AXDT is a set of plug-ins for the Eclipse Platform that enable you to write ActionScript 3 code in an integrated environment.Most cross-platform Flash development tools are not available for free. The best ones, Flash Builder and FDT, will set you back €600.

Fortunately a few open-source and free alternatives exist. AXDT is one such alternative – it’s a set of plug-ins for the Eclipse Platform that enable you to write ActionScript 3 code in an integrated environment.

To get AXDT up and running:

Install Eclipse

  1. Download Eclipse IDE for Java Developers. More precisely Eclipse 3.5 Galileo. Eclipse 3.6 (Helios) isn’t supported yet.
  2. Unpack and copy the resulting Eclipse folder to the desired location
  3. Launch Eclipse from the unpacked folder. If Eclipse fails to launch and you happen to be on Mac OS, you may find help here.

Install IMP

  1. Choose Help > Install New Software…
  2. Enter http://download.eclipse.org/technology/imp/updates to add IMP location to the update manager
  3. Click Add and give it a name, e.g. IMP
  4. Click OK to return to Available Software window and select IMP and IMP Prerequisites
  5. Click Next and Finish to install
  6. Restart Eclipse once installation is done

Install AXDT

  1. Choose HelpInstall New Software…
  2. Enter http://update.axdt.org/ to add AXDT location to the update manager
  3. Click Add and give it a name, e.g. AXDT
  4. Click OK to return to Available Software window and select Axdt builds
  5. Click Next, check in to accept the terms and click Finish to install
  6. Restart Eclipse once installation is done

Install a debugger

Since AXDT has no built-in debugger yet, external debugger should be used, e.g. the open-source De MonsterDebugger that also has the FPS and memory monitor:

De MonsterDebugger working with AXDT

To deploy it:

  1. Ensure that Adobe AIR is installed. If not, install from http://get.adobe.com/air/
  2. Install De MonsterDebugger from http://demonsterdebugger.com/downloads
  3. Launch it
  4. Choose File > Export Client Class
  5. Locate the src folder of your Flash project in your Eclipse workspace
  6. Click Select to output the necessary debugger classes to your Flash project
  7. Enable debugging in your code as following:
    1. in ActionScript 3:
      package {
       
          import flash.display.Sprite;
          import nl.demonsters.debugger.MonsterDebugger;
       
          public class Main extends Sprite {
       
              // Variable to hold the debugger
              private var debugger:MonsterDebugger;
       
              public function Main() {
       
                  // Init the debugger
                  debugger = new MonsterDebugger(this);
       
                  // Send a simple trace
                  MonsterDebugger.trace(this, "Hello World!");
              }
          }
      }
    2. in Flex:
      < ?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
      <mx:application xmlns:mx="http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml" layout="absolute" initialize="init()">
          <mx:script>
              < ![CDATA[
       
              // Import the debugger
              import nl.demonsters.debugger.MonsterDebugger;
       
              // Variable to hold the debugger
              private var debugger:MonsterDebugger;
       
              private function onInit():void
              {
                  // Init the debugger
                  debugger = new MonsterDebugger(this);
       
                  // Send a simple trace
                  MonsterDebugger.trace(this, "Hello World!");
              }
              ]]>
          </mx:script>
      </mx:application>

For debugging inside Eclipse, see how to implement LogWatcher. It provides just a simple trace log display and has no means to indicate a memory leak unlike De MonsterDebugger.

Above AXDT Flash development framework is not a competitor to Flash Builder or FDT that are way more comprehensive, but it makes a good setup for small things or for those just starting to develop for Flash Platform. Flash On!

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