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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    [HOW TO] - Help Yourself With Flash


    Getting Help

    Alot of people keep posting questions to things that the Flash docs clearly explain or that can be found via a simple search. Heres a brief guide to finding solutions to both common and not so common Flash questions:
    • Tap F1 or click Help->Flash Help off the main menu and then in the search box type any keywords that might be relevant such as "restrict char".
    • If your wondering what methods/properties/events a certain class has then open the help panel as explained above and expand the "ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference". Then just expand the sections till you reach what your after i.e. ActionScript classes->TextField.
    • A quick way to find out what a method/property/event does is to open the Methods/Properties list in the ActionScript panel, highlight what your interested in there and then click the help icon on the top right hand side of the ActionScript panel. That's a little grey circle with a question mark in it. The help panel will then open to the relevent section. If you don't see a list of methods and properties on the left hand side of the ActionScript panel then you can open it by clicking the thin vertical bar on the left hand side. It should have a thin button on it with a > icon. Click it again to close the side panel.
    • A similar method is to just type the word in the ActionScript panel and place the cursor in it somewhere or select the whole word and then click the help icon.
    • There's also external resources such as the Flash LiveDocs. You can access these via Help->Flash LiveDocs on the main menu. These contain the same Flash documention and a whole lot more. They also contain user comments to the help docs which can be an invaluable source of information. You can either browser the docs or just search them using the top right search box.
    • For things that you doubt will be covered there such as what direction to take on a new project you can always google it. A good tip is to stick the word Flash at the beginning of your query i.e. Flash XML Video.
    • A little known fact is that you can search the DevShed site using two methods. The first is the IGREP system which I'm not a big fan of. The second uses the original forum search system which I think is great.
      • To use the IGREP system just type your keywords into the search box at the top right or bottom right boxes, set the drop down list to "Dev Shed Forums" and click "GO!". One advantage of the igrep system over the original forum search is that you can post links to it's search results i.e. Flash PHP.
      • To use the original forum search system type your keywords into either of the two search boxes and set the drop down list to "Advanced Forums" and tap "GO!". You'll now be taken to the advanced search screen. Usually the only thing you'll need to do here is select a particluar forum to search unless "All Open Forums" is what you're after. Finally just click "Search Now". This method's cool because it shows you who posted the question, who last replied to it, when it was posted and how many replies it had.

    Comments on this post

    • b3n agrees : Don't forget Google ;) This should be stickied
    • webg agrees : Awesome suggestions - Mod-Up
    • webmaster73 agrees : nice summary.
    • mwild8 agrees
    • master b agrees : i found a better way;ask tann san ;P
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    Devshed Novice (500 - 999 posts)

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    Hey can we got a mod to sticky this? It has got my vote.

    webg
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    i wish there were more people helping out in the flash department, like PHP always has atleast 150 people in the forums.. haha nice post and thanks to all who help out!
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Another quick method is to load up the forum and then tap CTRL-F (Windows IE & FF) to bring up the "Search this page" box and type in a single keyword you're after e.g. PHP.

    If you're searching the Flash forum and type PHP in the box then you can be pretty sure any matches are going to be along the lines of "how do I use Flash and PHP?" or "why isn't my Flash/PHP app working?".
    Last edited by Tann San; March 28th, 2007 at 08:50 PM.
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    nice idea Tann. I do flash all day and I'll stop in to help. I need help in the PHP enough so maybe I can give back here.
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    How to test your site at different connection speeds locally

    We've all been down the road where we want to see how something works locally as if it was online, possibly with a really crappy connection speed. Flash actually has some functionality built in for this kind of testing.
    • To use it in the IDE tap CTRL-Enter to "Test Movie" or pick that option from the Control menu.
    • Now in the preview window that just opened drop the "View" menu down and expand the "Download Settings" submenu.
    • Pick "DSL" or any speed you want to test with.
    • Now tap CTRL-Enter again or pick "Simulate Download" from the view menu.
    • You should now see it ticking by more slowly as it simulates a DSL connection instead of loading it straight off your hdd in like 0.1 seconds.
    • Note that Flash will remember the Download speed setting you choose permanantly (until you change it again) so if you always want to test it at 56k then all you have to do is Test Movie and then tap CTRL-Enter again to simulate the 56k connection.

    Voila, all done. You now know how to test your site/app out with different connection speeds.
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Use the NetConnection Debugger


    Sometimes you need to check what's happening under the hood while your Flash file is live online. One method to do this is to simply create a dynamic text field and then write debug text to that as required.

    Another method which is a bit cleaner imo is to use the Flash Remoting NetDebugger. There's a handy panel that comes with this called the NetConnection Debugger. If you're using Flash Remoting already then you can use this panel to see what data is getting sent in and out of Flash. Another function of it is to accept remote trace calls. That last bit is what we're after here. It's very easy to implement, as in 4 lines of code to implement.

    Step 1. Download and install the Flash Remoting files if you haven't go them already. You can get them here. If you have Flash CS3 then checkout some of the results from this google search to see your options.

    Step 2. Stick this at the top of your main Flash file:
    Code:
    import mx.remoting.debug.NetDebug;
    NetDebug.initialize();
    That imports the relevant classes and then initialises the debugger.

    Step 3. On the main menu in the Flash IDE head over to Window->Other Panels->NetConnection Debugger. That should open the debugger window.

    Step 4. Use the debugger. To trace from an online Flash file you just have to stick this code in the section you want to trace from:
    Code:
    NetDebug.trace("I'm being traced!");
    Note that if you're tracing from inside a class or another file that is not the one you put the code from Step 2 into then you'll need to add the same import statement (from Step 2) to the top of this second file, not the initialise line though.

    Step 5. Try it out. Upload your Flash file, make sure you have the debugger open (Step 3) and then view the file with your browser. You should see the trace statement appear in the debugger.

    The debugger is pretty cool when you're using Remoting as it can show the contents of arrays your passing amongst other things. I use it with AMFPHP to see what's going on in various places.

    Edit:
    The Flash help docs list these as two steps to do before the ones I listed. When I tested it I didn't have to do this and it still traced for me:
    • From the Window menu in Flash, select Other Panels > Common Libraries > Remoting.
    • From the Library panel, drag the RemotingDebugClasses library to the Stage.


    Another handy thing the docs point out is that you can run the debugger outside the IDE by launching it's swf file directly:
    Originally Posted by LiveDocs
    For Windows:
    C:\Program Files\Macromedia\Flash MX 2004\en\First Run\WindowSWF\

    For Mac:
    HD:Applications:Macromedia Flash MX 2004:First Run:WindowSWF:

    Comments on this post

    • b3n agrees
    Last edited by Tann San; May 21st, 2007 at 12:56 PM. Reason: Added extra info at bottom
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    Now what is the latest version of flash, and i think we have adobe flash too right excuse me if am wrong, so which is better adobe or macromedia,
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Adobe bought Macromedia years ago which is why it is now called Adobe Flash. The latest version of the Flash IDE is Flash CS5.5
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