AS3 FDT Flash

FDT and ANT – part 2

Trying to build the ultimate build.xml in ANT: debug/production zip ftp version … etc: will save a lot of keystrokes in FDT4


All the information about the ultimate build.xml can be found on the internet, so I will post the links and you can figure it out for yourself.

I used the build.xml made by Jankees van Woezik (Base 42) as the base of my ultimate ANT build file. You can read about it and download here: My workflow with ANT and FDT.

Because we work a little bit different I had to do some modifications (for example: I work with 2 swf: preloader.swf and main.swf and work on PC). I created a list of stuff that I wanted to do with ANT and behind the “wish” you find a link to the site I found the solution for the problem:

  1. base ant script >>
  2. inspiration >>
  3. install ftp protocol in fdt/eclips >>
  4. update version ant script >>
  5. another update ant script >>
  6. update Firefox (only works on OSX) >>
  7. html wrapper >>
  8. create folders >>

Something like this needs some time to find its place in my workflow, and will be changed a lot. That is the reason why I’m not posting my ant file… not because it’s ugly or a secret… but because I need to refine it. 

Oh… I also have a small todo list (perhaps you could call it a nice-to-have-list)

As you can see, these are the thing that I don’t need a lot, but perhaps in the nearby future…

FTP (File transfer protocol)

Ant doesn’t have the FTP protocols default installed so you need to update FDT4/Eclipse.
You can find the explanation here:

Update #1:The locations of the files you need are changed so let me post the correct ones here:

Save these files in the following folder: C:\FDT\plugins\org.apache.ant_***\bin\

Update #2: hmmm jakarta-oro seems to be Retired… and I haven’t got time to figure this out right now…

You probably can add the zips you downloaded there, I extracted the two files and that worked for me. I did this in FDT4 and all I got was an alert about “The specified Ant runtime classpath does not include a tools.jar library…..” which I ignored (and without any problem).

After the installment of the two .JAR files you need an ANT script to get thing started which I just copied from the previous link:
[as light=”true” wraplines=”true”]
<target name="ftp_upload" description="uploads files through ftp">
<echo message="uploading files" />
<ftp server="123.456.78.90"
<fileset dir="../bin" />

Update version

It’s a combination of writing a build.txt file and a file.
See what Jankees van Woezik did and I use the script from Sephiroth to have a building number that adds 1.

Firefox refresh

this feature is awesome in combination with ftp, so here the one who found the how: Eric Paul (epologee). Read more about it here: focus-and-reload-pages-in-firefox-with-ant

So downloaded the file, installed the firefox extension and gave it a run:
[as light=”true” wraplines=”true”]
<target name="focus Firefox and reload page">Execute failed: Cannot run program "open" (in directory "C:\foo\bar\test"): CreateProcess error=2, Het systeem kan het opgegeven bestand niet vinden

After some googling, I found that it’s a OSX command that doesn’t work on Windows:

[as highlight=”1″ light=”true” wraplines=”true”]
<target name="focus Firefox and reload page">
<exec executable="open">
<arg line="-a Firefox" />
<exec executable="flash/tools/fresno/fresno">
<arg line="-j ‘content.location.reload()’" />

I haven’t found a solution that refreshes the page like Fresno does on Windows.
So the only thing I can think of is:

[as light=”true” wraplines=”true”]
<target name="Launch in Firefox (reload)">
<echo>Launch in Firefox (not really a reload)</echo>
<exec executable="H:/Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe" spawn="yes">
<arg line="${flashproject.preview.url}" />

Html wrapper

I changed the file a little bit (removed the history) not really difficult.


You get the idea….

(reminder for myself:

AS3 FDT Flash

Create SWC library from FDT

I use Greensock Tweening Platform a lot, it awesome. Download it (here for example) and you have everything you need.

Now I start working with SWC files and they are so compact: I love it.
But how do you get a library in a SWC? Google has an answer but it’s very complex.

The best answer is from Bruno Fonzi on

Twitter / Bruno Fonzi: How to create SWC librarie ….

How to create SWC libraries from FDT:
Right click Project > Run as > FDT Library
Menu > Run Configurations > Create new FDT Library

So start with a New Flash Project (the name you will use for this project will be the name of the SWC: in my case “Greensock_Tweening_Platform”) and copy the com folder from the Greensock ZIP into the src (of source) folder.

If you follow the instructions and create a SWC you will get an error about: UIComponent and Vector (depends on your Project properties).

So to fix this: follow the 2 red x’s

com > greensock > loading > display > FlexContentDisplay
I don’t use this one, so delete.

The next depends on the project properties (I used SDK: Flex 3.3 and Player Version 9 and there are no Vectors in Player version 9)
com > greensock > plugins > EndVectorPlugin
I can’t use this one, so delete this on too.

Create the SWC again and your done: you have one file with the Greensock Tweening Platform in it.

AS3 FDT Flash

FDT and ANT – part 1

Just started to work with FDT and wrote about my “troubles” (post#1 and post#2) with my transition from FlashDevelop.
(have to be very carefull what I say: “they” are watching me: here and here 😀 )

And it seems to be a very natural (geeky) thing to learn about ANT.

And where do you go to learn about ANT and SWF/Flash/FDT? (Google?)
After some tinkering all I got was: failed to create task or type fdt.launch.application

This post was very useful: FDT and ANT | A Users Guide Part I by Alan Klement.
Watch the videos (I’m not very fond of tutorial videos but in this case; they get the job done).
What I love about the “Video I: Getting Started” is the fact that it builds up from scratch. So watch this video when you want to know about ant-files/xml, how to open the ANT-View, how to open/execute an ANT-file.

The second video (Video II: Compiling a SWF) was what I really was looking for: how to export a SWF. Very nice because it starts from scratch.
And it gave me the answer I was looking for: why didn’t my ANT-file didn’t work (it about 3/4 of the video):

[blabla]\source\a\example\build\build.xml:17: Problem: failed to create task or type fdt.launch.application
Cause: The name is undefined.
Action: Check the spelling.
Action: Check that any custom tasks/types have been declared.
Action: Check that any / declarations have taken place.

Solution is very simple, but if you don’t know, you will hate FDT and really it’s not it fault:
Goto the green “play” button with the brown bag, in the toolbar (one picture says more than a thousand words:)

Select the ANT-file you want to change (I have only one :D), goto to tab “JRE” and change the Runtime JRE to Run in the same JRE as the workspace and your done:

Very useful are the ANT-snippets and ANT-Build-template!
Download (created by Alan Klement) and “install” the ANT-template (how-to on this page but here the short version)

To add XML files templates go: Preferences > XML > XML Files > Editor > Templates and click import.

To add Ant snippets go: Preferences > Ant > Editor > Templates and click import.

I haven’t seen the second part of this tutorial: FDT and ANT | A Users Guide Part II but I will.
It seems to be focused on the use of the templates and snippets.

FDT and ANT | A Users Guide Part I
FDT and ANT | A Users Guide Part II

FDT Flash

Missing in FDT after working with FlashDevelop

I love FlashDevelop but moved to FDT (read my other post about this subject)…
Not an easy thing (the biggest problem is that it totally not intuitive ) to do and I’m missing some stuff that I had in FlashDevelop.

CTRL+U to change the selected text to uppercase

Update #1: I have found it:
ToUpperCase = CTRL+SHIFT+X
ToLowerCase = CTRL+SHIFT+Y

CTRL+SHIFT+1 to “Promote member to class”

(there is a similar way to do this in FDT but not the same)

CTRL+SHIFT+Q to create a block comment
It is in FDT but I can’t get it to work so you have to work with CTRL+7 (toggle comment) which is a minor adjustment.

The auto-completing FlashDevelop is awesome!! With some tinkering (info here) you can get FDT in the same room but it’s still not the same. I’m used to write private variable with a prefix “_” (example: _variableName). When I want the variable name to autocomplete in FlashDevelop I just type variableName (without the “_” prefix because it stupidly positioned on the keyboard) and it will find it. In FDT you need to start with the prefix “_” otherwise it will ignore the variable name… why???

Also missing: Explore (Open “Project Manager” and right-click on a folder)
(can’t find it in FDT)

But I shouldn’t complain, there is a reason why I’m changing to FDT

Big plus from FDT:
CTRL+SHIFT+F to Format code which is not possible in Flashdevelop
SWC Browsing is limited in FlashDevelop
Cross Platform: FlashDevelop works only on Windows
Refactor: this is so awesome (and expensive!!!)



Moving from FlashDevelop to FDT

Yes, its time, I need to…
So how to make the transition from FlashDevelop to FDT as easy as possible?

Let FDT react like FlashDevelop

And I don’t even have to break a sweat: the amazing Steven Sacks (creator of Gaia) wrote an article about it: read here.
The only two thing that I’m using are:
Open Window > Preferences

Under FDT > Editor > Code Assist copy and paste this into Auto activation triggers for AS, and set the delay to 0ms (zero).

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz_. :


Under Problems > AS3 Problems:
Unresolvable > Unresolvable variable reference in E4X and Unresolvable member reference in dynamic object should both be set to Disabled (from Warning to Disabled).

The shortcuts I just left them as they where: I’m working in another program so I should use the shortcut given by that program.

Update #1: hmmm I noticed that I can’t live without CTRL+ENTER…. explanation here: Using CTRL-ENTER to compile ActionScript code in FDT. So now I have CTRL+ENTER and debug run: CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER 😀

short explanation (so I can do this quickly if something happens to FDT):

Under Preferences > Run/Debug > Launching at the bottom at Launch Operation: Select “Always launch the previously launched application


Under Preferences > General > Keys find (or type in “type filter text” – searchbox: “last”) a command called “Run Last Launched” and click Copy Command. Assign (binding) the shortcut CTRL-ENTER to the copied command and change “when” to Editing ActionScipt Source (no spelling mistake: it really says that) Editing ActionScript Source.
Do the same thing for the “Debug Last Launched” command and assign the shortcut : CTRL-SHIFT-ENTER and change the when to Editing ActionScipt Source.

I’m not sure if the stuff I wrote here is only for FDT4 but the way it was explained on the site previous mentioned didn’t work in FDT4

Some templates/snippets that are very useful

I used this plugin for my trace in FlashDevelop, so how to do this in FDT?

Update #2: I shouldn’t forget to mention CTRL+0 (read the shortcut list for FDT) which is the shortcut for “Quick Trace”. This one I use to trace variable for example and the trace template below for functions.
Update #4: This is really a reminder for myself, but if you need it you know where you can find it in FDT4.
Some minor adjustments like:

Preferences > FDT > Build Path change Source folders to “source” (I like source above src) and Output folder to “deploy” (I like deploy above bin)

Preferences > FDT > Code Style > Code Templates (Misc) to “Override System UserName – ${user}

Preferences > FDT > Editor goto “Folding” and uncheck “Folding enabled” (I like to see everything, comment also)

Preferences > FDT > Tools > Flash/Flash Help to add paths to Flash (in my case: “H:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Flash CS4\Flash.exe”) and the Flash help files (in my case: “H:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Flash CS4\en\First Run\HelpPanel\Help”)

Preferences > General > Web Browser change to “Use external Web browser” to my favourite browser: Firefox (no Google Chrome there yet)
You can add any browser that you want.

Update #5: visit and add FTP capabilities to ANT.

You have to create a code-template/code-snippet:
go to Preferences > FDT > Editor > Templates

This is a template that resembles the trace I used in FlashDevelop

trace ( "+ ${enclosing_type}.${enclosing_method}() - args: " + [ ${enclosing_method_arguments} ] );

and I found some other useful templates

Public method:

public function ${methodName}():${type} {
    trace(">> ${enclosing_type}.${methodName}() args: "+[]);

for some strange reason there is no shortcut for asdoc 🙁


 * ${cursor}	
 * @example	
 * @param		${enclosing_method_arguments}
 * @return	 	
Update #3: (sadly if there are no param in the function “${enclosing_method_arguments}” will be printed..)

a switch a use a lot with FlashDevelop:


switch (${value}) {
	case ${result}:
		trace ("${result}" +${result} );
        trace("case '"+${value}+"':\r\ttrace ('--- "+${value}+"');\r\tbreak;" );

and the template for a singleton

Singleton: (from gskinner)

package ${enclosing_package} {

	* @author ${user}
	public class ${enclosing_type} {
		private static var _instance:${enclosing_type};
		private static var _allowInstantiation:Boolean;

		public static function getInstance():${enclosing_type} {
			if (_instance == null) {
				_allowInstantiation = true;
				_instance = new ${enclosing_type}();
				_allowInstantiation = false;
			return _instance;

		public function ${enclosing_type}():void {
			if (!_allowInstantiation) {
				throw new Error("Error: Instantiation failed: Use ${enclosing_type}.getInstance() instead of new.");
	} // end class

} // end package

enough for now, here some other posts about the subject