SapphireSteel Software: The Blog
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Ruby In Steel 2 - beta 1 available

by Huw Collingbourne
Version 2 of our Ruby IDE now available for testing
Thursday 3 March 2011.

SapphireSteel Software is today pleased to announce the availability of the first public beta of version 2 of its Ruby IDE, Ruby In Steel.

Ruby In Steel 2

Ruby In Steel 2 supports Ruby 1.9.2, Ruby 1.8, JRuby and Rails 3 within Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Anyone who buys a full-price ($249) license for Ruby In Steel Developer 1.5 will be entitled to a free upgrade to Ruby In Steel 2.0 when it is released later this year. Other registered users of Ruby In Steel Developer 1.5 will be offered a low-cost upgrade path upon release of Ruby In Steel 2.0.

- Ruby In Steel 2.0 (beta) Download page

The Ruby In Steel 2 Importer Wizard converts and imports existing Ruby or Rails projects

Ruby In Steel 2 supports multiple interpreters. You may switch from one to another using Project/Properties

More Information and Downloads
- Ruby In Steel 2.0 Announcement (November, 2010)
- Ruby In Steel 1.5 Download page
- Ruby In Steel Prerequisites (supported interpreters)

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ActionScript ByteArrays and More...

by Huw Collingbourne
In the March edition of FFD Mag
Wednesday 2 March 2011.

If you are a regular reader of Flash&Flex Developer’s Magazine you may be familiar with the ActionScript programming columns which I write for it.

If you aren’t, I’d recommend that you download this month’s copy. Not only for my article but also because this magazine is a first rate resource for Flash platform programmers and, best of all, it’s free!

My Adventures In ActionScript column this month is devoted to the mysteries of serialization to allow you to save and restore custom object types to and from disk. Other features include articles about creating custom visual classes, file handling with PHP and ActionScript 3.0, test-driven development, strategies for enterprise Flex application, 3D in Flash plus a number of reviews and interviews.

Download FFD Mag from their site:

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Advanced ActionScript Debugging

by Huw Collingbourne
New Amethyst Tutorial
Friday 18 February 2011.

Our latest video tutorial gives an overview of Amethyst’s advanced debugging features for Flash Platform applications.

These include:
- Break on hitcount
- Conditional Breakpoints
- Tracepoints

For guidance to other debugging features such as simple breakpoints, the Watch windows, drill-down debugging, navigating the call stack, multi-process debugging, ’listen and attach’ and debugging between .NET and Flex, see The Amethyst Tutorials Index.

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Switching Flex SDKs in Amethyst

by Huw Collingbourne
Installing and using alternative SDKs
Wednesday 9 February 2011.

Amethyst supports the use of multiple Flex SDKs which can be switched within the IDE.

There may be many times when you need to test your applications with different versions of the Flex SDK – either with minor (point-version) updates or betas of forthcoming SDK versions. You may even want to switch between major SDK revisions such as Flex 3 to Flex 4 (or back again). With Amethyst you can do this easily.

Auto-Detection of Flex SDKs

When it is installed, Amethyst searches some common locations to try to auto-detect any Flex SDKs that you have on your PC. Any it finds will be added to the Amethyst Global configuration. For the sake of speed, Amethyst does not search every directory on every disk so if it fails to find any SDKs you may need to add them yourself.

How To Add Additional SDKs

To add more SDKs, go into Tools, Options, Projects and Solutions, Amethyst. Select Flex/SDK Path and click the [...] button. This pops up the SDK Selector dialog. Click Browse. Locate the top-level Flex SDK directory (e.g. C:\Flex4) and click OK to add it to the list.

Creating Or Importing Projects

When you create a new project, pick the SDK version you need and Amethyst will use a compatible SDK (assuming one is available).

When you import a project to a new location of create a project in its original location (using the Project Importer from the File/New menu) you may choose the SDK version to use.

Switching SDKs For The Current Project

If you need to switch to a different installed SDK, select Project, Properties, Application. Click the [...] button next to Selected SDK. Choose and SDK and click OK. You need to close and reopen the project for the update to occur.

If the new SDK is compatible with the previous one (e.g. a minor version the Flex SDK), the references will be updated automatically and the project will be ready to recompile.

If the new SDK is not compatible with the previous one (e.g. if you switch between major Flex SDK versions) you may a) need to ensure that your source code can be compiled with the new SDK and b) you may need to add any required SWC references in the Solution Explorer (click the References node to browse) or delete any that are no longer needed.

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How To Write an ActionScript Adventure Game

by Huw Collingbourne
FFD Mag Series
Thursday 3 February 2011.

This month’s Flash and Flex Developer’s Magazine contains the first of a new series (written by me) explaining how to write a text adventure game.

This series is not just aimed at gamers, however. It will cover numerous aspects of ActionScript coding and the Flash class libraries.

You can download the code archive to accompany this series HERE.

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Visual Studio Magazine Review of Amethyst and WebORB

by Huw Collingbourne
Just published
Wednesday 2 February 2011.

"Well-integrated environment from SapphireSteel lets .NET developers create Flex applications for the Flash platform," says Peter Vogel.

Visual Studio Magazine has just published a review of Amethyst, including its optional integration with Midnight Coders’ WebORB for Flex/.NET development.

"Amethyst delivers all of the features that I’d expect to find in a Visual Studio environment: IntelliSense, runtime debugging, refactoring, templates, Solution Explorer integration and more. Second, there’s the integration with the Midnight Coder WebOrb runtime environment that allows you to debug your Flex application from within Visual Studio. Again, I found everything that I expected in a Visual Studio debugging environment."

Read the full review:

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Conditional Compilation for Flash or Flex in Visual Studio

by Huw Collingbourne
Using named builds wuith Amethyst
Thursday 20 January 2011.

Amethyst makes it easy to manage conditional compilations and switch from one conditional build to another for Flex or Flash applications.This video explains how:

Remember that we have lots more Amethyst tutorials HERE.

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Amethyst 1.3 - First Look (locales)

by Huw Collingbourne
Sneak peek at new version of our Flash Platform IDE
Wednesday 5 January 2011.

We’ll soon be releasing the first public beta of a major update to the Amethyst IDE for the Adobe Flash Platform.

Amethyst 1.3 is the biggest single update since the release of Amethyst 1.0. The principal changes are:

- Better support for modules
- Better support for resources
- CSS compilation to SWFs now supported
- Flex 4 Locale bundles added as references
- Enhanced property pages
- Library dependencies calculated automatically
- Runtime Shared Libraries (RSLs) now fully supported
- Project library IntelliSense now fully implemented
- Major improvements to Project Importer

We’ll have more to say about these features on the Blog shortly. Today I want to provide a first look at our support for Flex 4 locales.

Locales take the form of named directories in the Flex 4 SDK each of which contains a number of SWCs which provide regional language support - for example, to ensure that the OK, Yes and Cancel buttons on standard dialogs are displayed in an appropriate language. Up to now users have had to apply a locale by adding a compiler option. This struck us as a bit uncivilised and not really the way that you would expect Visual Studio to work. So, in Amethsyt 1.3 we have completely re-implemented locale support to integrate locales with the Solution Explorer and Property panel.

Let’s see an example. Here is some code that displays an Alert dialog with a Yes, No and Cancel button:

With no locale, the labels on those buttons will display null, which isn’t very useful. With the en_US locale they will show English labels: Yes, No, Cancel. But what if you want to distribute your programs in Italy, Japan or Germany? Well, in Amethyst 1.3, you just select the locale node in Solution Explorer (this automatically adds all the appropriate SWCS as references) and then pick a different locale in the Property panel...

The end result is that it is now trivially easy to switch between different locales. Here’s our Alert in French...

And here it is in Chinese....

The first beta of Amethyst 1.3 will be available in a few days and will be announced on the Blog. All point updates to Amethyst 1.x are free to registered users.

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How to create a better ActionScript Object

by Huw Collingbourne
Programming tips in FFD Mag
Saturday 1 January 2011.

Some of you may know that I write a regular ActionScript programming column for Flash&Flex Developer’s Magazine.

The latest issue (January, 2011) has just been published and my article this month explains an approach to subclassing the ActionScript Object class in order to create more feature-rich objects. The ActionScript Object class may contain quite a complex data structure (a hash or ‘associative array’) but it does not provide methods for manipulating that data – my subclassed ObjectPlus class does.

Flash&Flex Magazine is available as a PDF download and it’s free. In addition to my column, this month’s issue also explores the streaming capabilities of HTML 5, animation effects in Flash games and numerous other features. Go and download a copy from:

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Debug .NET and Flex in Visual Studio

by Huw Collingbourne
New video
Tuesday 21 December 2010.

One of the unique features of Amethyst is its multi-process ’Cylon’ Debugger. This not only lets you debug multiple SWFs simultaneously, it also lets you debug mixed platform (.NET/Flex) and mixed-language (e.g. C# or VB and ActionScript) applications in a single debugging session. This video shows how...

For more information on the projects shown in this video see How to add SWFs to .NET Applications and Using Flash In .NET - channels of communication.

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