Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Flash on the command line

I've been doing a lot of small flash projects over the last few months. I've been using Actionscript 2.0 for all of them and making it a point to work using a good object oriented approach. Right now I'm starting a very large scale project so I decided to adopt an existing Flash framework and decided to use ARP. This decision led to a pretty major rework of my whole Flash approach. I'm currently writing all the code in Textmate and using the mtasc compiler.

I had been aware of the mtasc compiler for some time but saw it as an approach more for people who were obsessively into open source and just trying to avoid buying Flash. There is certainly an element of that but using mtasc has other advantages, most importantly increased compiling speed. The other advantage is how nicely it fits in with other good development practices including source version control and using ant to manage builds.

There is some cost to this approach, most notably the loss of some flash dev features like the debugger and some of syntax checking and command completion. The debugger support is mimicked mostly by external tracing tools which is ok but not perfect and can be awkward to set up. Still feeling my way through this part of it and may change my approach more over the next couple of months possibly using FlashDevelop or Eclipse for editing. FlashDevelop is unfortuately Windows only but offers good command completion support. Eclipse does to but there hasn't been any recent development of the Actionscript editor so I'm a little wary of committing to it.


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