2008-11-17

Rascut for Smooth Development on ActionScript/Flex SDK

After Adobe released Flex SDK, it enabled us to develop software runs under Flash Player for free. But, Flex SDK doesn't come with IDE like Flex Builder. At first, I thought It's not a big problem for me because I prefer old-fashioned terminal emulator and powerful editor such as Vim or Emacs, rather than full-featured, but less customizable IDE.

But, after I've started to develop my software on Flex SDK, I soon noticed that coding lifecycle with Flex SDK is rather troublesome by default. Imagine repeating following list back and forth.
  1. Coding ActionScript software on Emacs
  2. Do incremental compile on fcsh (a shell comes with Flex SDK)
  3. Run fdb on another terminal
  4. Back window focus to 3. as Flash Player take it
  5. Type 'c' (continue) on fdb
  6. Allow Flash Player to use my webcam (Note: I'm writing software uses webcam)
  7. debugging program
  8. Type 'q' 'y' (terminate current debug session) 'q' 'y' (terminate fdb)
  9. (back to 1.)

To shorten this list, Yuichi Tateno (a.k.a. id:secondlife), a software engineer working at Hatena, releaseed rascut, a powerful software that supports coding lifecycle on ActionScript/FlexSDK. I would like to introduce rascut briefly in English, as it seems to difficult
to get relevant information about rascut in English for the present.
  • Watch .as files considering their dependency, re-compile them on updates. Except for first compile, incremental compile is applied (like fcsh does)
  • "Server mode" for automatic refresh page (including .swf file) on your web browser. This is done by integrated web browser
  • Watch Flash Player's debug output by trace() and redirect it to terminal (standard error output)
To install rascut, you can start from Nitoyon's tutorial post (in Japanese). I wish you can install rascut successfully by following commands in the post, even if you don't understand Japanese. In case you couldn't complete install process, I will help you in English.

After I installed rascut, these sophisticated features released me from troublesome steps 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. and 8. of above. As a reasult, My coding lifecycle on ActionScript/Flex SDK has became much smoother.

Because rascut is still in beta, its install process was not so smooth for me. But it is still worth to install if you are coding with ActionScript/Flex SDK. If you encountered errors, you will be able to solve problems by googling its error messages.

Happy hacking!

4 comments:

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