Actionscript3 development with FDT
So far I've been using Flash Develop for all my AS3 projects. But recently, as I stared to do some more serious development, I thought it's time to look for a more powerful tool. Thanks to Marcel and the guys from Powerflasher, since a couple of weeks I am equipped with a new, shiny FDT3 Enterprise license.
I assume that most of the readers of this blog know what FDT is. However, recently I have been asking quite a lot of developers about it, and to my surprise, only some have heard of it, very few are actually using it. So I thought, I'd post some info for those of you who are not familiar with FDT yet.
FDT is an Eclipse based AS2/AS3 editor. It has a rich set of features that helps writing and editing code, and a build tool to compile Flex/Flash projects. It is equipped with numerous cool features, such as code completion, refactoring functions, syntax checker and more. To give you just a glimpse of how FDT can help you in everyday Flash/Flex development, I'll focus on two of my favorite ones.
In short templates are shortcuts to generate a chunk of code – everything starting with a method call, ending with a class stub. Example: typing lots of log messages can be tedious. In FDT you just create a template, and every time you type in a shortcut (ex. log) it will automatically generate call to your log class (whatever you might use) that can look like this:
Of course ObjectName will automatically be set to whatever class you are in, and so will methodName. FDT has a built in template editor, so you can create any template you want. Believe me, once you get used to this, it will speed up your coding a lot.
ANT is a Java based universal build tool. If you wonder what a build tool is, imagine you have a project that is composed of 30 SWF files. I am sure you can feel the pain that is publishing them all each time you change something. With ANT this kind of task is fully automated and makes managing multiple-file projects really seamless.
But ANT is not just about compiling. It has a large number of plug-ins for almost anything. You can create a build file that will compile all the SWFs in you project, open an FTP connection, transfer all the project files to a web server and send an email with a link to your client for review. Nice, huh? It won't prepare your morning coffee though.
And there is more of course. I suggest you download the trial version and check for yourself.
Unlike Flash Develop, FDT is not free. The license can constitute quite an important expense in fact. However, if you consider making some advanced AS3 development it is definitely worth trying out.