Archive for October, 2010

Burrito Feature: Text Navigation

Text navigation? Many users I’ve talked to know how big a fan I am of CamelCase support. In Flash Builder Burrito, we’ve added support in ActionScript, MXML and CSS for moving the cursor between sub-words and we’ve also added punctuation support. To use the feature on Mac use OPTION + ARROW LEFT/RIGHT and on use Windows CTRL + ARROW LEFT/RIGHT. You can combine this with SHIFT to select sub-words as well.

Before Burrito, this feature only used the platform OS navigation text functions. It wasn’t very consistent from left to right and it didn’t know about specific ActionScript, MXML and CSS punctuation.

Here are some use cases for using sub-word navigation:

  • Using the keyboard to move faster on a long line of code. Instead of just HOME, END, arrow keys or the mouse, you can use sub-word navigation to get to the correct word faster
  • Select parts of names faster for copying, editing or removing. For example, if I have “ActionBarButtionSkinBase” and I want to copy out “ButtonSkinBase”, I can use CTRL + SHIFT + ARROW LEFT 3 times to select just the text that I want. That’s a lot more convenient than pressing and holding ARROW LEFT or using the mouse.
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Burrito Feature: File Associations

File associations? Not exactly a new idea for applications, but the recent release of Eclipse 3.6 allows us to add platform OS support for associating files with Flash Builder. That means opening a file in Finder or Spotlight on the Mac or Explorer on Windows will launch Flash Builder and open the file.

Depending on if you already have associations for .as and .mxml files, you may see this feature already enabled. To enable file associations, go to Preferences > Flash Builder > File Associations.

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Burrito Feature: ActionScript Projects

Remember when setting up ActionScript-only AIR projects was a pain? Not anymore!

The updated File > New > ActionScript Project wizard now lets you choose between “Web” and “Desktop”. No more hack required.

Also, developers who’ve had to overlay the AIR 2.5 SDK in Flex 4 / Flash Builder 4, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s another new project wizard at File > New > ActionScript Mobile project. This project will setup an ActionScript-only mobile project that you can simulate on your desktop in AIR or push to a device just like a Flex Mobile project.

I’ll reiterate: The Burrito preview release ships with the Flex Hero SDK preview release which contains the public release of the AIR 2.5 SDK.

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Flash Builder Burrito Quick Tips

Wow, Adobe MAX 2010 is just wrapping up and it has been quite a blur. I gave my tips and tricks talk yesterday and it was well received. Thanks to everyone who came.

Don’t forget to give the brand new Flash Builder Burrito Preview Release a try. Download it here Don’t forget to read all the intro articles too. There’s lots of coverage of the new developer productivity features as well as the mobile features in Flex Hero.

Once I catch a breath, I’ll go in-depth on the new features in Burrito. For now, here are some quick tips for you early adopters.

  • Override/Implement Methods (Source > Override/Implement Methods)
    Quickly generate stub functions
  • Quick Fixes (CTRL+1 windows or CMD+1 mac)
    • Create a local variable or field
      • “doesNotExist = <expression>” creates “var doesNotExist:<return type of expression> = <expression>”
      • “new SomeClass()” creates “var SomeClass2:SomeClass = new SomeClass()”
    • Create a method
      • “(<setter> =)? doesNotExist(<expr1>, …, <exprN>)” creates “function doesNotExist(var1:<return type of expr1>, …, varN:<return type of exprN>):<return type of setter or void>”
    • Covert a local variable to a field
      • “var foo:String” creates “private var foo:String” and removes the local declaration
  • Metadata code hints
    • Add a metadata.xml to your own SWCs for custom metadata hinting. Look at the SDK version of this file in your FB install: <install location>/sdks/4.5.0/frameworks/metadata.xml
  • Code templates (Preferences > Flash Builder > Editors > Code Templates)
    • Take a look at the existing templates as examples for creating your own. Experiment with linked positions (tabbing through parameterized parts of the template).

In my day-to-day workflow working on the Flex Hero mobile components and mobile theme, quick fixes and override/implement methods have made a huge improvement in my productivity. You really have to try it out for yourself.

At my session, I found that there are still a lot of people that don’t know about “CMD+3/CTRL+3″. It’s like a search engine for commands in Flash Builder and Eclipse. It’s a great way to keep your hands on the keyboard instead of reaching for your mouse.

I also found that the audience didn’t know about camel case code hinting. For example, with the code hints popup open, you can type “ADGHHS” instead of “AdvancedDataGridHeaderHorizontalSeparator”. That’s a lot less typing! Keep in mind that camel case support is in code hints and in the open type dialog and is supported in Flash Builder 4.0 and Burrito.

Those are the very quick highlights of the new developer productivity features in Flash Builder Burrito. Remember that FB is installed side-by-side with your existing FB 4 or 4.0.1 installation. Also, keep in mind that Burrito is a preview release and is not feature complete. Don’t forget to file bugs at And lastly, don’t reuse workspaces between installations of Flash Builder.

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MAX 2010 Flash Builder Advanced Tips and Techniques

Slides: MAX 2010 Flash Builder Advanced Tips and Techniques

Sample project with Ant build.xml for ASDoc and metadata.xml: CyborgArms.fxpl

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