Now available
Saturday 31 July 2010.

We have just released the first release candidate of Amethyst, our Flash Platform IDE for Visual Studio.

Amethyst Professional supports development of Flex and Flash projects. You may use it to create new projects or import existing projects. You may even share the same code base between Amethyst and another editor or IDE such as Flash CS4/CS5 or Flash Builder.

Amethyst Professional includes a visual designer for Flex3, Flex 4 and AIR, advanced refactoring and IntelliSense, support for large and team-based projects (with features such as ‘project libraries’, incremental compilation, switchable SDKs, named build configurations, auto-versioning and TeamServer support), fast debugging with step into/out/over, conditional breakpoints, break-on-hitcount, call-stack navigation and drilldown expansion of variables in the watch window or code editor, extensive code coloring, customizable code formatting and much more. See the Amethyst Features List for a more detailed guide to its capabilities.

The final version of Amethyst Professional is expected to ship before the end of August. There will also be a free edition, Amethyst Personal. Amethyst supports both Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010.

Amethyst RC1 is available on the Amethyst Download Page.

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Flash&Flex Developer’s Magazine

by Huw Collingbourne
August Issue
Friday 30 July 2010.

Just published. As always, this is a great magazine full of information of interest to serious Flash Platform developers.

And I’m not just saying that because I have an article in it :-) . Anyway, it’s a free PDF download and you can get a copy here:

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Debugging Multiple SWFs

by Huw Collingbourne
ActionScript debugging across multiple projects
Friday 23 July 2010.

One of the neat features of the Amethyst ’Clylon’ debugger is its ability to ’listen and attach’ to SWFs across multiple projects and even running in multiple applications.

This gives you the ability to debug two, three, four or more SWFs simultaneously. This is a real advantage when building complex applications or web sites in which many separate SWFs communicate. Debugging them one at a time only gives you part of the picture. Multiple SWF-debugging lets you set breakpoints in numerous separate projects and break into the debugger whenever any of those breakpoints is hit in any of the executing SWFs.

Our latest short video tutorial explains how this works...

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Using Amethyst Global Options

by Huw Collingbourne
Video tutorial
Thursday 22 July 2010.

My latest tutorial gives a quick overview of the global options available in Amethyst.

If you want to launch your projects in two different browsers or in the Flash Player, if you want to change the formatting of your ActionScript code or the size of the layout grid in the Amethyst Designer, if you want to refresh the Solution Explorer with files on disk or change the path to the Flex SDK, this video will explain what you need to do....

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