I had the pleasure of visiting Adobe’s San Francisco office for Flash Camp a couple weeks back. Coming just on the heels of Apple’s big 3.3.1 announcement, it was perfect timing to hear Adobe’s reaction directly from Adobe. All of the videos are posted online on Adobe TV, but to save you some time, here are my Cliff’s notes:
- Open Discussion and Q&Q with David Wahdwani – Hear the first reaction directly from the head of the Flash Platform on Apple’s move
- What’s new in Flash CS5 – Nothing new if you’ve been paying attention, lots new if you haven’t
- Using Flash Builder 4 with CS5 – “You can edit your code in Flash Builder! It will ask you if you want to edit your code in Flash Builder!”
- Flash Player 10.1 Internals – Must-see for devs, excellent talk about how the player handles low-memory situations and how to develop for them (think: mobile)
- Flash Build 4 Tips and Tricks – For devs only really, but there’s definitely a couple tidbits worth noting (like keyboard shortcuts!)
- TV & Mobile Design Challenges & Insights – “Make text and hit areas bigger” But also gives some concrete recommendations
- Desktop and Mobile Development with Adobe Air – Adobe officially announced the AIR2 Beta for Android during this preso, talked about what it can do, very exciting
- Introduction to Multi-touch in Flash Player 10.1 – Excellent primer to get you thinking about how to create multi-touch interfaces with Flash on Android
- Developer Tips and Tricks for Targeting the Flash Platform – Mostly common sense techniques that good developers shouldn’t be news to any decent developer
- Advanced Text Layout with Flash CS5 – I didn’t see this session, but the new text layout features are very impressive
Code formatting is the reason for many a jihad between developers all over, and spending any time at all discussing it is a waste of time. (So should I stop writing here? No! There is an answer! Press on…) Unfortunately this is one issue where it’s impossible to make everyone happy, so you have to settle for making everyone equally UNhappy.
A really painless way to do make everyone equally unhappy is to automate the formatting, and that’s where the amazing little gadget, the Flex Formatter plugin for Flex and Flash Builder comes in.
The plugin adds a few buttons to the toolbar area of Flex Builder. These buttons are:
- Generate ASDoc Comments – For your whole file! In one click!
- Generate ASDoc Comment – For one item (also in one click!)
- Format Flex Code – Formats your entire MXML file (or selected lines) ….with one click
- Indent Flex Code – Not sure why you’d use this and not just the previous button, it seems to do the same thing
- Rearrange AS Code – Same as Format Flex Code, but for your AS files
To install it, go to “Help, Software Updates, Find and Install” and install from the new remote site:
Grant Skinner has a nice post on this, as well as a settings file that he has exported for use: http://www.gskinner.com/blog/archives/2009/12/indispensable_p.html
You probably haven’t heard about FlexPMD. It’s an open source plugin from Adobe for Flex or Flash Builder. You run it against your source code and it alerts you to “bad smells,” or potential bad practices, in your code. These types of tools, from FlexPMD’s older brother, PMD from the Java world, and “Lint” from the C world have been around for a long time, checking over the shoulders of developers, and frustrating computer science students who are required to compile with no lint warnings. (All my programming homework in college had this requirement, ugh!)
I ran FlexPMD against the source code for brandondement.com and was really impressed with the results. Some of the results were of the “I don’t care about that” variety, but Flex PMD can be configured to ignore those, and many more were in the “Oh really? You’re right!” category. I’ve only just begun to use it, but even then I would highly recommend it for anyone who’s committed to becoming a better programmer. More information about installation and use can be found at:
It never ceases to amaze me how after all the time I spend using Adobe’s tools, they always have a few more features that I’m not using but should be. So every now and then I go brush up on the keyboard shortcuts in Flex Builder, so here are a few highlights (Command = CTRL if you’re on Windows):
- CTRL + 0 (even on Mac) – Quick Outline. Hit this, then start typing to jump right to any variable or method definition in the class
- Shift + Command + R – Open Resource. Hit this, then start typing any file name to open it. Works on all file types in your project
- Command + L – Go To Line. Opens a dialog where you type in a line number
- Shift + Command + C – Puts a block comment around the selected text
Strangely there doesn’t seem to be a definitive guide to shortcuts in FB, even the LiveDocs look rather incomplete:
But a search for “flex builder keyboard shortcuts” returns results from tons of blogs. Here are a few more gems that weren’t in the LiveDocs:
- Command + D – Deletes a line
- Command + / – Comment/Uncomment a line
- Shift + Command + D – Inserts an ASDoc-style comment, including parameter and return declarations!
- Shift + Command + L – Opens an outline of all the keyboard shortcuts available
Also, if any of these don’t suit you, you can always go change them! In the main menu, click Flex Builder -> Preferences -> General -> Keys (or just type “Keys” in the filter). Coincidentally, this is the most definitive list I could find.
What keyboard shortcuts do you use that you can’t live without?