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Flash JSFL Command: Locate Selected Symbol in Library

I've always wondered, "is there a way to select an object on the stage and then have a command tell me where that symbol is in the library?" For a Flash developer, this comes up at least once a day.

After some searching I came across a JSFL command for Flash CS3/CS4 that finds the parent symbol in the library of the item currently selected on the stage.

To install the command, download this file, unzip it and place the resulting JSFL file here:

Mac:
/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS4/en/Configuration/

Windows:
\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Flash CS4\en\Configuration\

You can also replace CS4 with CS3 for your flavor of choice.

Once installed, select the object on the stage that you wish to locate in the library and is likely buried way, way deep inside nested folders that the Illustrator to Flash process created. In the toolbar choose "Commands" and then "Find in Library". The object will now be highlighted in your library panel. Digging for the symbol no longer required.

I'd like to point out that I am not claiming to have written this script, but I found it on some site far, far off on the Internet and which I can no longer locate to provide credit where credit is due. I do remember, however, it was provided "free and open source", so all should be well.

Gaia 3.0 Released

The long awaited release of Gaia 3.0 is available for download now! There are lots of great new features and bug fixes included in 3.0, the biggest of which is Flash CS4 support.

The Gaia panel was completely rewritten in Flex and includes optimization features, easier Gaia project management, and a new publish panel which makes developing with Gaia even easier. Gaia 3 also features a brand new version of SWFAddress (version 2.3) that fixes the Firefox 3 OSX redraw bug.

There is also a completely new addition to the Gaia project: the Gaia Framework Site Creator AIR application. This small AIR application allows you to quickly update your project's site.xml and visualize it as a wireframe sitemap.

gaia-site-creator

Some of the features include XML validation, drag and drop re-ordering, reordering of asset load order, editing project properties, and printing a site map. You can download the first version from Wade Arnold's blog posting about the app.

FDT Tip: Turning Off Error Notices for External Classes

I've been using FDT for quite some time now, and I keep having a recurring issue when using external, third-party, open source classes/libraries: if the code is not strictly data typed and/or contains some other small issue FDT's parser doesn't like, the folder containing the classes shows up with a red 'x' symbolizing there is an error.

This is annoying for several reasons, the biggest being that if your custom classes are in the same folder you cannot determine at a glance if your code is error free.

I had blogged about this exact issue when using BulkLoader a while back, and in that case I had resorted to altering the code so the errors would go away. However, I typically do not like to go in and alter code for open source projects which I know work perfectly well because updating them later becomes a crap-shoot at best -- you no longer have the option of just simply copying over the old classes with the new version.

However, I recently had someone comment on my post about BulkLoader issues in FDT with a much better solution.

First, setup a new folder in your FDT project for all your external classes/libraries. For instance, call it "external" or "classes" and put libraries such as BulkLoader in that folder.

Next, open the properties panel for your FDT project as shown in the following screenshot:

Once in the properties panel, select "FDT Build Path" from the left-hand menu and then select the newly created project source folder ("external" or "classes") and un-check the check box next to "Generate Problems/Tasks".

Hopefully this will help others out who also like to maintain an overly clean FDT project setup. :)

I am thinking about posting a series of small FDT tips including how to get it setup for use with Flash CS4, so if you'd like to see them please comment or send me an email at info -at- jonnymac -dot- com.

Lastly, to avoid any confusion I should note that Arthur Debert, the creator of BulkLoader, did make the necessary change to the project's code after my post on the subject so BulkLoader no longer throws errors in FDT. Made for a good example, though, since I had blogged about it at one point!

Flash CS4 Bug with OS X Spaces

Update (5/15/2009): It seems that the combination of the Apple OS X 10.5.7 update and the Flash CS4 10.0.2 update fixes this issue!

- - -

As a developer I use both multiple monitors and OS X Spaces when working with the Flash IDE. While I don't usually code within Flash, but rather FDT, I do like to have the actions and output panels open on my second monitor while working in Flash. This allows me to free up space within the main Flash work area and requires much less collapsing and expanding of panels while working throughout the day.

I had come across a bug in Flash CS3 a while back where OS X Spaces would cause the Flash IDE windowing system to become completely unusable after switching between spaces a few times. Sadly, this bug is still present in Flash CS4 - and even more prevalent. So, I decided to email Adobe to see if the issue could be resolved. In the process I took a screencast of my desktop to help them diagnose the problem. Below is what I have sent them:

The issue in question with Flash CS4 (and possibly other CS4 apps) can be found in OS X 10.5 (I'm specifically running 10.5.5) when using two or more "spaces". Additionally, one of the panels needs to be in its own window -- for instance the actions panel should not be docked within the application interface -- and also placed on a second monitor/display from the application.

In the video below I am recording my main display while my secondary display is not visible, and on that second monitor I have an undocked actions panel. The video shows me switching back and forth between two OS X spaces - one with FDT open, the second with Flash CS4 open. As you can see, switching back and forth between the spaces can cause the Flash CS4 interface to become "detached" from itself. This ends up being a very frustrating issue because there isn't a lot that users can do to solve the problem, and any solutions I have found don't seem to work consistently. In fact, the only fix I have found is the bring the undocked windows (in this case the actions/output panel) back onto the main monitor, overlapping the Flash IDE.

Here is the video, re-sized to fit within my blog:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

You can also download the original screencast as a Quicktime .MOV here, which is much larger and clear.

Sadly, no fix yet, but let's hope if enough people also note the issue it will be fixed in the next update.

Code Snippets in Flash IDE with ASExpander

I noticed a post by Keith Peters this morning where he created a JSFL script for the Flash IDE that would allow similar functionality as tab shortcuts in TextMate. This means that you can type shortcuts like "&mousedown", then use a keyboard shortcut you assign to the script to have it replace the shortcut text with real code - in the case just mentioned the addEventListener for a MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN. If you are still unclear on how this works, check the short screen capture at this post (note: written in German).

Although Keith's post says he intended it to make AS3 easier for designers and beginners, I promptly installed the script and was happy to be on my way to typing much less when needing to code in the Flash IDE actions panel. I have a feeling other developers will agree that this is a huge time saver.

Keith has already posted an update to the script and made it available via download under the free MIT license, and I highly recommend checking it out.

You can’t spell crash without CS

Came across http://unexpectedlyquit.com today and found it somewhat comforting. The premise: "Every time an Adobe application misbehaves I upload the error message."

I'm not one to bash Adobe Creative Suite - it does after all make me a living. But this site, in all its simplicity, makes for some great humor. Especially when, as someone who spends most of their working day in Flash and other CS3 applications, I have seen my fair share of CS error messages.

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