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    #16
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Ah don't get me wrong, the Flash IDE is still very useful for when you want to spit out quick prototypes or just hand draw/animate certain assets. You could do everything with code but sometimes it just doesn't make sense to do so. All my clients use CS4 timeline based animations so I need the IDE anyhow just to be able to edit their files. You miss out on the funky new utils as well like bones and simple fake timeline based 3D.

    Using Air is the same as using Zinc. You just get extra classes you can call. So like in Flash you might do:

    trace("It's raining outside");

    To get Zinc to open an OS based popup prompt you'd do:

    _global.mdm.Dialogs.prompt("I can see white blossoms");

    With Zinc you have to call everything statically i.e. you don't create an instance of the Dialogs class, you just call its static "prompt" function. With ActionScript 3 you do it a bit differently than AS2, the first difference is that you have to import the mdm package into any AS files that use Zinc functions:

    import mdm.*;

    After that calling Zinc functions is the same as with AS2 except you don't use the _global keyword prefix:

    mdm.Dialogs.prompt("I can see white blossoms");

    The final thing is that you have to drag an instance of the Zinc component into your projects library. There is no code completion in the Flash IDE or within FD for Zinc which means you usually have to keep a browser window open with the Zinc SDK docs open.

    There is a hidden gotcha when using Zinc with ActionScript 3 which is that you have to set your Flash Publish settings to Flash Player 10. Zinc only lets you pick between ActionScript 2 with Flash Player 8 or ActionScript 3 with Flash Player 10. You can sometimes get away with having it set to FP9 but you should expect to see random glitches in more advanced projects and the nice folks at MDM will simply tell you it's your own fault.

    Something else to keep in mind when using Zinc with an AS2+FP8 combo is that even though it wraps your SWF as an EXE when it's actually run Zinc will unpack the SWF into a temp directory meaning any Jo with a SWF decompiler can see what you've written. This isn't the same with the AS3+FP10 combo since it simply loads the entire thing into memory. I only point this out as I know several people think using Zinc to wrap their app makes it more secure.

    Air is more integrated so that you can include Air classes and get code completion and syntax highlighting (you can do this in FD as well).

    FlashDevelop 3 have Air project support so you can write Air apps directly with FD. I'm not sure if it actually creates an Air file for you at the end though. My guess is that it does but that's purely a guess. It can definately create an output swf file for you though using the FlexSDK. There are various tutorials around for doing so with FD.

    The basics of it though are that you first have to setup all your global class paths and set the FlexSDK path in the config options. Those are both done once, when you first install FD. Then later on, you create a new AS2/AS3/Air project in FD. From the project options you can simply choose to publish and test, which as expected compiles your swf without the IDE.

    The end result of publishing an AIR project is that you end up with a .air file. When a user runs this it opens the AIR application installer which gives them the options to install the app, upgrade the app or uninstall the app.

    A really annoying thing with AIR is that you are not supposed to edit/save files within the project directory. Instead you are recommended to create files in the users My Documents directory. AIR will actually error out on you in certain situations if you ignore that and try using the project directory. Well annoying if you want to distribute user editable files with your application. I used 7Zip to compress them all to a single file that gets included in the AIR installer. When the app is run for the first time I use FZip to unzip these files to the My Documents directory. It would of been nice if there was some way to listen for an "Install" event. The same goes for uninstalling your app, there is no way to listen for that event or do anything manual when it happens which means you have no way to automatically remove the files you created in My Documents. It just feels sloppy to leave files behind like that.

    My personal combo is that I use the Flash IDE with AS set to version 3. I create a "Document Class" which is like my master class. I may then have a bunch of MovieClips in the library which I've linked class names to so I can create them programatically. I also have FlashDevelop 3 open with each of my class files in it. I don't usually use an FD project file unless I'm making a project without the IDE which is rare but it has happened a few times.
    Last edited by Tann San; November 15th, 2009 at 07:26 AM. Reason: Added notes about Zinc and Air
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    Originally Posted by Verscurexant
    How would you compile your AS if you used an external IDE?
    most external programs cover coding only (as in, external .as files), so you'd edit the text file, save it, then go back to flash to compile because that's where all your symbols etc are.

    there are complete environments which cover it all though

    i've just installed FlashDevelop after getting frustrated with the flash ide for the last time. such small, simple things like bracket highlighting STILL aren't in there and we're up to CS4 now?!

    If it's in there somewhere and not enabled by default, can someone tell me?
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    I found a way to combine Flex and Eclipse then add the aptana plugins. This allows me work on php, as, mxml, html, etc. from within one IDE and access svn and ftp. Unfortunately it only runs on Windoz otherwise I prefer to code in Linux for the multiple desktop and other great features.
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    If you're using an open source like FlashDevelop ...


    .. do you need to get books on Learning "Flash CS4" and similar?

    Sorry, but what is CS4 ?

    I do plan on buying Learning Actionscript 3.0 by Shupe,etc.. but if I"m using FlashDevelop along with the Flex 3.0 SDK, I wasn't sure if books on Flash CS4 would be needed.

    I got the impression that these particular books would be a guide for using Adobe's Flash IDE.

    Thanks for your patience with my green-ness on this.
    Steve
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    CS4 is the name of the latest Adobe Suite and each individual package (Flash, Photoshop etc) has it tacked to the end of the name. Each application still has it's own unique version number, the latest Flash IDE version is 10.0.2, as seen via the in-IDE help menu. Other things do this, like Windows Vista, that's it's name but it's actualy Windows Version 6.

    Books about Flash CS4 will most likely be centered around how to use the IDE itself. Since you don't use that you should steer clear of them and instead look for books about ActionScript 3.

    Alternatively there are plenty of good resources online such as gotoandlearn and Kirupas site. You'll find most tutorials use the Flash IDE but most code based ones will pretty much just use the ActionScript panel which is the IDEs equivalent of FlashDevelop. They will sometimes use the library to quickly mock up an object and then instantiate it using code. You'll have to use embed elements to do that in FD. Basically, as long as the tutorial doesn't start going into how to use IDE specific things like timeline animation then you should be able to follow it just fine with FD.
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    I used to just use the flash IDE, but lately I have been using FlashDevelop and compiling from flash, it has been working very well for me and has actually sped up my workflow (a lot better code highlighting and such IMO)
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    Flash


    What I know is that flash CS4 has inbuilt support for Air - it also has incredible support for other Adobe products like Photoshop etc. So do extras like that and the other improvements mean it would not be unwise for me to buy Flash CS4? Flash CS4 is fine
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    If you're going to buy Flash then go with the latest which is CS5. If you're a student then Adobe do a discounted student license.

    If you want to use the graphical tools that the IDE offers or use a visual timeline then you will need the Flash IDE. If you are happy doing everything with code then you can use alternatives like FlashDevelop.
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    Really like FlashDevelop, great code hinting and finishing, and a great structure which give you easy access to functions
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    FlashDevelop I think deserves some more time there. Lets not just say that is not comparable to the FDT or FB. For some of us coders here its end as the IDE. To be free, has a huge advantage over any other tool out there.
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    I still haven't found anything better. I tried Flash Builder but it was no were near as good.
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