A Ruby Script for Compiling Flex Applications

There have been a lot of posts recently about how to compile
Flex applications and ActionScript projects from the command line (on
Windows, Mac, and Linux).  Mike Chambers has a
nice summary
which points to all the information you need to
get going, and has a
bash script
which wraps the mxmlc compiler to make
compilation easier.

I have some specific compilation needs, however, so I decided
to write a
Ruby script
to wrap the mxml compiler (I’m not a huge fan of
bash once my scripts reach a certain level of complexity). Once you
have the
Flex environment set up, just download
the script
, make sure it’s in
your path, configure it, and you can compile like this:

% mxmlc.rb MyApplication.mxml

The script has the following flags:

  • -h
    Help.  Prints out this help message.
  • -t Tail. After compilation,
    tails the file specified by the
    TAIL_PATH variable. (Useful for debugging your application.)
  • -o Open. After compilation,
    opens the generated swf in the
    application specified by the OPEN_APP variable. (This should probably
    be something like ‘firefox’ or ‘safari’.)
  • -s Show. Show the compilation
    command rather than actually
    running it. Useful for debugging if it’s not working like you expect it
    to.
  • -c Clean. Removes cache files
    before compilation so you
    compile the project completely from scratch.

Before running the script, you have to configure it by
defining the following variables at the top:

  • FLEX_PATH: The path to your
    Flex library installation.
  • AS_LIB_PATH: Path to your
    ActionScript libraries. In other
    words, your classpath. You can specify multiple directories by
    separating them with a ‘:’ character. You can also add a ‘$’ character
    anywhere in any of the paths which essentially acts like a wildcard.
    For instance, if I added the directory
    /Users/cantrell/projects/$/src/actionscript, then the script would
    iterate through all the directories in /Users/cantrell/projects and add
    all those directories, plus /src/actionscript to the classpath. It’s an
    easy way to include an entire source tree with one path. (If the
    generated directory doesn’t actually exist, the script automatically
    leaves it
    out.)
  • TAIL_PATH: The path to the
    file you want to tail if you
    pass in the -t flag.
  • OPEN_APP: The application you
    want to open the resulting
    swf file in if you pass in the -o flag.

Let me know if you have any problems getting it to run. It was
written and tested under Ruby version 1.8.2 which should already be
installed on your Mac. To get the alpha version of the Flex Framework
and the compiler, check out Flex
Builder 2 on Adobe Labs
.