e ob Ad Builder
Using Flex Builder 2
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Adobe Flex Builder 2
© 2006 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Using Flex™ Builder™ 2
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Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
What you can do with Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Flex Builder versions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Flex Builder configurations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
System requirements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Activating Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Typographical conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
PART 1: GETTING STARTED WITH FLEX BUILDER
Chapter 1: Learning Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
How to get started using Flex and Flex Builder documentation . . . . . 15
Getting the most from the Flex and Flex Builder documentation . . . . 17
Using the Flex Builder help system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Chapter 2: Flex Builder Workbench Basics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Flex Builder basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
About Flex Builder editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
About Flex Builder perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Workbench menus, toolbars, and shortcuts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Extending the Flex Builder workbench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
PART 2: FLEX BUILDER BASICS
Chapter 3: Working with Projects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Understanding Flex Builder projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Creating Flex projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Managing projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Managing project resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
About ActionScript projects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74
About library projects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78
3
Chapter 4: Navigating and Customizing the Flex
Builder Workbench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
Working with perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Working with editors and views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Switching the workspace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Customizing the workbench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Searching in the workbench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Working in the editor’s Source and Design modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
Accessing keyboard shortcuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
Setting workbench preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
PART 3: DEVELOPING A FLEX APPLICATION
USER INTERFACE
Chapter 5: Building a Flex User Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
About the structure of Flex user interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Adding components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Working with components visually . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112
Laying out your user interface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Adding navigator containers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Adding data provider controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Adding charting components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Chapter 6: Adding View States and Transitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
About view states and transitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141
Creating a view state. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Creating a state based on an existing state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Setting a non-base state as the starting state. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Setting the initial state of a component . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Switching states at run time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Modifying the appearance of existing states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Deleting a view state. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Creating a transition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Chapter 7: Adding Interactivity with Behaviors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
About Flex behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .151
Creating a behavior for a component . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Chapter 8: Creating Custom MXML Components . . . . . . . . . . . 155
About the uses of custom components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
4
Contents
Creating MXML components visually . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156
Designing components visually. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .158
Rapidly editing custom MXML components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159
Distributing custom components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159
PART 4: PROGRAMMING FLEX APPLICATIONS
Chapter 9: Code Editing in Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Understanding code editing in Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .164
About Flex Builder content assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166
Navigating and organizing code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Formatting code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
About markers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
About syntax error checking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .182
Code editing keyboard shortcuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .184
Chapter 10: Building Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Understanding how projects are built . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Customizing project builds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .192
Advanced build options. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .195
Publishing application source code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .199
Chapter 11: Running and Debugging Applications . . . . . . . . . . 203
Understanding running and debugging applications in Flex Builder203
Running your applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Managing launch configurations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Debugging your applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .210
Chapter 12: Working with Data in Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
About working with data in Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .219
Managing Flash Player security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Chapter 13: Flex Builder User Interface Reference . . . . . . . . . 227
Setting project properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
Using Flex Builder views. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
Creating project resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244
Setting editor preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248
Setting running and debugging preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
Contents
5
6
Contents
Introduction
Adobe® Flex™ Builder™ 2 is an integrated development environment (IDE) for developing
applications that use the Adobe® Flex™ 2 framework, MXML, Adobe® Flash® Player 9,
ActionScript 3.0, Adobe® Flex™ Data Services 2, and the Adobe® Flex™ Charting 2
components.
Flex Builder is built on top of Eclipse, an open-source IDE, and it provides all the tools you
need to develop Flex 2 and ActionScript 3.0 applications. It runs on Microsoft Windows and
Apple Macintosh OS X, is available in several versions, and installation configuration options
let you install it as a set of plug-ins in an existing Eclipse workbench installation or to create
an installation that includes the Eclipse workbench.
This topic contains the following sections:
What you can do with Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Flex Builder versions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Flex Builder configurations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
System requirements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Activating Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Typographical conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
What you can do with Flex Builder
Using Flex Builder, you can develop Flex 2 and ActionScript 3.0 applications in a full-featured
IDE that lets you do the following tasks:
■
Create Flex projects with or without using the Flex server. For more information, see
“Creating Flex projects” on page 56.
■
Create ActionScript projects that use the Flash API. For more information, see “About
ActionScript projects” on page 74.
■
Write and edit your application source code using editors that provide features such as
code hinting, streamlined code navigation, and automatic syntax error checking. For more
information, see Chapter 9, “Code Editing in Flex Builder,” on page 163.
7
■
Use the MXML editor in Design mode to simplify using view states and transitions, to
design using absolute layout options, to drag components on to the design canvas and
then reposition and resize them as needed, and so on. For more information, see Chapter
5, “Building a Flex User Interface,” on page 105.
■
Create ActionScript functions within your MXML code or as separate files of
ActionScript functions, classes, and interfaces.
■
Create custom components and then easily access them using the Components view. For
more information, see Chapter 8, “Creating Custom MXML Components,” on page 155.
■
Manage your application projects by using the many features provided by the underlying
Eclipse IDE. For example, you can add and delete projects and resources, link to resources
outside your project, and so on. For more information, see “Managing projects”
on page 60 and “Managing project resources” on page 65.
■
Build your applications using predefined builders or create custom builders using Apache
Ant. For more information, see Chapter 10, “Building Projects,” on page 187.
■
Run your applications in a web browser or the stand-alone Flash Player. Create custom
launch configurations to control how your applications run. For more information, see
“Running your applications” on page 205 and “Managing launch configurations”
on page 207.
■
Test and debug your applications using the integrated debugging tools in Flex Builder. For
more information, see Chapter 11, “Running and Debugging Applications,” on page 203.
■
Publish your application source code so it can be viewed by users and other developers.
For more information, see “Publishing application source code” on page 199.
■
Create library projects that generate shared component library (SWC) and run-time
shared library (RSL) files for code reuse and distribution. For more information, see
“About library projects” on page 78.
■
Customize the IDE. For example, you can arrange the interface to include your favorite
tools in the specific layout. For more information, see Chapter 4, “Navigating and
Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench,” on page 85.
Flex Builder versions
Flex Builder is available in two versions: a standard version and a version that includes the Flex
charting components.
Flex Builder
The standard version of Flex Builder provides a full-featured IDE that allows
you to create Flex and ActionScript applications using the Flex framework and Flash API. Flex
Builder includes MXML, ActionScript, and CSS editors, as well as debugging tools.
8
Introduction
For an introduction to Flex Builder, see Chapter 2, “Flex Builder Workbench Basics,” on
page 25.
Flex Builder with Charting
This version of Flex Builder includes a rich library of interactive
charts and graphs that enables rich data dashboards and interactive data analysis.
For more information about the Flex product line, see “About the Flex product line” in
Getting Started with Flex 2. For an introduction to the charting components available in this
version, see Chapter 5, “Using Flex Charting Components” in Getting Started with Flex 2.
Flex Builder configurations
The Flex Builder installer provides the following two configuration options:
Plug-in configuration This configuration is for users who already use the Eclipse
workbench, who want to add the Flex Builder plug-ins to their toolkit of Eclipse plug-ins (for
example, someone who also uses Eclipse to develop Java applications). Because Eclipse is an
open, extensible platform, hundreds of plug-ins are available for many different development
purposes.
Standalone configuration This configuration is a customized packaging of Eclipse and the
Flex Builder plug-ins created specifically for developing Flex and ActionScript applications.
The user interface of the standalone configuration is more tightly integrated than in the plugin configuration, which eliminates much of the potential confusion that the open,
multipurpose plug-in configuration might create. The standalone configuration is ideal for
new users and users who intend to develop only Flex and ActionScript applications.
If you aren’t sure which configuration to use, follow these guidelines:
■
If you already use and have Eclipse 3.11 (or later) installed, select the plug-in
configuration. On Macintosh, Eclipse 3.2 is the minimum version.
■
If you don’t have Eclipse installed and your primary focus is on developing Flex and
ActionScript applications, select the standalone configuration. This configuration also
allows you to install other Eclipse plug-ins, so you can expand the scope of your
development work in the future.
Both configurations provide the same functionality and you select the configuration you want
when installing Flex Builder.
Flex Builder configurations
9
System requirements
Before you install Flex Builder, make sure your computer meets the system requirements. For
more information, see the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/sysreqs.
Activating Flex Builder
If you’re a single-license user, you must activate your license within thirty days of installation.
When you start Flex Builder, you will be prompted to enter the serial number. Likewise, if
you installed the trial version of Flex Builder, you have 30 days to use it before the trial
expires. Once expired, you need to purchase a license to continue using Flex Builder. Product
activation does not require you to submit personal information, only your product serial
number.
Managing Flex licenses
Each of the products within the Flex product family have separate licences. For example, you
need separate licenses for Flex Builder, Flex Charting, and Flex Data Services. As noted above,
when you purchase a Flex product, you have 30 days to activate it by entering the serial
number. You can also install trial versions of these products and evaluate them for 30 days.
When you acquire a license for a Flex product, you can activate the product from within Flex
Builder.
To activate a Flex product in Flex Builder:
1.
Select Help > Manage Flex Licenses.
2.
Select the Flex product you want to activate and enter the serial number.
3.
Click Restart. Flex Builder restarts, properly activated with the serial number that you
entered.
If you’re using the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder (see “Flex Builder configurations”
on page 9) and the 30-day activation or trial has expired, the Eclipse workbench and all other
plug-ins will continue to work properly. You will not, however, have access to the Flex Builder
features (for example, opening an MXML file). When you acquire a serial number you can
unlock Flex Builder (or other Flex products) by entering the serial number using the
procedure described above.
For more information, visit the Adobe Product Activation Center at www.adobe.com/go/
activation.
10
Introduction
Typographical conventions
The following typographical conventions are used in this book:
Italic font indicates a value that should be replaced in an example, such as a folder name in a
folder path.
Bold font indicates a verbatim entry.
Code font
indicates code snippets or MXML or ActionScript elements in the text.
Code font italic
Code bold font
indicates a value that should be replaced in a code snippet.
indicates a verbatim entry in a code snippet.
Typographical conventions
11
12
Introduction
PART 1
Getting Started with Flex
Builder
1
This part contains a guide to Flex and Flex Builder documentation and an
introduction to the basics of the Flex Builder workbench.
The following chapters are included:
Chapter 1: Learning Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Chapter 2: Flex Builder Workbench Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
13
1
CHAPTER 1
Learning Flex Builder
Adobe Flex Builder 2 includes a variety of resources to help you learn the program quickly and
become proficient in creating Flex applications. All the Flex and Flex Builder documentation
is available in online help and Adobe® PDF.
This topic contains the following sections:
How to get started using Flex and Flex Builder documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Getting the most from the Flex and Flex Builder documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Using the Flex Builder help system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
How to get started using Flex and Flex
Builder documentation
The Flex and Flex Builder documentation includes information for users who have a variety
of backgrounds. This section helps you understand how to approach the documentation,
depending on your background and what you want to accomplish with Flex and Flex Builder.
Flex Builder 1.5 users
■
Start by reading “How Flex Works”, which gives you a quick overview of essential Flex
concepts.
■
Read Getting Started with Flex 2. This guide introduces you to Flex 2 and tell you what’s
new and different in this version.
■
To set up your first project (a new concept for Flex 1.5 users) and use the new IDE, see
Chapter 8, “Create Your First Application” and Chapter 16, “Use the Code Editor” in
Getting Started with Flex 2.
■
Flex Builder 2 is built on Eclipse (an open source IDE), so you need to know specific
terms and concepts to be successful using it. For more information, see Chapter 2, “Flex
Builder Workbench Basics,” on page 25 and especially “Flex Builder basics” on page 25.
■
After you’re familiar with the Flex Builder workbench, see Migrating Applications to Flex 2,
which describes how to migrate Flex 1.5 applications to Flex 2.
15
Web application designers
■
Start by reading “How Flex Works”, which gives you a quick overview of essential Flex
concepts.
■
Read Getting Started with Flex 2. This guide introduces you to Flex 2. Most importantly, it
describes the basic elements of a Flex application and explains how you define them in
MXML and use ActionScript 3.0 to add programmatic interactivity. It also introduces the
standard Flex components, with which you build rich Internet applications, and Flex 2
features, such as view states and transitions, that are essential to creating rich user interface
experiences.
■
You can define a user interface entirely in code using the MXML editor in Source mode;
however, in Design mode, Flex Builder contains design and layout tools that make
designing Flex applications much easier. For more information, see “The Flex
Development perspective in Design mode” on page 34 and Chapter 5, “Building a Flex
User Interface,” on page 105.
■
For lessons that teach the basics of designing Flex applications, see Chapter 10, “Create a
Constraint-based Layout” and Chapter 14, “Use View States and Transitions” in Getting
Started with Flex 2.
Experienced web application developers
■
Start by reading “How Flex Works”, which gives you a quick overview of essential Flex
concepts.
■
Read Getting Started with Flex 2 so you can compare what you already know about
building applications in HTML, JSP, ASP, PHP, and so on, to how Flex applications are
built using the Flex framework, MXML, and ActionScript 3.0.
■
For all the details of the Flex framework, including code samples, see Flex 2 Developer’s
Guide.
■
For in-depth information about the steps involved in building and deploying a Flex
application, see Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications.
■
If you are using Flex Builder as your IDE and want a quick overview of the capabilities
and features of the Flex Builder workbench, see “What you can do with Flex Builder”
on page 7, “Understanding Flex Builder projects” on page 50, “Understanding code
editing in Flex Builder” on page 164, “Understanding how projects are built”
on page 188, and “Understanding running and debugging applications in Flex Builder”
on page 203.
■
For all the API details, see Adobe Flex 2 Language Reference. If you use Flex Builder to write
code, this guide is conveniently available by pressing F1.
16
Learning Flex Builder
Flash and ActionScript developers
■
For an overview of the changes that have been made to ActionScript 3.0, see “ActionScript
2.0 to 3.0” in Migrating Applications to Flex 2 (available online at: www.adobe.com/go/
flex_documentation).
■
For all the API details, see Adobe Flex 2 Language Reference. If you use Flex Builder to write
code, this guide is conveniently available by pressing F1.
■
For an overview of the ways you use ActionScript to develop Flex framework and Flash
API applications in Flex Builder, see “About ActionScript projects” on page 74.
■
To understand how to design and lay out applications in Flex Builder, see Chapter 5,
“Building a Flex User Interface,” on page 105 and the suggested reading in “Web
application designers” on page 16.
Enterprise application developers
■
For an overview of the enterprise features of the Flex framework, see Chapter 3, “Building
a Flex Application” in Getting Started with Flex 2 and the suggested reading in the section
“Experienced web application developers” above.
Eclipse users
■
Experienced Eclipse users will find that Flex Builder uses familiar workbench conventions.
For an overview of the perspectives, editors, and views that are contained within the Flex
Builder plug-ins, see Chapter 2, “Flex Builder Workbench Basics,” on page 25.
Getting the most from the Flex and Flex
Builder documentation
Flex Builder includes a variety of media to help you learn the program quickly and become
proficient in creating Flex applications. The Flex Builder help system includes several
documents that help you learn about Flex Builder, Flex, MXML, and ActionScript. (All
documentation is available online in LiveDocs format and Adobe® PDF.) You can also consult
other online resources as you learn how to build Flex applications.
This section covers the following topics:
■
“Accessing the Flex Builder documentation” on page 17
■
“Accessing additional online Flex Builder resources” on page 19
Accessing the Flex Builder documentation
The following table summarizes the documentation included in the Flex Builder help system.
Getting the most from the Flex and Flex Builder documentation
17
You can purchase printed versions of select titles. For more information, see www.adobe.com/
go/buy_books.
Title
Description/Audience
Getting Started
with Flex 2
Basic introduction with tutorials to
• View in Flex Builder: Select Help
> Help Contents, and then select
Flex concepts and the development
Adobe Flex Help > Getting
tool. Intended for beginning users, as
Started with Flex 2.
well as intermediate and advanced
• View online: www.adobe.com/
users who want an overview of the
go/flex2_livedocs
Flex product family.
• Get the PDF: www.adobe.com/
go/flex_documentation
Using Flex
Builder 2
Comprehensive information about all • View in Flex Builder: Select Help
> Help Contents, and then select
Flex Builder features. Intended for all
Adobe Flex Help > Using Flex
Flex Builder users.
Builder 2.
• View online: www.adobe.com/
go/flex2_livedocs
• Get the PDF: www.adobe.com/
go/flex_documentation
Flex 2 Developer’s Describes how to develop rich
Guide
Internet applications with Flex.
Intended for application developers
who are learning Flex or want to
extend their Flex programming
knowledge.
Where to Find It
• View in Flex Builder: Select Help
> Help Contents, and then select
Adobe Flex Help > Flex 2
Developer’s Guide.
• View online: www.adobe.com/
go/flex2_livedocs
• Get the PDF: www.adobe.com/
go/flex_documentation
Building and
Deploying Flex 2
Applications
Describes how to build and deploy
• View in Flex Builder: Select Help
> Help Contents, and then select
Flex applications, including how to
Adobe Flex Help > Building and
design, configure, build, deploy, and
Deploying Flex 2 Applications.
secure a Flex application.
• View online: www.adobe.com/
go/flex2_livedocs
• Get the PDF: www.adobe.com/
go/flex_documentation
Creating and
Extending Flex 2
Components
Describes how to create custom Flex • View in Flex Builder: Select Help
> Help Contents, and then select
components in MXML and
Flex Help > Creating and
ActionScript.
Extending Flex 2 Components.
• View online: www.adobe.com/
go/flex2_livedocs
Get the PDF: www.adobe.com/go/
flex_documentation
18
Learning Flex Builder
Title
Description/Audience
Where to Find It
Migrating
Applications to
Flex 2
Describes how to migrate Flex 1.x
applications to Flex 2.
• View online: www.adobe.com/
go/flex2_livedocs
Get the PDF: www.adobe.com/go/
flex_documentation
Programming
ActionScript 3.0
Describes how to use
ActionScript 3.0. For API
information, see the Adobe Flex 2
Language Reference.
• View in Flex Builder: Select Help
> Help Contents, and then select
Flex Help > Programming
ActionScript 3.0
• View online: www.adobe.com/
go/flex2_livedocs
Get the PDF: www.adobe.com/go/
flex_documentation
Adobe Flex 2
Language
Reference
Description of the ActionScript and
MXML APIs for Flex.
• View in Flex Builder: Select Help
> Help Contents, and then select
Flex Help > Adobe Flex 2
Language Reference
• View online: www.adobe.com/
go/flex2_livedocs
Accessing additional online Flex Builder resources
The following table summarizes additional online resources for learning Flex Builder.
Resource
Description/Audience
Where to Find It
Flex Support
Center
TechNotes, plus support and
www.adobe.com/go/flex_support
problem-solving information for Flex
users.
Flex Developer
Center
Articles and tutorials to help you
improve your skills and learn new
ones.
www.adobe.com/go/
flex_devcenter
Flex
Documentation
Resource Center
Product manuals in PDF format,
errata, tutorials, and release notes.
www.adobe.com/go/
flex_documentation
Adobe Online
Forums
Discussion and problem-solving
www.adobe.com/go/
information by Flex users, technical flex_newsgroup
support representatives, and the Flex
development team.
Adobe Training
Courses featuring hands-on tasks
and real-world scenarios.
www.adobe.com/go/flex_training
Getting the most from the Flex and Flex Builder documentation
19
Using the Flex Builder help system
The online help system available in the Help menu provides detailed information on all tasks
you can perform with Flex Builder. To see a list of documents available in Help, see “Accessing
the Flex Builder documentation” on page 17.
This section covers the following topics:
■
“Opening Help” on page 20
■
“Using context-sensitive help” on page 21
■
“Searching Help” on page 21
■
“Using Help bookmarks” on page 22
■
“Changing the Help viewer font size” on page 22
■
“Setting Help preferences” on page 23
■
“Using the Flex Start page” on page 23
■
“Printing the Flex and Flex Builder documentation” on page 24
■
“Discussing the Flex and Flex Builder documentation with LiveDocs” on page 24
Opening Help
You can access in-product help while you work in Flex Builder.
To open Flex Builder Help:
■
Select Help > Help Contents.
All the Flex and Flex Builder documentation is available in the help system. For a
complete list of available documentation, see “Getting the most from the Flex and Flex
Builder documentation” on page 17.
Using dynamic help
Dynamic Help is docked to the current perspective and displays topics related to the currently
selected MXML tag or ActionScript class.
To enable Dynamic Help:
■
20
Select Help > Dynamic Help.
Learning Flex Builder
Using context-sensitive help
As you work in Flex Builder, you can display both context-sensitive help for specific user
interface elements of the workbench (views, dialog boxes, and so on) and language-reference
help for code elements.
To access context-sensitive help for workbench elements:
1.
Select an editor, view, dialog box, or other user interface element in the workbench.
2.
Press F1.
For quick access to the Adobe Flex 2 Language Reference while writing code, see “Getting help
while writing code” on page 170.
Searching Help
You can do a full text search of Flex and Flex Builder Help.
To search in-product help:
1.
In Flex Builder Help (Help > Help Contents), click the Search tab.
2.
Type a word or phrase in the text box, and click Go.
3.
Double-click a topic in the list of results to display it.
TI P
To search for a specific phrase, enclose it in double quotes.
Selecting the scope of the search
You can select the documentation set that you want to search. For example, if you have other
Eclipse plug-ins installed, the list of available documentation in help can be quite long. To
search only the Flex documentation, you can define the scope of the search to eliminate
unwanted search results.
To select a search scope:
1.
Click the Search Scope link in the Help viewer (Help > Help Contents).
The Select Search Scope dialog box appears.
2.
To create a search scope, click New.
3.
Enter a name for the search scope list.
4.
Select the Help packages to include in the search.
5.
Click OK to save the search scope list.
Using the Flex Builder help system
21
6.
Click OK again to close the Select Search Scope dialog box.
When you perform a new search, the search is limited to the selected help packages. You
can create other search scope lists or search all help topics.
You can also search directly from the Help menu by selecting Search. The Help panel is
opened in the IDE with the search box selected.
Using Help bookmarks
As you browse documentation in the Help viewer, you can bookmark topics to reference later.
To add a Help bookmark:
■
In Flex Builder Help (Help > Help Contents), with a help topic selected and displayed,
select the Bookmark Document button in the Help viewer toolbar.
To view your Help bookmarks:
■
In Flex Builder Help, select the Bookmarks tab.
All the bookmarks you set are listed. Double-clicking a bookmark displays the topic. You
can also delete one or all of your bookmarks.
Changing the Help viewer font size
The Help viewer in Flex Builder does not support changing the font size used to display Help
documentation. However, you can select to run Help in a web browser and control the font
size using the browser’s font settings.
To display Help in an external browser:
1.
In Flex Builder, select Window > Preferences > Help.
2.
Select the Use External Browser option.
3.
(Optionally) Select the Web Browser link to select a specific web browser.
If you bypass this step, Help appears in the system default web browser.
4.
Click OK.
5.
Select Help > Help Contents.
Help appears in a web browser. You can control the size of the display font by using the
browser’s font settings; for example, in Firefox, select Edit > Text Size.
22
Learning Flex Builder
Setting Help preferences
You can control how Help is displayed in the workbench by setting Help preferences.
To set Help preferences:
1.
Select Window > Preferences > Help.
2.
Set the following options as needed:
Use External Browser lets you display Help in the web browser of your choice. Select the
Use External Browser option and then select the Web Browser link to select your web
browser. (See “Changing the default web browser” on page 209.)
Open Window Context Help
determines how context-sensitive Help links are displayed
when you press F1 in the workbench. By default, context-sensitive Help links are
displayed in the Dynamic Help view, which, when opened, is docked into the current
perspective like all other views. You can choose to instead display the context-sensitive
Help links in an infopop (similar to a tooltip).
Open Dialog Box Help
lets you show context-sensitive Help links in an infopop when
pressing F1 in a dialog box.
Help View Document Open Mode determines where Help content appears. When you
select Help Contents from the Help menu, Help appears in the Help viewer; when you
press F1, Help appears in the Dynamic Help view. This is the default behavior when the
Open in Place option is selected. To display the Help content as a document in the editor
area, select Open in Editor Area.
3.
Click OK.
N OT E
The preferences on the Help Server page (Window > Preferences > Help > Help Server)
are not supported by Flex Builder.
Using the Flex Start page
The Flex Start page appears the first time you run Flex Builder. You can view the Flex Start
page at any time by selecting Help > Flex Start Page.
The Flex Start page contains links to important getting started information about building
Flex and ActionScript 3.0 applications in Flex Builder, sample applications, and other useful
information. Use the Flex Start page much like a web page. Click any of the links to display
information or work with sample applications.
Using the Flex Builder help system
23
Printing the Flex and Flex Builder documentation
You can print single help topics from the Flex Builder Help viewer or access the
documentation PDF files on the Adobe website (see “Accessing the Flex Builder
documentation” on page 17).
To print documentation in the Flex Builder Help viewer:
■
With a Help topic displayed in the Help viewer, select Print Page in the Help viewer
toolbar.
Discussing the Flex and Flex Builder documentation
with LiveDocs
The Flex and Flex Builder documentation is available online in LiveDocs format. The
LiveDocs version of the Flex and Flex Builder Help looks similar to the in-product help, but it
lets you comment on the contents of individual help pages. You can add useful information
on a specific Flex or Flex Builder topic based on your own experience, or view suggestions
from other Flex designers and developers.
For Flex LiveDocs, see www.adobe.com/go/flex2_livedocs.
24
Learning Flex Builder
CHAPTER 2
2
Flex Builder Workbench
Basics
This topic provides an overview of the Adobe Flex Builder 2 workbench. Flex Builder is built
on Eclipse, an open-source, integrated development environment (IDE); you use it to develop
Flex 2 and ActionScript 3.0 applications using powerful coding, visual layout and design,
build, and debugging tools.
This topic contains the following sections:
Flex Builder basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
About Flex Builder editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
About Flex Builder perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Workbench menus, toolbars, and shortcuts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Extending the Flex Builder workbench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Flex Builder basics
The Flex Builder workbench is a full-featured development environment that is tailored to
assisting you in developing Flex and ActionScript applications. If you’ve used an earlier
version of Flex Builder or you’re a Dreamweaver user (from which previous versions of Flex
Builder were based) you’ll need to understand a few new terms and concepts that are essential
to using Flex Builder 2.
Eclipse
Flex Builder 2 is built on Eclipse, an open-source IDE. Flex Builder is a collection
of Eclipse plug-ins that let you create Flex 2 and ActionScript 3.0 applications in this fullfeatured IDE. Much of the basic functionality of the IDE comes from Eclipse. For example,
managing, searching, and navigating resources are core features of the IDE. The Flex Builder
plug-ins add the features and functionality needed to create Flex 2 and ActionScript 3.0
applications, and they modify the IDE user interface and some core functionality to support
those tasks.
25
The information you need to use Flex Builder is contained in the Flex Builder
documentation. Unless you’re using other Eclipse plug-ins (such as CVS or Java) with Flex
Builder, or you want to extend the Flex Builder plug-ins (see “Extending the Flex Builder
workbench” on page 45), you do not need to be concerned with the underlying Eclipse
framework.
Workbench The term workbench refers to the Flex Builder development environment.
The workbench contains three primary elements: perspectives, editors, and views. You use
all three in various combinations at various points in the application development process.
The workbench is the container for all of the development tools you use to develop
applications. You might equate it to Microsoft Visual Studio, which provides a framework
and core functionality for a variety of development tools.
Perspective A perspective is a group of views and editors in the workbench. It’s
essentially a special work environment that helps you accomplish a specific type of task.
For example, Flex Builder contains two perspectives. The Development perspective is used
for developing applications and the Debugging perspective is used when debugging your
applications.
If you’re using the Flex Builder plug-in configuration (see “Flex Builder configurations”
on page 9), your workbench might contain additional perspectives such as a Java
perspective that contains editors and views used to develop Java applications.
For more information about perspectives, see “About Flex Builder perspectives”
on page 30.
Editor An editor allows you to edit files of various types. Which editors you have
available to you depends on the number and type of Eclipse plug-ins you have installed.
Flex Builder contains editors for writing MXML, ActionScript 3.0, and CSS code. For
more information about Flex Builder code editing, see Chapter 9, “Code Editing in Flex
Builder,” on page 163.
Views
A view typically supports an editor. For example, when editing MXML, the
Components and Flex Properties views are also displayed in the development perspective.
These views support the development of Flex applications and are therefore displayed
when a MXML file is opened for editing.
Some views support the core functionality of the workbench itself. For example, the
Navigator view allows you to manage files and folders within the workbench and the Tasks
view displays all of the tasks that are either automatically generated by the workbench or
added manually.
The term view is synonymous with the term panel as it is used in earlier versions of Flex
Builder and in Dreamweaver and other Adobe development tools.
26
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
Workspace Not to be confused with workbench, a workspace is a defined area of the file
system that contains the resources (files and folders) that make up your application
projects. You can work with only one workspace at a time; however, you can select a
different workspace each time you start Flex Builder. For more information, see
“Managing projects” on page 60.
Resource
The term resource is used generically to refer to the files and folders within the
projects in a workspace. For more information, see “Managing project resources”
on page 65.
Project All of the resources that make up your applications are contained within
projects. You cannot build an application in Flex Builder without first creating a project.
You can create three types of projects in Flex Builder: Flex 2, ActionScript 3.0, and Library
projects. For more information, see Chapter 3, “Working with Projects,” on page 49.
Launch configuration A launch configuration is created for each of your projects and it
defines project settings that are used when running and debugging your applications. For
example, the names and locations of the compiled application SWF files are contained in
the launch configuration and you can, if needed, modify these settings. For more
information, see “Running your applications” on page 205.
About Flex Builder editors
Flex Builder contains editors that allow you to edit MXML, ActionScript 3.0, and CSS code.
Editors are the essence of the workbench and views, and the perspectives in which they are
contained support their functionality.
Editors are associated with resource types, and as you open resources in the workbench, the
appropriate editor is opened. The workbench is a document-centric (and project-centric)
environment for developing applications.
When you develop Flex applications in Flex Builder, you use the MXML, ActionScript 3.0,
and CSS editors. Each editor provides the functionality needed to author the given resource
type.
About Flex Builder editors
27
Flex Builder editors
Flex Builder contains the following editors:
MXML editor
You use the MXML editor to edit MXML and to embed ActionScript and
CSS code in <mx:Script> and <mx:Style> tags. The MXML editor has two modes: source
and design. Source mode is used for editing code. Design mode is used for visually laying out
and designing your applications. The two modes are synchronized and changes in one mode
are immediately reflected in the other. For more information, see Chapter 9, “Code Editing in
Flex Builder,” on page 163.
ActionScript editor
You use the ActionScript editor to edit ActionScript class and interface
files. Although you can embed ActionScript functions into an MXML file by using the
<mx:Script> tag, it’s a common practice to define classes in separate ActionScript files and
then import the classes into MXML files. Using this method, you can define most of your
Flex applications in ActionScript.
CSS editor You use the CSS editor to edit cascading style sheets. You can then apply styles
to the visual elements of your applications. For more information, see Chapter 18, “Using
Styles and Themes” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Code hinting
Editors contain many features that simplify and streamline code development. Foremost
among these features is Content Assist, which displays code completion hints as you enter
MXML, ActionScript, and CSS code.
Code hints appear automatically as you enter your code. (You can also display code hints by
pressing Control+Space.) The following example shows code hints in the MXML editor.
Code hints appear whenever you begin typing a code expression that Flex or the language
(MXML, ActionScript, and CSS) recognizes. For example, if you type the name of a Flex
component, you are prompted with a list of all properties of that component.
28
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
ActionScript code hinting is also supported. ActionScript code hints are displayed within
embedded <mx:Script> tags in an MXML document and within stand-alone ActionScript
files. Content Assist displays code hints for all ActionScript language elements: interfaces,
classes, variables, functions, return types, and so on.
Content Assist also provides code hints for custom MXML components or ActionScript
classes that you create yourself. For example, if you define a custom MXML component and
add it to your project, code hints are displayed when you refer to the component in your
MXML application file.
For more information about using Content Assist, see “About Flex Builder content assistance”
on page 166.
Code navigation
Code navigation simplifies the burden of working with code, especially in large projects with
many resources. Code navigation includes the ability to a select a code element (a reference to
a custom Flex component in an MXML application file, for example) and go to the source of
the code definition, wherever it is located in the project, workspace, or path.
Other code navigation features include code folding, which allows you to collapse and expand
multiline code statements, and the Outline view, which hierarchically presents, and allows
you to navigate to, all of the user interface and code elements in a file. For more information,
see “Navigating and organizing code” on page 170.
Code formatting
As you write code, Flex Builder automatically indents lines of code to improve readability,
adds distinguishing color to code elements, and provides many commands for quickly
formatting your code as you enter it (adding a block comment, for example). For more
information, see “Formatting code” on page 176.
About Flex Builder editors
29
About Flex Builder perspectives
To support a particular task or group of tasks, editors and supporting views are combined into
a perspective. Flex Builder contains two perspectives: one for development and design and the
other for debugging.
Perspectives change automatically to support the task at hand. For example, when you create a
Flex project, the workbench switches to the development perspective; when you start a
debugging session, the debugging perspective is displayed when the first breakpoint is
encountered. You can also manually switch perspectives yourself by selecting Window > Open
Perspective from the main menu. Or, you can use the perspective bar, which is located in the
main workbench tool bar.
If you’re using the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder and have other Eclipse plug-ins
installed, you might have many additional perspectives. While predefined perspectives are
delivered with each Eclipse plug-in, you can customize them to your liking or create your
own. Customizing or creating a perspective is a matter of selecting, placing, and sizing the
editors and views you need to accomplish your development tasks. For more information
about working with and customizing perspectives, see “Working with perspectives”
on page 85.
For more information about the Flex Builder perspectives, see the following topics:
■
“The Flex Development perspective” on page 31
■
“The Flex Development perspective in Design mode” on page 34
■
“The Flex Debugging perspective” on page 37
■
“Other useful workbench views” on page 40
30
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
The Flex Development perspective
The development perspective includes the editors and views you need to create Flex 2 and
ActionScript 3.0 applications. When you create a project, Flex Builder switches into the
development perspective so you can begin developing your application.
Navigator view
Outline view
Editor
Problems view
The focal point of the perspective (and the workbench generally) is the editor area. The editor
area contains all of the currently open documents in a multitab interface. The supporting
views are placed around the editor area. Perspectives predefine the layout of all the elements
within it, but you may rearrange them to your liking. For more information, see Chapter 4,
“Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench,” on page 85.
In Source (code editing) mode, the development perspective contains the following elements.
The Flex Builder editors
The editor area contains all of the open documents. When you create a Flex project, the main
MXML application file is opened in the editor area. You can then open and switch between
any of the MXML, ActionScript, and CSS documents with which you’re working.
About Flex Builder perspectives
31
The MXML editor operates in two modes (source and design) and the development
perspective is modified to accommodate each set of tasks as you toggle between the two
modes. The ActionScript and CSS editors are single-purpose editors that are used to create
ActionScript and CSS files.
For more information about using the MXML editor, see Chapter 9, “Code Editing in Flex
Builder,” on page 163. For more information about the development perspective in Design
mode, see “The Flex Development perspective in Design mode” on page 34.
The Navigator view
The Navigator view contains all of the projects and resources in the workspace and is therefore
an essential element of the Flex Builder workbench and is always displayed in the
development and debugging perspectives.
32
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
For more information about the Navigator view and working with projects, see Chapter 3,
“Working with Projects,” on page 49.
The Outline view in Source mode
In Source mode, the Outline view presents a hierarchical view of the code structure of the
selected MXML or ActionScript document so that you can inspect and navigate the sections
or lines of code in the document. The Outline view also displays syntax error alerts that the
compiler generates. This view is also available when you use the ActionScript editor.
For more information about using the Outline view in Source mode, see “Using the Outline
view to navigate and inspect code” on page 171.
The Problems view
As you enter code, the Flex Builder compiler detects syntax and other compilation errors, and
these are displayed in the Problems view. When you debug your applications, errors,
warnings, and other information are displayed in the Problems view.
For more information, see Chapter 11, “Running and Debugging Applications,” on page 203.
NO T E
You can also optionally add the Tasks and Bookmarks views. These views provide
additional shortcuts for managing and navigating your code. For more information about
these views, see “About markers” on page 178. For an introduction to the optional views
that are available in Flex Builder, see “Other useful workbench views” on page 40.
About Flex Builder perspectives
33
The Flex Development perspective in Design mode
You visually lay out and design your Flex applications in the MXML editor in Design mode.
Design mode is the visual representation of the code that you edit in Source mode. In Design
mode, however, additional views are added to support design tasks. These are the
Components, Flex Properties, and States views. In addition, when in Design mode, the
Outline view displays the MXML structure of your Flex applications.
For more information about designing Flex applications in Flex Builder, see Chapter 5,
“Building a Flex User Interface,” on page 105.
N OT E
Design mode is not available when working with ActionScript projects. To preview the
user interface of your ActionScript applications, you need to build and run them. For
more information about working with ActionScript, see “About ActionScript projects”
on page 74 and “Running and Debugging Applications” on page 203.
MXML editor in Design mode
Components view
States view
Flex properties view
In Design mode, the development perspective contains the following views.
34
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
The MXML Editor in Design mode
In Design mode, you interact with your Flex applications visually; dragging and dropping
components on to the design surface, selecting and resizing components, and so on. You can
also expand the MXML editor in Design mode to clearly see and select individual
components; this is especially useful when you have embedded container components. For
more information about working in Design mode, see Chapter 5, “Building a Flex User
Interface,” on page 105.
The Components view
The Components view contains all of the standard Flex components and you select and add
them to the design surface. As you create your own custom components, they are also
displayed in the Components view.
For more information, see “Adding components” on page 108.
The States view
Flex allows you to create applications that change their appearance based on events that are
triggered directly by the user or events that are generated programmatically. These user
interface transformations are referred to as view states. You create and manage view states in
the States view.
For more information about view states, see Chapter 6, “Adding View States and Transitions,”
on page 141.
About Flex Builder perspectives
35
The Flex Properties view
When a Flex component is selected, its properties are displayed in the Flex Properties view.
You can set and edit properties as appropriate. You can view a component’s properties
graphically (as shown in the following example), and as a categorized or alphabetical list.
For more information, see “Setting component properties” on page 119.
The Outline view in Design mode
In Design mode, the Outline view presents a hierarchical view of the MXML structure of
your Flex applications. You can easily navigate the structure of your application by selecting
individual MXML tag statements and components. When you select an item in the Outline
view, it is highlighted in Design mode.
For more information about working with the Outline view in Design mode, see “Inspecting
the structure of your MXML” on page 125.
36
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
The Flex Debugging perspective
The Flex Debugging perspective contains the tools you need to debug your Flex and
ActionScript applications. Like the development perspective, the primary tool within the
debugging perspective is the editor. In the context of debugging your applications, the editor
works with the debugging tools to locate and highlight lines of code that need attention so
that you can fix them and continue testing your application.
For example, you can set breakpoints in your script to stop the execution of the script so that
you can inspect the values of variables and other information up to that point. You can also
move to the next breakpoint or step in to a function call to see the variable values change.
Navigator view
Debug view
Editor
Variables, Breakpoints, and Expressions views
Console view
The debugging perspective appears automatically when the first breakpoint is reached. You
can also switch to the debugging perspective manually by selecting it from the Perspective bar,
which is located at the right edge of the main workbench toolbar.
About Flex Builder perspectives
37
The debugging perspective contains the following views.
The Debug view
The Debug view (in other debuggers this is sometimes referred to as the callstack) displays the
stack frame of the suspended thread of the Flex application you are debugging. You use the
Debug view to manage the debugging process. For example, the Debug view allows you to
resume or suspend the thread, step into and over code statements, and so on.
For more information about working with the debug view, see “Managing the debugging
session in the Debug view” on page 214.
Flex applications are single-threaded (not multi-threaded like Java, for example) and you can
debug only one Flex application at a time. Therefore, when you debug a Flex application, you
see only the processes and debug view for a single thread of execution.
The Debug view shows a list of all the functions called to that point, in the order called. For
example, the first function called is at the bottom of the list. You can double-click a function
to move to it in the script; Flex Builder updates the information in the Variables view to
reflect the new location in the script.
The Breakpoints view
The Breakpoints view lists all of the breakpoints you set in your project. You can double-click
a breakpoint and display its location in the editor. You can also disable, skip, and remove
breakpoints.
For more information, see “Managing breakpoints in the Breakpoints view” on page 212.
38
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
The Console view
The Console view displays the output from trace statements placed in your ActionScript code,
and also feedback from the debugger itself (status, warnings, errors, and so on). The Console
view serves the same purpose as the output panel in Flex Builder 1.5.
For more information, see “Using the Console view” on page 215.
The Variables view
The Variables view displays information about the variables in the currently-selected stack
frame and serves the same purpose as the locals window does in other debuggers (including
Flex Builder 1.5). You can select variables to watch (in the Expressions view) and also change
variable values during the debugging session and see the changes in the currently running
SWF file, to experiment with fixes for the problem you’re trying to resolve.
For more information, see “Managing variables in the Variables view” on page 215.
About Flex Builder perspectives
39
The Expressions view
The Expressions view is used to monitor a set of critical variables and serves the same purpose
as the watch window does in other debuggers (in Flex Builder 1.5 this was referred to as the
watch list). You can choose the variables you consider critical in the Variables view and add
them to and monitor (watch) them in the Expressions view.
When you debug your application, you can then monitor and, if needed, modify the values.
You can also add and remove variables in the Expressions view. For more information, see
“Using the Expressions view” on page 216.
For more information about debugging Flex and ActionScript applications, see Chapter 11,
“Running and Debugging Applications,” on page 203.
Other useful workbench views
In addition to the editors and views associated with Flex Builder’s default development and
debugging perspectives, the workbench contains other views that help you streamline the
application development process.
You can access views that are not already displayed with a perspective and add them to the
workbench by selecting Window > Show Views > Other. These optional views are categorized
by type and are associated with distinct workbench functionality or with specific Eclipse plugins. For more information about working with views, see “Working with editors and views”
on page 89.
You will find that several workbench views in particular are valuable aides as you develop your
applications in Flex Builder. These include the Tasks, Bookmarks, and Search views, which
are described in the following sections.
40
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
The Tasks view
The Tasks view is used to manage task markers. The workbench automatically generates task
markers, or you create them manually to mark lines of code or resources that require more
work before they are complete. Selecting a task locates and displays it in the workbench.
For more information about the Tasks view, see “About markers” on page 178.
The Bookmarks view
The Bookmarks view is used to manage the bookmarks that you add to specific lines of code
or to resources. As in a web browser, bookmarks are used as a convenience for keeping track of
noteworthy items. Selecting a bookmark locates and displays it in the workbench.
For more information about the Bookmarks view, see “About markers” on page 178.
About Flex Builder perspectives
41
The Search view
The Search view is displayed automatically when you search the resources in the workspace.
You can use it to define and recall previous searches, to filter the list of search results, and so
on.
For more information about the Search view, see “Searching in the workbench” on page 99.
Workbench menus, toolbars, and
shortcuts
All of the workbench commands are contained in the menu system, in right-click context
menus, from toolbars, and through keyboard shortcuts. For more information, see the
following topics:
■
“The workbench toolbar” on page 43
■
“The MXML editor toolbar” on page 44
■
“Using keyboard shortcuts” on page 45
42
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
The workbench toolbar
The workbench toolbar contains important and frequently used commands that are also
available from various Flex Builder menus.
New
Save
Print
Publish Application Source
Next
Debug
Run
Back
Last edit location
External tools
The following options appear in the workbench toolbar:
New displays a pop-up menu that displays all the types of projects and documents you can
create. For more information about the types of projects and resources you can create, see
“About project resource types” on page 54.
Save
saves the document that is open in the editor and currently selected.
Print
prints the document that is open in the editor and currently selected.
Run
opens the main application SWF file in your default web browser or directly in
stand-alone Flash Player. You can also select other application files in the project from the
attached pop-up menu. For more information, see “Running your applications”
on page 205.
Debug
uses the current project’s main application file to begin a debugging session. You
can also select other application files in the project from the attached pop-up menu. For
more information, see “Starting a debugging session” on page 211.
Publish Application Source allows
you to choose some or all of your application source
files to be published with the application SWF file, so that users may view the source code.
For more information, see “Publishing application source code” on page 199.
External tools
is used to select a custom launch configuration.
Last edit location
returns you to the location of the last edit you made to a resource (for
example, the exact line of code or, in Design mode, the user interface element in which
you added a control or set a property).
Workbench menus, toolbars, and shortcuts
43
Back
and Next go backward or forward to previously selected documents. You can also
select from the list of currently open documents from the attached pop-up menu.
The MXML editor toolbar
The MXML editor toolbar contains several commands for controlling the editor.
Source
Design
Refresh
Show Surrounding Containers
Design Area Size
State
Source
displays the editor in Source mode, which is where you edit code.
Design displays the editor in Design mode, which is where you visually lay out and design
your Flex applications.
Refresh reloads the visual elements (images, SWF files, or class files containing drawing
API methods) that define the visual design of your application. Collectively, these
elements are referred to as a skin. For more information, see Chapter 20, “Using Skins” in
Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Show Surrounding Containers
expands the Design mode view so that you can see and
select individual components. For more information, see “Showing surrounding
containers” on page 124.
State
displays all the defined views states. Selecting view states updates the display of the
visual design. For more information, see “Adding View States and Transitions”
on page 141.
Design Area displays
and allows you to select predefined design area sizes (1024 x 768
pixels and 800 x 600 pixels, for example). You can also set a custom size. For more
information, see “Using the MXML editor in Design mode” on page 112.
44
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
Using keyboard shortcuts
Many operations that are available from the menu system in Flex Builder are also available as
keyboard shortcuts.
To display the list of all keyboard shortcuts in Flex Builder:
■
Select Help > Key Assist, or enter Control+Shift+L. (Command+Shift+L on Macintosh)
You can use Key Assist as a reference to all the Flex Builder keyboard shortcuts, or you can run
these commands directly from the Key Assist panel by double-clicking the commands. You
can also modify keyboard shortcuts or create your own. For more information, see “Changing
keyboard shortcuts” on page 96.
Extending the Flex Builder workbench
Flex Builder is a collection of Eclipse plug-ins that provide the tools you need to create Flex 2
and ActionScript 3.0 applications. The Eclipse plug-in framework allows plug-ins to expose
extension points, which can be used to extend the features and capabilities of the tool. For
more information, see Adobe Flex Builder 2 Extensibility API Reference in Help.
Extending the Flex Builder workbench
45
46
Flex Builder Workbench Basics
2
PART 2
Flex Builder Basics
This part describes in detail how to create and manage projects and use the
many features of the Flex Builder workbench.
The following chapters are included:
Chapter 3: Working with Projects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Chapter 4: Navigating and Customizing the Flex
Builder Workbench. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
47
3
CHAPTER 3
Working with Projects
Adobe Flex Builder 2 uses a traditional approach to software development: grouping the
resources (folders and files) that constitute an application into a container called a project. A
project contains a set of properties that control how the application is built, where the built
application resides, how debugging is handled, and the relationships to other projects in the
workspace.
To manage projects, you use the Navigator view, which lets you add, edit, and delete
resources. You can also close projects within a workspace, import resources, link to external
resources, and so on.
In addition to Flex projects, Flex Builder also provides a more basic project type called an
ActionScript project. Using an ActionScript project, you can code and debug ActionScript 3.0
applications that directly access the Flash Player APIs and are compiled into SWF files.
ActionScript projects do not use Flex framework or the MXML language. No Flex server is
associated with ActionScript projects.
You can also use Flex Builder to create library projects that generate shared component library
(SWC) files, which contain components and other resources that you can share between
applications or distribute to other developers.
This topic contains the following sections:
Understanding Flex Builder projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Creating Flex projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Managing projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Managing project resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
About ActionScript projects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
About library projects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
49
Understanding Flex Builder projects
Before you create projects in Flex Builder, it’s helpful to first review the key concepts involved
in creating and managing application projects in Flex Builder. (If you prefer to get started
immediately and create a project, see “About Flex Builder project types” on page 52 and
“Creating Flex projects” on page 56.)
Flex 2 and ActionScript 3.0 applications
Using Flex Builder you can create Flex 2 and ActionScript 3.0 applications. Flex applications
can be compiled into stand-alone SWF files that do not require the Flex server. When you
build Flex applications that require the Flex server, you can use either Flex Builder or the
server to compile the application SWF files. For more information, see “About Flex Builder
project types” on page 52 and “About ActionScript projects” on page 74.
Flex libraries
You can also use Flex Builder to build custom code libraries that you can share between your
applications or distribute to other developers. A library project generates a SWC file, which is
an archive file for Flex components and other resources. For more information, see “About
library projects” on page 78.
Applications contained in projects
To begin building a Flex or ActionScript 3.0 application in Flex Builder, you must first create
a project. When you create a Flex project, a main application file is created for you. You then
add, as needed, other resources such as MXML application files, custom MXML component
files, ActionScript files, and all of the other assets that make up your Flex application. When
you create an ActionScript 3.0 project, a main ActionScript file is created and you can then
build an application by using ActionScript and the Flash Player API. For more information,
see “Creating Flex projects” on page 56 and “Managing projects” on page 60.
Projects managed in workspaces
Projects are managed from within a workspace, which is a defined area of the file system that
contains the resources (files and folders) that make up your applications. By default, your
projects reside within the workspace. You can, however, create projects that are located outside
the workspace; Flex Builder automatically links them to the workspace. You can use only one
workspace per instance of Flex Builder; however, you can select a different workspace each
time you start Flex Builder.
50
Working with Projects
More than one project in each workspace
You can add as many projects to a workspace as needed. All of your projects are displayed in
the Navigator view, and you can manage them as you need to—adding resources, organizing
your projects into folders, building projects in the workspace, and so on. For more
information, see “Managing projects” on page 60 and “Managing project resources”
on page 65.
External linked resources
In addition to the resources in your projects, you can link to resources outside a project and
workspace. Linked external resources appear as part of the project but reside outside the
project’s location. For more information, see “Linking to resources outside the project
workspace” on page 70.
More than one application in a project
Flex Builder lets you define more than one project file as an application. When you create a
project, Flex Builder generates a main application file that serves as the entry point into your
application, and the compiler uses this file to generate the application SWF file. However, if
your project is complex, you can create additional application files. All application files must
reside in the root folder of your project. For more information, see “Managing project
application files” on page 64.
Automatic project builds
When your projects are built, debug and release SWF files are generated in the output folder.
You have complete control over how and how often your applications are built. If you have no
special requirements for customizing the build, it works transparently and automatically
generates the application SWF files. For more information, see “Building Projects”
on page 187.
Custom Ant scripts
Apache Ant is a Java-based build tool that you can use to create custom scripts for building
your Flex applications in Flex Builder. For more information, see “Customizing builds with
Apache Ant” on page 199.
Understanding Flex Builder projects
51
Learn more about Flex Builder projects
If you haven’t already done so, review the getting started lesson in Chapter 8, “Create Your
First Application” in Getting Started with Flex 2. For more information, see the following
sections in this topic:
■
“About Flex Builder project types” on page 52
■
“Projects in the Navigator view” on page 53
■
“About project resource types” on page 54
■
“Creating Flex projects” on page 56
■
“Managing projects” on page 60
About Flex Builder project types
You use Flex Builder to create projects of the following types in the following configurations.
Flex 2 projects
Flex 2 project configuration options are based on how your Flex application accesses data and
if you have Flex Data Services installed. Here are the options:
■
Basic Flex project
The basic configuration allows you to develop Flex applications using the Flex framework
and to access data using XML and Web services. You compile your projects in Flex Builder
and then deploy them to a web server.
■
ColdFusion Flash Remoting Service project
This project configuration allows you to access data using the ColdFusion Flash Remoting
Service.
■
Flex Data Services project
This project configuration allows you to take advantage of the Flex Data Services features.
You must have Flex Data Services installed. You compile your projects by using Flex
Builder, or you can use Flex Data Services to compile the application source files on the
server.
52
Working with Projects
ActionScript 3.0 projects
Based on the Flash API, not the Flex framework, ActionScript projects are intended to let
ActionScript developers use Flex Builder to code, build, and debug ActionScript-only
applications. Because these projects do not use MXML to define a user interface, you cannot
view the application layout and design in Design mode. You work exclusively in the source
editor, using the debugging tools as necessary, and then build the project into SWF
application files to preview and test your application in a web browser or stand-alone Flash
Player. For more information about ActionScript projects, see “About ActionScript projects”
on page 74.
Library projects
Library projects are used to package and distribute components and other resources. They
generate SWC files that you can add to other projects or distribute to other developers. For
more information, see “About library projects” on page 78.
Projects in the Navigator view
All of the projects in a workspace are displayed in the Navigator view, as the following
example shows. Using this view, you manage your projects by adding resources (folders and
files), deleting resources, importing and linking to external resources, moving resources to
other projects in the workspace, and so on.
Flex Builder provides wizards to help you create projects. The New Flex Project wizard
automatically generates project configuration files, the output (bin) folder where your
compiled application resides, and the main application file. (In the previous example, the
main application file is myflexproject.mxml.) The New ActionScript Project wizard generates
a main ActionScript application file.
Understanding Flex Builder projects
53
From the Navigator view, you can open the project resources for editing. For example,
double-clicking the myflexproject.mxml file opens it in the Flex Builder MXML editor. In the
MXML editor, you can edit MXML and also ActionScript in <mx:Script> blocks and CSS
in <mx:Style> blocks, or you can switch into Design mode and visually manipulate
components and controls to create the application’s layout and behavior. For more
information about working with the Flex Builder editors, see Chapter 9, “Code Editing in
Flex Builder,” on page 163 and Chapter 5, “Building a Flex User Interface,” on page 105.
You then add additional projects, files, and folders and organize and manage them as needed
(see “Managing project resources” on page 65).
You can also modify the Navigator view’s display. For example, you can expand and collapse
projects and folders, limit which projects and resources are visible by creating a working set (a
collection of resources), create display filters, and sort resources by name and type. For more
information about modifying views, see “Navigating and Customizing the Flex
Builder Workbench” on page 85.
Most menu commands that you use in the Navigator view are also available from the
Navigator view’s context menu. For example, instead of selecting File > New, you can rightclick (Control-click on Macintosh) in the Navigator view, and select New from the context
menu.
For more information about working with projects in the Navigator view, see “Managing
projects” on page 60 and “Managing project resources” on page 65.
About project resource types
Flex and ActionScript applications support several standard resource types (MXML,
ActionScript, CSS, and so on). The following table lists the resource types that you can add to
your projects. (To add these resources, select File > New.)
Resource type
Description
MXML application
A standard Flex application file with the <mx:Application> tag as
the root MXML element. A Flex project can have more than one
application file (see “Managing project application files”
on page 64).
MXML component
A standard Flex component file with the <mx:Canvas> tag as the
root MXML element. See “Creating MXML components visually”
on page 156.
ActionScript file
A text file template for creating ActionScript functions.
54
Working with Projects
Resource type
Description
ActionScript class
An ActionScript class file. When you add this type of resource, the
New ActionScript Class wizard prompts you for class definition
elements such as the superclass, interfaces, and so on. For more
information about working with ActionScript in Flex Builder, see
“Creating an ActionScript class” on page 76.
ActionScript interface
An ActionScript interface file. When you add this type of resource,
the New ActionScript Interface wizard prompts you for interface
definition elements such as extended interfaces and the package
in which they reside. For more information about working with
ActionScript in Flex Builder, see “Creating an ActionScript
interface” on page 77.
CSS file
A text file template for creating a Cascading Style Sheets file.
Folder
A standard file system folder for organizing the contents of your
projects. See “Creating folders and files in a project” on page 66.
File
An unformatted text file. See “Creating folders and files in a
project” on page 66.
Other
Select File > New > Other to add any other file types that are
registered in Flex Builder. For example, if you have a Java plug-in
installed in Flex Builder, you can add new Java classes, interfaces,
and packages.
When a file type is registered in Flex Builder, a corresponding
editor is also available in the workbench. For more information, see
“Associating editors with file types” on page 93.
You can always add unregistered file types to your projects by
importing them (see “Importing resources into a project”
on page 67).
For more information about adding resources to your projects, see “Creating folders and files
in a project” on page 66.
Understanding Flex Builder projects
55
Creating Flex projects
When you create a project, the New Flex Project wizard guides you through the steps,
prompting you for the type of project you want to create, the project’s name, location, and
other options.
This section describes how to create Flex projects and select a project configuration that suits
your data access requirements. For information about creating an ActionScript project, see
“Creating ActionScript projects” on page 74. For information about creating library projects,
see “About library projects” on page 78.
Selecting the Flex project configuration
As described in “About Flex Builder project types” on page 52, there are three configuration
options for Flex projects that are based on how your application will access data. The first step
in creating a Flex project is to determine which configuration to choose.
To select a Flex project configuration:
1.
Select File > New > Flex Project. The New Flex Project wizard appears:
2.
Select the option that represents how your application accesses data. In most cases, you
select the first option, which gives you basic data access options such as XML and Web
services.
If you have ColdFusion MX 7 Updater 2 (7.0.2) installed, you can create a Flex project
that uses the ColdFusion Flash Remoting Service to access data.
If you have Flex Data Services installed, you can create an FDS project. You must also
select how the application is compiled (locally in Flex Builder or remotely on the server).
56
Working with Projects
3.
Click Next to continue creating your Flex project.
If you’re creating a basic Flex project, see “Creating a basic Flex project” on page 57; if you’re
creating a project that uses the ColdFusion Flash Remoting Service, see “Creating a Flex
ColdFusion Flash Remoting service project” on page 57; if you’re creating a project that uses
FDS, see “Creating a Flex Data Services project” on page 58.
Creating a basic Flex project
The basic configuration allows you to develop Flex applications using the Flex framework and
gives you basic data access options such as XML and Web services. You compile your projects
in Flex Builder, and then deploy them to a web server.
To create a basic Flex project:
1.
After you selected the project configuration type, click Next, and set the following project
properties:
Project Name
is the name of your project.
Project Location
is the location of your project. The default location is the workspace,
which is, by default, My Documents\Flex Builder 2\project_name (for example,
C:\Documents and Settings\Flex Developer\My Documents\Flex Builder 2\myFlexApp).
You can choose a different project location by deselecting the Use Default Location
option.
2.
Click Next to set optional project properties (see “Setting optional project properties”
on page 59) or click Finish to create the project.
For more information about working with projects, see “Managing projects” on page 60.
Creating a Flex ColdFusion Flash Remoting service
project
To access data by using the ColdFusion Flash Remoting service, you must have ColdFusion
MX 7 Updater 2 (7.0.2), and (optionally) the ColdFusion Extensions for Flex Builder 2. For
more information, see the ColdFusion product page.
To create a Flex project that uses the ColdFusion Flash Remoting Service:
1.
After selecting the ColdFusion Flash Remoting data access option from the first screen of
the New Flex Project wizard, you are prompted to specify the following:
Use Local ColdFusion Server specifies
that the local installation of ColdFusion MX
7.0.2 is used by the project.
Creating Flex projects
57
Root Folder specifies the ColdFusion root folder (for example:
C:\CFusionMX7\wwwroot).
Root URL specifies
the root URL (for example: http://localhost:8500/).
2.
Click Next to continue.
3.
You are prompted to specify the following:
Project Name
is the name of your project.
Project Location
is the location of your project. The default location is the workspace,
which is, by default, My Documents\Flex Builder 2\project_name (for example,
C:\Documents and Settings\Flex Developer\My Documents\Flex Builder 2\myFlexApp).
You can choose a different project location by deselecting the Use Default Location
option.
4.
Click Next to set optional project properties (see “Setting optional project properties”
on page 59) or click Finish to create the project.
Creating a Flex Data Services project
To use Flex Data Services in your Flex projects, you must have Flex Data Services installed.
You have two options for creating a Flex Data Services project. The first option compiles the
application locally, and then saves the files (including the SWF file and HTML wrapper) on
the server. The second option compiles the application source file directly on the server.
To create a Flex Data Services project:
1.
After selecting the Flex Data Services Data Access option from the first screen of the New
Flex Project wizard, you are prompted to specify the following:
Use Default Location for Local Flex Data Services server specifies that the root folder
and root URL are set to the default settings of your local Flex development server. This
option is selected by default.
Root Folder is the root folder of the Flex server (web application) from which to serve
your application (for example, C:\fds2\jrun4\servers\default\flex). If you choose not to use
the default Flex development server option, you can specify a new location for the root
folder, but it must be a valid folder that is mapped to the root URL that you specify. If you
are using a remote server, you can specify the location—for example,
myServer\MyApplications\jrun4\servers\default\flex.
Root URL is a valid root URL of the Flex server (web application) from which to serve
your application. The default root URL for local server instances is http://localhost:8700/
flex/. If you use a remote server, the URL might look like this: http://myserver.com:8700/
flex/.
58
Working with Projects
2.
After you finish entering the server properties and click Next, you are prompted to set the
following project properties:
Project Name
is the name of your project.
Project Location
is the location of your project. The default location is
C:\fds2\jrun4\servers\default\flex. You can choose a different project location.
If you selected the server compile option, you will also see the following:
Main Application File
is the name of the main application MXML file. By default, Flex
Builder uses the project name as the main application filename. You can change this
name.
3.
If you selected the option to compile the project in Flex Builder, click Next to set optional
project properties (see “Setting optional project properties” on page 59), or click Finish to
create the project. If you selected the option to compile the project on the server, click
Finish to create the project.
When you create a Flex Data Services project in Flex Builder, Flex Builder either creates a
directory with same name as your project or uses an existing directory that has that name.
That directory is a subdirectory of the root folder that you specified for the project.
For applications that compile locally, Flex Builder saves MXML files in the local Flex Builder
project directory, and saves SWF files and HTML wrapper files on the server. Creating a
project that compiles locally is a good idea if you plan to deploy your finished application as a
SWF file with an HTML wrapper file rather than as an MXML file, because Flex Builder
generates the SWF and HTML wrapper for you and saves them to the appropriate location.
For applications that compile on the server, MXML files are saved on the server. No HTML
wrapper file is saved when the application is compiled.
N OT E
Regardless of which option you choose for a Flex Data Services project in Flex Builder,
you must specify a valid Flex Data Services root folder and root URL. These values
should map the root of a Flex Data Services web application. Before compiling your Flex
application in Flex Builder, you must start the corresponding Flex Data Services web
application.
Setting optional project properties
You can set optional project properties when you are creating a Flex project or after the project
has been created by selecting the project in the Navigator view, and then selecting Project >
Properties.
Creating Flex projects
59
To set optional project properties:
1.
Set the following advanced project properties:
Source path is
used to link external resources to your application. For example, if you
have a folder of shared ActionScript classes, you can link to that folder by adding it to the
source path. You can also edit a folder’s path, remove the folder from the source path, and
arrange the order of the folders using the Up and Down buttons. For more information,
see “Modifying a project’s build path” on page 193.
Library path is
used to link to external resource libraries (SWC files). By default, the
library path of new ActionScript projects contains the playerglobal.swc and utilities.swc
files. You can link library projects, SWC folders, and compiled SWCs to the library path.
You can also edit the path entry, remove the entry from the library path, and arrange the
order of the folders using the Up and Down buttons. For more information, see “Using
SWC files in your projects” on page 82.
Main source folder is by default the root of your project. You can, however, choose a
different folder within the project. You can browse the project folder structure and create a
folder for the source if needed.
Main application file is
the name of main application MXML file. By default, Flex
Builder uses the project name as the main application filename. You can change this
name.
Output folder is
the location of the compiled application files. By default, this is the bin
folder but you can change this if you like.
Output folder URL is
used to specify the server location of the compiled application files.
This is optional.
Managing projects
To manage your projects and resources, you use the Navigator view to add and import
resources into projects, move and delete resources, and so on.
The following topics explain how to manage projects in Flex Builder:
■
“Setting Flex project properties” on page 61
■
“Importing projects” on page 62
■
“Moving a project from one workspace to another” on page 62
■
“Deleting projects” on page 63
■
“Closing and opening projects” on page 63
■
“Switching the main application file” on page 64
■
“Managing project application files” on page 64
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Working with Projects
Setting Flex project properties
Each Flex project has its own set of properties, as the following example shows. You can set
these properties by first selecting the project in the Navigator view and then Project >
Properties from the main menu, or right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the
context menu and select Properties.
You can set the following project-specific preferences in Flex Builder:
Info displays general information about the project, settings for text encoding, and the
operating system line delimiter. (See “Setting project text encoding properties” in Help.)
Builders
specifies the build tool to use. A standard builder is included in Flex Builder. You
can use Apache Ant (an open-source build tool) to create new build scripts or import existing
Ant build scripts. (See “Customizing builds with Apache Ant” on page 199.)
Flex Applications displays the names of the project files that are set as application files, which
can be compiled, debugged, and run as separate applications. (See “Managing project
application files” on page 64.)
Flex Build Path specifies the build path, which specifies where external source and library
files are located. You can modify the build path and also change the name of the output folder.
(See “Setting a project’s output folder” on page 193 and “Building projects manually”
on page 195.)
Managing projects
61
Flex Compiler
specifies optional compiler preferences such as generating an accessible SWF
file, enabling compiler warnings and type checking, specifying additional compiler
arguments, and so on. (See “Advanced build options” on page 195.)
Flex Server determines the location of the Flex root folder and the Flex server URL (for Flex
Data Services projects only). (See “Creating a Flex Data Services project” on page 58.)
Project References
lists the projects that the current project references.
Importing projects
You can work with many projects simultaneously. All projects in the current workspace are
displayed in the Navigator view. You can create projects or import existing projects into the
workspace. Existing projects must be valid Flex Builder projects and must reside either in
another workspace or, if removed from a workspace, in the file system.
To import existing projects into the workspace:
1.
Select File > Import.
2.
In the Import wizard, select Existing Projects Into Workspace and click Next.
3.
In the Import Projects dialog box, select either the root directory or archive file option; then
enter or browse for the project location.
You can import the following archive file types: jar, zip, tar, tar.gz, and tgz.
All valid projects that are available in the specified location are listed in the dialog box.
4.
Select one or more projects, and click Finish.
NO T E
Importing a project into a workspace creates a link from the workspace to the
existing location of the project.
Moving a project from one workspace to another
Although you can’t directly move a project from one workspace to another, you can use a
combination of deleting and importing operations to accomplish the same thing. When you
delete a project from a workspace, you can remove it from the workspace but leave it in the
file system (see “Deleting projects” on page 63). After you’ve removed a project from one
workspace you can import it into another.
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Working with Projects
Deleting projects
When you delete a project, you remove the project from the current workspace. You can also
choose to remove the project from the file system at the same time.
If you don’t want to delete the project from the workspace, you can close the project instead.
Closing the project lets you keep a reference to it in your workspace while also freeing some
system resources. For more information, see “Closing and opening projects” on page 63.
To delete a project:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project you want to delete.
2.
Select Edit > Delete or press the Delete key.
3.
Select an option:
Also Delete Contents Under Directory
permanently removes the project from the
workspace and the file system.
Do Not Delete Contents
removes the project from the workspace but not from the file
system.
Closing and opening projects
To save memory and improve build time without deleting a project, you can close it. When
you close a project, you collapse the project and its resources while keeping a reference to it in
the Navigator view. A closed project requires less memory than an open project, and is
excluded from builds. (To delete the project from the workspace or the file system, see
“Deleting projects” on page 63.)
You can easily reopen the closed project from the Navigator view.
To close a project:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project you want to close.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select Close
Project.
Managing projects
63
When a project is closed, its name remains visible in the Navigator view. You can select the
project and either reopen it or delete it. The following example shows a closed project in the
Navigator view.
To reopen a project:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the closed project to open.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select Open
Project.
Switching the main application file
When you create a project, the main application file is generated for you. By default, it is
named after the project. The main application file is the entry point into your applications
and becomes the basis of the application SWF file. However, as you add files to your
application, you might want to designate a different file as the main application file.
If you prefer to set multiple files as application files so that each application file is built into a
separate SWF file, see “Managing project application files” on page 64.
To switch the main application file:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the MXML application file that you want to make the main
application file.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select Set as
Default Application.
You can manage the application files in your project by selecting Project > Properties > Flex
Applications (or ActionScript Applications if you’re working with an ActionScript project).
Managing project application files
Usually, a project has a single main application file, which serves as the entry point to your
application. The Flex Builder compiler uses this file to generate the application SWF file.
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Working with Projects
For example, you might have a complex Flex application with many custom MXML
components that represent distinct but interrelated application elements. You can create an
application file that contains a custom component and then build, run, and test it separately.
By default whenever you add an MXML application file to your Flex project, it can be run
and is added to the list of project application files. All files defined as application files must
reside in your project’s source folder.
You can manage the list of application files by selecting a project and viewing its properties.
To manage application files:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Select Project > Properties.
3.
In the Project Properties dialog box, select Flex Applications (or ActionScript Applications
if you’re working with an ActionScript project).
4.
Add and remove application files as needed (see “Setting project application file properties”
in Help).
5.
Click OK.
Managing project resources
Projects consist of resources (folders and files) that you manage in the Navigator view. Projects
are contained within a workspace, which is a reflection of the file system. The Navigator view
is refreshed each time you add, delete, or modify a resource, ensuring that the view is always
synchronized with the file system.
You can also edit project resources outside Flex Builder and the Navigator view, directly in the
file system.
The following topics explain how to manage project resources in Flex Builder:
■
“Creating folders and files in a project” on page 66
■
“Deleting folders and files” on page 67
■
“Importing resources into a project” on page 67
■
“Exporting resources” on page 69
■
“Moving resources between projects in a workspace” on page 69
■
“Refreshing resources in the workspace” on page 70
■
“Linking to resources outside the project workspace” on page 70
■
“Adding resource folders to the project source path” on page 72
■
“Adding project references” on page 73
Managing project resources
65
■
“Viewing resource properties” on page 73
Creating folders and files in a project
Projects contain folders and files, and you can add both to your project as needed. For
example, you might create a folder to store all of your data models or to organize all the assets
that make up the visual design of your application, as the following example shows:
To import existing folders and files, see “Importing resources into a project” on page 67.
To create a folder:
1.
Select the Navigator view.
2.
Select File > New > Folder.
The New Folder dialog box appears.
3.
If you have multiple projects in your workspace, select the project to which you want to
add the folder.
4.
Enter the folder name and click Finish.
To create a file:
1.
Select the Navigator view.
2.
Select File > New > File.
The New File dialog box appears.
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Working with Projects
3.
If you have multiple projects in your workspace, select the project to which you want to
add the file.
4.
Enter the filename and click Finish.
You can also add folders and files that are located outside the current project; for more
information, see “Linking to resources outside the project workspace” on page 70.
Deleting folders and files
Deleting folders and files from your project removes them from the workspace and therefore
from the file system.
NO TE
If you delete a linked resource (see “Linking to resources outside the project workspace”
on page 70), you delete only the link from your project, not the resource itself. However,
if you’ve linked to a folder and you delete any of the files in it, they are removed from the
file system.
To delete a resource:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the resource to delete.
2.
Select Edit > Delete or press the Delete key.
3.
To confirm that you want to delete the resource from the file system, click OK.
Importing resources into a project
You can import existing resources into a project by using the File > Import command. You can
import resources from the file system or an archive file.
If you’d rather share a resource between projects in the workspace, you can link to the resource
instead of importing it. For more information, see “Linking to resources outside the project
workspace” on page 70.
To import resources into a project:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project to import resources into.
2.
Select File > Import.
The Import dialog box appears.
3.
From the list of import sources, select File System and click Next.
Managing project resources
67
4.
Enter or browse to the resources’ location, and select the folders and files to import.
5.
(Optional) To filter the list of files, click the Filter Types button; in the Select Types dialog
box, select the file extension to display in the Import dialog box and click OK.
6.
In the Into Folder text box, specify the folder to add the resources to.
7.
Set the following import options as needed:
Overwrite Existing Resources Without Warning
specifies that you want to overwrite
any duplicate resources that are already in your project.
Create Complete Folder Structure
lets you duplicate the folder structure of the folders
you selected to import.
Create Selected Folders Only
8.
imports and creates folders for the selected folders only.
Click Finish.
TIP
As a shortcut for this import procedure, you can quickly add existing resources to a
project or workspace by dragging them from the file system into the Navigator view, or
by copying and pasting.
To import resources from an archive file:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project to import resources into.
2.
Select File > Import.
The Import dialog box appears.
3.
From the list of import sources, select Archive File and click Next.
4.
Enter or browse to the archive file’s location.
Select the folders and files to import.
5.
68
(Optional) To filter the list of files, click the Filter Types button; in the Select Types dialog
box, select the file extension to display in the Import dialog box and click OK.
Working with Projects
6.
In the Into Folder text box, specify the folder to add the resources to.
7.
Select Overwrite Existing Resources Without Warning to overwrite any duplicate resources
that are already in your project.
8.
Click Finish to import the selected resources from the archive file.
Exporting resources
You can export project resources to another location in the file system by using the File >
Export command.
To export project resources:
1.
Select File > Export.
The Export dialog box appears.
2.
Select the export destination.
You can export project resources to the file system or to an archive file.
3.
Select the projects and resources to export.
4.
Enter or browse to the export destination (the file system or an archive file).
5.
Set the following import options as needed:
Overwrite Existing Files Without Warning
specifies that you want to overwrite any
duplicate files that are already in your project.
Create Directory Structure for Files
lets you duplicate the directory structure of the
folders you selected to import.
Create Only Selected Directories
exports and creates directories for the selected
directories only.
6.
Click Finish.
Moving resources between projects in a workspace
When you work with multiple projects in a workspace, you can move resources from one
project to another.
Managing project resources
69
To move resources between projects:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the resource to move.
2.
Do one of the following:
■
Drag the resource to a new project.
■
Cut and paste the resource to another project.
NO TE
You can move both normal resources and linked resources. For information about
linking resources, see “Linking to resources outside the project workspace” on page 70.
Refreshing resources in the workspace
When you add resources to a project that is contained in a workspace, you are organizing
those resources in a location on a file system. As you edit, add, or delete resources in Flex
Builder, the workbench automatically refreshes the various views that display these resources.
For example, when you delete a file from your project, that change is immediately reflected in
the Navigator view.
You can also edit resources outside Flex Builder, directly in the file system.
By default, in the standalone configuration of Flex Builder, the workspace is refreshed
automatically. This option is available in the Flex Builder preferences dialog box, which you
can access by selecting Window > Preferences > General > Workspace. You can also change the
Flex Builder default behavior so that it never refreshes the workspace automatically.
To manually refresh the workspace:
■
In the Navigator view, right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) and select Refresh from
the context menu.
All project resources in the workspace are refreshed.
To turn off the automatic refresh preference:
1.
Select Window > Preferences > General > Workspace.
2.
Deselect Refresh Automatically.
Linking to resources outside the project workspace
You can create links to resources outside the project and workspace location. You can link to
folders and files anywhere on the file system. This option is useful when you have resources
that are shared between your projects. For example, you can share a library of custom Flex
components or ActionScript files among many different Flex projects.
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Working with Projects
Folders that contain linked resources are marked in the Navigator view (as the following
example shows), so that you can distinguish between normal and linked resources.
When you work with shared resources, the changes you make to the source folders and files
affect all of the projects that are linked to them. Be cautious when you delete linked resources
from your projects; in some cases you merely delete the link reference, and in others you
delete the source itself. For more information, see “Deleting folders and files” on page 67.
To link to resources outside the project workspace:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project to add linked resources to.
2.
Select File > New > Folder (or File if you want to add files).
The New Folder or New File dialog box appears.
3.
Select the project or project folder where you want to add the linked resources.
4.
Enter the folder or filename.
The folder or filename you enter can be different from the name of the folder or file you
are linking to.
5.
Click the Advanced button.
6.
Enter or browse to the resource location.
7.
Click Finish to link the resource to your project.
Using a path variable to link to resources
Rather than linking to resources by entering the full path to the local or network folder where
you store your files, you can define path variables. For more information, see “Creating a path
variable” on page 194.
To link to resources using a path variable:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project to add linked resources to.
2.
Select File > New > Folder (or File if you want to add files).
The New Folder (or New File) dialog box appears.
3.
Select the project or project folder to add the linked resources to.
4.
Click the Advanced button to display the advanced options.
5.
Click the Variables button.
Managing project resources
71
6.
Select a defined path variable, or click New to create a path variable.
If you selected a defined path variable, skip to step 9. If you clicked New, you’ll see the
New Variable dialog box.
7.
Enter the path variable name and enter or browse to the file or folder location.
Click OK to create the path variable.
8.
Select the new path variable in the Select Path Variable dialog box and click OK.
9.
Click Finish to complete the link to the resource.
TI P
You can also define and manage path variables by using the Flex Builder workbench
preferences (Window > Preferences > General > Workspace > Linked Resources).
Adding resource folders to the project source path
To share resources between projects, you can place all shared resources into folders that can
then be linked to each project using the project’s source path. This is the best method for
using shared resources such as classes, MXML components, images, and so on. Updates to
these resources are immediately available to all projects that use them. When your projects are
compiled, the shared resources are added to the SWC file.
To add an external resource folder to the source path:
1.
Select the project in the Navigator view.
2.
Select Project > Properties > Flex Build Path (or ActionScript Applications if you’re
working with an ActionScript project).
3.
On the build path properties page, select the Source Path tab.
4.
Click the Add Folder button. The Add Folder dialog box appears.
5.
Enter and browse to the folder’s path.
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Working with Projects
6.
Click OK.
The folder is added to the source path.
You can also use the Source Path properties tab to edit, delete, or reorder items in the source
path.
Folders that have been added to the source path are marked in the Navigator view.
Adding project references
Projects within a workspace can refer to other projects. You might do this if, for example, you
separate business logic or interfaces into ActionScript projects and you refer to these projects
from a Flex project that contains your application’s user interface. When you refer to other
projects, dependencies are created that affect how your application is compiled. The Flex
Builder compiler manages these dependencies for you and compiles each project in the proper
order so that your application is compiled successfully.
To refer to other projects:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select Properties
> Project References.
3.
All of the projects in the workspace are listed. Select the projects to which you want to
create a reference.
4.
Click OK.
Viewing resource properties
When you work in the Navigator view, you can select a resource and view its properties.
To view resource properties:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a resource.
2.
Select File > Properties or press Alt+Enter (Option+Enter on Macintosh).
Managing project resources
73
About ActionScript projects
Flex Builder allows you to create ActionScript projects that use the Flash API (not the Flex
framework). This leverages the Flex Builder workbench tools and the ActionScript editor,
which means that you now have a full-featured IDE for developing ActionScript applications.
ActionScript projects do not have a visual representation in Flex Builder; in other words, there
is no Design mode for ActionScript applications. You view your ActionScript applications by
compiling them in Flex Builder and then running them in Flash Player. You can also use all
the debugging tools.
When you create an ActionScript project or a stand-alone ActionScript file to contain
functions or a class or interface, the Flex development perspective is modified to support the
ActionScript editor. The primary supporting views of the ActionScript editor are the Outline
and Problems views.
Creating ActionScript projects
When you create an ActionScript project, the New ActionScript Project wizard guides you
through the steps, prompting you for the type of project you want to create, the project's
name, location, and other advanced options.
To create an ActionScript project:
1.
Select File > New > ActionScript Project.
You can also create a project by right-clicking (Control-clicking on Macintosh) in the
Navigator view and selecting New > ActionScript Project from the context menu. Or, use
the keyboard shortcut Alt+Shift+N (Option+Shift+N on Macintosh) to display the New
menu and then select ActionScript Project.
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Working with Projects
The New ActionScript Project wizard appears:
2.
Specify the following:
Project Name
is the name of your project.
Project Location
is the location of your project. The default location is the workspace,
which is by default: My Documents\Flex Builder 2\project_name (for example,
C:\Documents and Settings\Flex Developer\My Documents\Flex Builder 2\myASApp).
You can choose a different project location by deselecting the Use Default Location
option.
On Macintosh, the default workspace location is /Users/Flex Developer/Flex Builder 2/
project_name.
3.
Click Next if you want to set the following advanced options (otherwise, click Finish):
Source path is
used to link external resources to your application. For example, if you
have a folder of shared ActionScript classes, you can link to that folder by adding it to the
source path.
Library path is
used to link to external resource libraries (SWC files). By default, the
library path of new ActionScript projects contains the playerglobal.swc and utilities.swc
files.
Main source folder is by default the root of your project. You can, however, choose a
different folder within the project. You can browse the project folder structure and create a
folder for the source if needed.
Main application file is the name of the ActionScript file that is the main application file.
By default, Flex Builder uses the project name as the main application filename. You can
change this name if you like.
About ActionScript projects
75
Output folder is
the location of the compiled application files. By default, this is the ‘bin’
folder but you can change this if you like.
Output folder URL is
used to specify the server location of the compiled application files.
This is optional.
4.
When you finish entering the ActionScript project settings, click Finish.
Creating an ActionScript class
You can use a wizard in Flex Builder to quickly create ActionScript classes for your Flex and
ActionScript projects. The wizard also provides an easy way to generate stubs for functions
that must be implemented.
To create an ActionScript class:
1.
Select File > New > ActionScript Class.
The New ActionScript Class dialog box appears:
76
Working with Projects
2.
Specify the basic properties of your new class in the dialog box, and then click Finish.
For instructions, see “Setting the New ActionScript Class dialog box options” in Help.
After clicking Finish, Flex Builder saves the file in the specified package and opens it in the
code editor.
If you saved the file in the current project or in the source path of the current project, Flex
Builder also displays the component in the Components view so that you can rapidly
insert it in your applications. For more information, see “Adding components visually”
on page 108.
3.
Write the definition of your ActionScript class.
For more information, see Chapter 9, “Creating Simple Visual Components in
ActionScript” in Creating and Extending Flex 2 Components.
Creating an ActionScript interface
You can use a wizard in Flex Builder to quickly create ActionScript interfaces for your Flex
and ActionScript projects. An interface is a collection of constants and methods that different
classes can share.
About ActionScript projects
77
To create an ActionScript interface:
1.
Select File > New > ActionScript Interface.
The New ActionScript Interface dialog box appears:
2.
Specify the basic properties of your new interface in the dialog box, and then click Finish.
For instructions, see “Setting the New ActionScript Interface dialog box options” in Help.
3.
Add any constants or methods to your ActionScript interface that you want different classes
to share.
Related topics
■
“Creating an ActionScript class” on page 76
About library projects
Library projects let you build custom code libraries that you can share between your
applications or distribute to other developers. A library project generates a SWC file, which is
an archive file for Flex components and other resources. For example, the Flex framework is
contained in SWC files. When you create a Flex project, the Flex framework SWC files are
added to the project’s library path. You can view and edit the library path by accessing the
project’s build path properties page (for Flex projects: Project > Properties > Flex Build Path).
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Working with Projects
Archived into a SWC file is a SWF file containing components and resources and a
catalog.xml file that is the manifest of the elements contained within the SWF file. Typically,
the SWF file contains one or more components and any other required resources. Adding the
library to a project allows you to use those components in your application and also enables
code hinting for those components.
In addition to providing a convenient way to package and distribute components, SWC
libraries are used as themes, the visual appearance of Flex applications. A SWC theme file
contains a CSS file and all the related graphic assets. For more information about creating and
using themes, see “About themes” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Libraries are useful if you create components entirely in ActionScript and want to use them in
Design mode in Flex Builder. ActionScript components are not visually rendered in Design
mode until they have been compiled into a SWF file. By adding ActionScript components to
a library project, you create a SWF file that is contained in a SWC file. You can add the library
to a project’s library path, and the ActionScript components will visually render in Design
mode when added to the application.
Configuring libraries for use in your applications
You can use SWC libraries in your projects in the following ways:
Merged into the application
When you add a SWC file to the project’s library path, the
components contained with the library are available to use in your application. When you
build the application, only the library components you’ve actually used are compiled into
the application SWF file. In other words, all your application code is merged into a single
SWF file. This is the most common and straightforward way of using library components.
External to the application You can choose to keep library components separate from the
compiled SWF file, so they are not merged into the file. The compiler resolves all code
contained in the library that’s used by the application, but does not merge it into
application SWF file. The advantage to this approach is that you make the application
SWF file smaller. The components contained in the SWC file are retrieved and loaded
into memory as needed, at run time.
Run-time shared library In Flex projects only, SWC files can also be used as a run-time
shared library (RSL), which is similar to a dynamically-linked library on other platforms.
You use SWC files as an RSL when you have a collection of components that are used by
more than one application.
About library projects
79
There are several advantages to sharing components between applications using an RSL.
First, the library is loaded into memory once, is cached, and is then available to all the
applications that use those components. Second, the components contained within the
library are only loaded when they are needed, which reduces the application’s start-up time
because the size of each application is smaller. The potential problem to this approach is
that the entire RSL is loaded into memory, rather than the individual components that the
applications use. For more information about when to use SWC files as an RSL, see
Chapter 10, “Using Runtime Shared Libraries” in Building and Deploying Flex 2
Applications.
The following topics explain how to create and use SWC libraries in Flex Builder:
■
“Creating Flex component library files” on page 80
■
“Using SWC files in your projects” on page 82
■
“Using SWC files in your projects” on page 82
Creating Flex component library files
When you create a library project, the New Flex Library Project wizard guides you through
the steps, prompting you for the project name, location, and build path information. After
you create the Library project, you add components, specify the library project elements to
include in the SWC file, and then build the project to generate the SWC file.
Create the Flex library project
The first step in creating a SWC file in Flex Builder is to create a Flex Library project.
To create a Flex library project:
1.
Select File > New > Flex Library Project.
The New Flex Library Project wizard appears.
2.
You are prompted to specify the following:
Project Name
is the name of your library project.
Project Location
is the location of your library project. The default location is the
workspace, which is by default: My Documents\Flex Builder 2\project_name (for example,
C:\Documents and Settings\Flex Developer\My Documents\Flex Builder 2\myLibrary).
You can choose a different project location by deselecting the Use Default Location
option.
On Macintosh, the default workspace location is /Users/Flex Developer/Flex Builder 2/
project_name.
3.
80
Click Next.
Working with Projects
4.
(Optional) Set the build path information. For example, you can add folders to the
project’s source path that contains the components that you want to include in the SWC
file. You can also add other projects, folder, or library SWC files that you want to include
in your library project. See “Using SWC files in your projects” on page 82.
5.
When you finish entering the project settings, click Finish.
Adding components to the library project
You add components to the library project in the following ways:
■
Add new or existing custom components, ActionScript classes, and other assets to the
project.
■
Link to existing components in other projects in the workspace. (See “Linking to
resources outside the project workspace” on page 70.)
■
Add a linked folder containing components to the library project’s source path. (See
“Deleting folders and files” on page 67.)
N OT E
All the components you want to include in the library project must be associated with the
library project (directly or as linked resources).
Selecting library project elements to include in the SWC file
The next step in creating a library SWC file is to select the elements (components and
resources) that you want to include in the SWC when it is built by the compiler.
To select library project elements to include in the SWC file:
1.
Select Project > Properties > Flex Library Build Path.
2.
The components that you’ve added to the project (either directly or by linking to them)
appear in the Classes tab. Select the component classes that you want to include in the
SWC file.
3.
(Optional) Select the Resources tab and then select resources that you want included in the
SWC file.
4.
After you’ve made your selections, click OK.
Building library projects
After you select elements to include in the SWC file, and if you have the Build Automatically
option selected, the SWC file is immediately compiled and generated into the project’s output
folder. If you build your projects manually, you can build the library project when you want.
About library projects
81
Building your library project generates a SWC file, which you can share with other
applications or users.
For more information, see the next section.
Using SWC files in your projects
To use SWC files in your Flex projects, you add them to the project’s library path. The SWC
files can be located within the project, within a Flex library project, in a shared folder within
the workspace, or any other location that has been linked to the project (using a shared folder
that was added to the project’s source path, for example).
When you use SWC files in applications, there are configuration options that determine
whether they are statically or dynamically linked to the application, merged into the
application SWF file or external to it and accessed separately at run time.
To add a SWC file to the library path:
1.
With a project selected in the Navigator view, select Project > Properties > Flex Build Path.
2.
Select the Library tab.
The core library (SWC) files, such as frameworks.swc and playerglobal.swc, appear.
3.
Select any of the three options you have for adding SWC files:
Add SWC
adds a compiled SWC file.
Add SWC Project
Add SWC Folder
adds a SWC library project.
allows you to add a folder containing SWC files.
4.
Enter or browse to and select the location of the SWC file, project, or folder.
5.
Click OK. The SWC file, library project, or folder is added to the library path.
To merge the SWC file into the application SWF file when compiled:
1.
With a project selected in the Navigator view, select Project > Properties > Flex Build Path.
2.
Select the Library tab, and then select and expand the SWC file entry to display the SWC
options.
3.
Double-click the Link Type option. The Library Path Items Options dialog box appears.
4.
Select the Merged into Code option, and click OK.
This procedure is the equivalent of using the library-path compiler option.
To set the SWC file as an external library file:
1.
82
With a project selected in the Navigator view, select Project > Properties > Flex Build Path.
Working with Projects
2.
Select the Library tab, and then select and expand the SWC file entry to display the SWC
options.
3.
Double-click the Link Type option. The Library Path Items Options dialog box appears.
4.
Select the External option, and click OK.
This procedure is the equivalent of using the external-library-path compiler option.
To use the SWC file as an RSL:
1.
With a project selected in the Navigator view, select Project > Properties > Flex Build Path.
2.
Select the Library tab, and then select and expand the SWC file entry to display the SWC
options.
3.
Double-click the Link Type option.
The Library Path Items Options dialog box appears.
4.
Select the Run-time Shared Library (RSL) option.
5.
Enter the URL where the SWC library will reside when the application is deployed.
6.
(Optional) If you want to extract the SWF file in the SWC file when it is placed in the
deploy location, select the Auto Extract SWF to RSL URL option.
7.
Click OK.
This procedure simplifies the process for creating RSLs manually. To do this, you extract the
SWF file from the SWC file and set the values of the runtime-shared-library and
external-library-path compiler options.
For more information about using SWC files as an RSL, see Chapter 10, “Using Runtime
Shared Libraries” in Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications.
Related topics
■
About library projects
■
Creating Flex component library files
About library projects
83
84
Working with Projects
CHAPTER 4
4
Navigating and Customizing
the Flex Builder Workbench
This topic shows you how to navigate and customize the Adobe Flex Builder 2 workbench. It
also shows you how to perform searches in the workbench, and how to work in Source and
Design modes. For an overview of the workbench, including an overview of perspectives,
editors, and views, see Chapter 2, “Flex Builder Workbench Basics,” on page 25.
The term workbench refers to the Flex Builder development environment. The workbench
contains three primary elements: perspectives, editors, and views. You use all three in various
combinations at various points in the application development process. The workbench is the
container for all the development tools you use to develop applications.
N OT E
You may find more in-depth information about some of the Eclipse workbench features
by referring to the Eclipse Workbench User’s Guide, at http://help.eclipse.org/help31/
index.jsp.
This topic contains the following sections:
Working with perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Working with editors and views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Customizing the workbench. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Searching in the workbench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Working in the editor’s Source and Design modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
Accessing keyboard shortcuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
Setting workbench preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
Working with perspectives
Perspectives include combinations of views and editors that are suited to performing a
particular set of tasks. For example, you normally open the Debug perspective to debug your
Flex application.
For an overview of perspectives, see “About Flex Builder perspectives” on page 30.
85
This section contains the following topics:
■
“Opening perspectives” on page 86
■
“Switching between perspectives” on page 86
■
“Setting the default perspective” on page 87
■
“Opening perspectives in a new window” on page 87
■
“Creating a customized perspective” on page 87
■
“Deleting a customized perspective” on page 88
■
“Resetting perspectives” on page 89
Opening perspectives
When you open a file that is associated with a particular perspective, Flex Builder
automatically opens that perspective. You can also open a perspective manually.
To open a perspective manually:
1.
Select Window > Perspective and choose either the Flex Debugging or Development
perspective or choose Other to access all other Eclipse perspectives. (In the plug-in
configuration of Flex Builder, you select Window > Open Perspective.)
You can also click Open Perspective in the upper-right corner of the workbench window.
2.
Select the perspective to open from the pop-up menu that appears.
To see a complete list of perspectives, select Other from the Open Perspective pop-up
menu.
When the perspective opens, the perspective title changes to display the name of the
perspective you selected. Additionally, an icon appears next to the title, allowing you to
quickly switch back and forth between perspectives in the same window. By default,
perspectives open in the same window. To open perspectives in a new window, edit
preferences. For more information, see “Opening perspectives in a new window” on page 87.
Switching between perspectives
When a perspective is open in Flex Builder, an icon for that perspective appears in the upperright corner of the main toolbar. The standalone configuration of Flex Builder contains two
perspectives: the Flex Development perspective and the Flex Debugging perspective. If you
are using the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder, you may have several other perspectives
available.
86
Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
To switch between perspectives:
■
Click the perspective icon in the toolbar.
Setting the default perspective
You can see what your default perspective is by selecting Window > Perspective > Other
(Window > Open Perspective > Other in the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder). The
default perspective is indicated by the word default in parentheses following the perspective
name.
To change the default perspective:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus button to expand the General category and select Perspectives.
3.
Under Available Perspectives, select the perspective to define as the default, and click Make
Default.
4.
Click OK.
Opening perspectives in a new window
You can change the default behavior for opening perspectives to open a perspective in a new
window.
To open perspectives in a new window:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus button to expand the General category and select Perspectives.
3.
Under Open a New Perspective, select In a New Window.
4.
To switch back to the default, select In the Same Window.
5.
Click OK.
Creating a customized perspective
You can change the editors and views that are visible in a given perspective to modify a
perspective’s layout. For example, you might want the Bookmarks view visible in one
perspective, and hidden in another perspective.
You can also configure several other aspects of a perspective, including the File > New
submenu, the Window > Open Perspective submenu, the Window > Show View submenu,
and action sets (buttons and menu options) that appear in the toolbar and in the main
menu items.
Working with perspectives
87
For more information about customizing the workbench in general, see “Customizing the
workbench” on page 95.
To modify a perspective’s layout:
1.
Open the perspective to modify.
2.
Show views and editors as desired.
For more information, see “Opening views” on page 90, and “Opening files for editing”
on page 93.
3.
Select Window > Perspective > Save Perspective As (Window > Save Perspective As in the
plug-in configuration of Flex Builder).
4.
In the Save Perspective As dialog box, enter a new name for the perspective and click OK.
To configure a perspective:
1.
Open the perspective to configure.
2.
Select Window > Perspective > Customize Perspective (Window > Customize Perspective
in the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder).
3.
Click the Shortcuts tab or the Commands tab, depending on the items you want to add to
your customized perspective.
4.
Use the check boxes to select which elements to see on menus and toolbars in the selected
perspective.
5.
Click OK.
6.
Select Window > Perspective > Save Perspective As (Window > Save Perspective As in the
plug-in configuration of Flex Builder).
7.
In the Save Perspective As dialog box, enter a new name for the perspective and click OK.
When you save a perspective, Flex Builder adds the name of the new perspective to the
Window > Perspective menu (Window > Open Perspective in the plug-in configuration of
Flex Builder).
Deleting a customized perspective
You can delete perspectives that you’ve previously defined yourself. You can’t delete a
perspective you didn’t create.
To delete a custom perspective:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus button to expand the General category and select Perspectives.
88
Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
3.
Under Available Perspectives, select the perspective to delete.
4.
Click Delete, and then click OK to close the Preferences dialog box.
Resetting perspectives
You can restore a perspective to its original layout after you’ve made changes to it.
To reset a perspective:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus button to expand the General category and select Perspectives.
3.
Under Available perspectives, select the perspective to reset.
4.
Click Reset, and then click OK to close the Preferences dialog box.
Working with editors and views
Most perspectives in the workbench are composed of an editor and one or more views. An
editor is a visual component in the workbench that is typically used to edit or browse a
resource. Views are also visual components in the workspace that support editors, provide
alternative presentations for selected items in the editor, and let you navigate the information
in the workbench.
For an overview of editors and views, see “Flex Builder basics” on page 25.
This section contains the following topics:
■
“Opening views” on page 90
■
“Moving and docking views” on page 90
■
“Rearranging tabbed views” on page 90
■
“Switching between views” on page 91
■
“Creating and working with fast views” on page 91
■
“Filtering the Tasks and Problems views” on page 92
■
“Creating working sets” on page 92
■
“Opening files for editing” on page 93
■
“Associating editors with file types” on page 93
■
“Editing files outside the workbench” on page 94
■
“Tiling editors” on page 94
■
“Maximizing a view or editor” on page 94
Working with editors and views
89
Opening views
Perspectives contain predefined combinations of views and editors. You can also open views
that the current perspective might not contain.
To open a view:
■
Select Window and choose a Flex Builder view or select Window > Other Views to choose
other Eclipse workbench views. (In the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder, select
Window > Show View.)
After you add a view to the current perspective, you might want to save that view as part of
the perspective. For more information, see “Creating a customized perspective” on page 87.
You can also create fast views to provide quick access to views that you use often. For more
information, see “Creating and working with fast views” on page 91.
Moving and docking views
You can move views to different locations in the workbench, docking them or undocking
them as needed.
To change the location of a view:
1.
Drag the view by its title bar to the desired location.
As you move the view around the workbench, the mouse pointer changes to a drop cursor.
The drop cursor indicates where you’ll dock the view when you release the mouse button.
TIP
You can drag a group of stacked views by dragging from the empty space to the right
of the view tabs.
You can also move a view by using the view’s context menu. Right-click (Control-click on
Macintosh) on the view’s tab, select Move > View, move the view to the desired location,
and click the mouse button again.
2.
(Optional) Save your changes by selecting Window > Perspectives > Save Perspective As
(Window > Save Perspective As in the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder).
Rearranging tabbed views
In addition to docking views at different locations in the workbench, you can rearrange the
order of views in a tabbed group of views.
90
Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
To rearrange tabbed views
■
Click the tab of the view to move, drag the view to the desired location, and release the
mouse button. A stack symbol appears as you drag the view across other view tabs.
Switching between views
You can switch between views to work in a different view.
To switch between views:
■
Click the tab of the view to switch to.
You can also press Control+F7 (Command+F7 on Macintosh), use the F7 key to select the
view to switch to, and then release the Control key.
Creating and working with fast views
Fast views are hidden views that you can quickly open and close. They work like other views,
but do not take up space in the workbench while you work.
Whenever you click the fast view icon in the shortcut bar, the view opens. Whenever you click
anywhere outside the fast view (or click Minimize in the fast view’s toolbar), the view becomes
hidden again.
N OT E
If you convert the Navigator view to a fast view, and then open a file from the Navigator
fast view, the fast view automatically is hidden to allow you to work with that file.
To create a fast view:
■
Drag the view you want to turn into a fast view to the shortcut bar located in the lowerleft corner of the workbench window.
The icon for the view that you dragged appears on the shortcut bar. You can open the view
by clicking its icon on the shortcut bar. As soon as you click outside the view, the view is
hidden again.
To restore a fast view to normal view:
1.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the view’s tab to open the view’s context menu.
2.
Deselect Fast View.
TIP
You can also follow these steps to create fast views.
Working with editors and views
91
Filtering the Tasks and Problems views
You can filter the tasks or problems that are displayed in the Tasks or Problems views. For
example, you might want to see only problems that the workbench has logged, or tasks that
you logged as reminders to yourself. You can filter items according to which resource or group
of resources they are associated with, by text string in the Description field, by problem
severity, by task priority, or by task status.
For more information see “The Tasks view” on page 41 and “The Problems view” on page 33.
To filter the Tasks or Problems views:
1.
In the toolbar of the Tasks or Problems view, click Filter.
2.
Complete the Filters dialog box and click OK.
Creating working sets
If your workspace contains many projects, you can create a working set to group selected
projects together. You can then view separate working sets in the Navigator and Task views
and also search working sets rather than searching everything in the workspace.
To create a working set:
1.
In the Navigator view, open the toolbar menu and select Select Working Set. The Select
Working Set dialog box appears:
2.
Select New and the New Working Set dialog box appears. Flex Builder provides two set
types: breakpoints (used in debugging) and resources.
3.
Select the resources type and click Next.
4.
Enter the working set name and then choose the projects in the workspace that you want
to include in the working set.
5.
When you’re done selecting projects, click Finish.
The working set is immediately applied to the Navigator view and only those projects and
resources contained in the set are displayed.
92
Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
To display all projects in the workspace:
■
In the Navigator view, open the toolbar menu and choose Deselect Working Set.
Opening files for editing
When you open a file, you launch an editor so that you can edit the file.
To open a file for editing:
■
Do one of the following:
■
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the file in one of the navigation views and
select Open from the context menu.
■
Double-click the file in one of the navigation views.
■
Double-click the bookmark associated with the file in the Bookmarks view.
■
Double-click an error warning or task record associated with the file in the Problems
view.
This opens the file with the default editor for that particular type of file. To open the file in a
different editor, right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the file, select Open With from the
context menu, and select the editor to use.
Associating editors with file types
You can associate editors with various file types in the workbench.
To associate editors with file types:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus button to expand the General category.
3.
Click the plus button to expand the Editors category, and then select File Associations.
4.
Select a file type from the File Types list.
To add a file type to the list, click Add, enter the new file type in the New File Type dialog
box, and then click OK.
5.
In the Associated Editors list, select the editor to associate with that file type.
To add an internal or external editor to the list, click Add and complete the dialog box.
6.
Click OK.
TIP
You can override the default editor preferences by right-clicking (Control-clicking on
Macintosh) any resource in one of the navigation views and selecting Open With
from the context menu.
Working with editors and views
93
Editing files outside the workbench
You can edit an MXML or ActionScript file in an external editor and then use it in Flex
Builder. The workbench performs any necessary build or update operations to process the
changes that you made to the file outside the workbench.
To refresh an MXML or ActionScript file edited outside the workbench:
1.
Edit the MXML or ActionScript file in the external editor of your choice.
2.
Save and close the file.
3.
Start Flex Builder.
4.
In the workbench, right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the file you edited in one of
the navigation views and select Refresh from the context menu.
TI P
If you work with external editors regularly, you might want to enable auto-refresh. To
do this, select Window > Preferences, expand the General category, select
Workspace, and check Refresh Automatically. When you enable this option, the
workbench records any external changes to the file. The speed with which this
happens depends on your platform.
Tiling editors
The workbench lets you open multiple files in multiple editors. But unlike views, editors
cannot be dragged outside the workbench to create new windows. You can, however, tile
editors in the editor area, so that you can view source files side by side.
To tile editors:
1.
Open two or more files in the editor area.
2.
Select one of the editor tabs.
3.
Drag the editor over the left, right, upper, or lower border of the editor area.
The mouse pointer changes to a drop cursor, indicating where the editor will appear when
you release the mouse button.
4.
(Optional) Drag the borders of the editor area or each editor, to resize the editors as desired.
Maximizing a view or editor
You can temporarily maximize a view or editor so that it fills the workbench window.
To maximize a view or editor:
■
94
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the view or editor’s title bar and select
Maximize.
Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
To restore a view or editor to its previous position and size:
■
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the view or editor’s title bar and select Restore.
TIP
You can also maximize or restore a view or editor by double-clicking the title bar, or
by clicking the Maximize/Restore icons in the upper-right corner.
Switching the workspace
You can work in only one workspace at a time. When you install and run Flex Builder for the
first time, you are prompted to create a workspace, which becomes the default workspace. You
can create other workspaces and switch among them by either selecting the workspace when
you start Flex Builder or by selecting File > Switch Workspace.
Customizing the workbench
You can customize the workbench to suit your individual development needs. For example,
you can customize how items appear in the main toolbar, create keyboard shortcuts, or alter
the fonts and colors of the user interface.
This section contains the following topics:
■
“Rearranging the main toolbar” on page 95
■
“Changing keyboard shortcuts” on page 96
■
“Changing fonts and colors” on page 96
■
“Changing the placement of tabs” on page 98
■
“Controlling single- and double-click behavior” on page 99
Rearranging the main toolbar
Flex Builder lets you rearrange sections of the main toolbar. Sections of the main toolbar are
divided by a space.
To rearrange sections of the main toolbar:
1.
Ensure that the toolbar is unlocked by right-clicking (Control-clicking on Macintosh) the
toolbar and deselecting Lock the Toolbars.
2.
Move the mouse pointer over the thick vertical line that is on the left side of the toolbar
section you want to rearrange.
3.
Click and hold the left mouse button (mouse button on Macintosh) to grab the toolbar
section.
Customizing the workbench
95
4.
Move the section left, right, up, or down, and release the mouse button to place the section
in the new location.
T IP
To prevent accidental changes, lock the toolbar again by right-clicking (Controlclicking on Macintosh) the toolbar and selecting Lock the Toolbars.
Changing keyboard shortcuts
To customize keyboard shortcuts:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus sign to expand the General category, and select Keys.
3.
In the View screen of the Keys dialog box, select the command for which to customize a
keyboard shortcut, and then click Edit.
4.
On the Modify tab, make your changes and click OK.
Changing fonts and colors
By default, the workbench uses the fonts and colors that your computer’s operating system
provides. However, you can customize fonts and colors in a number of ways.
This section contains the following topics:
■
“About changing fonts” on page 96
■
“Changing fonts” on page 97
■
“Changing colors” on page 98
About changing fonts
The workbench lets you configure the following fonts:
Banner font
is the font that appears in the title area of many wizards. For example, the
New Project wizard uses the Banner font for the top title.
Dialog font
is the font that appears in widgets and dialog boxes.
Header font
Text font
is the font that appears as a section heading.
is the font that appears in text editors.
CVS Console font
is the font that displays resources that CVS ignores.
Outgoing Change font
is the font that displays outgoing changes in CVS.
Console font
96
is the font that appears in the CVS console.
Ignored Resource font
(defaults to text font) is the font that appears in the debug console.
Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
Detail Pane Text font
(defaults to text font) is the font that appears in the detail panes of
debug views.
Memory View Table font (defaults to text font) is the font that appears in the table of the
memory view.
Java Editor Text font
(defaults to text font) is the font that appears in Java editors.
Properties File Editor Text font
(defaults to text font) is the font that appears in
Properties File editors.
Compare Text font
(defaults to text font) is the font that appears in textual compare or
merge tools.
Java Compare Text font (defaults to text font) is the font that appears in Java compare or
merge tools.
Java Properties File Compare Text font
(defaults to properties file editor text font) is
the font that appears in Java properties file compare or merge tools.
Part Title font
(defaults to properties file editor text font) is the font that appears in view
and editor titles.
N OT E
Don’t use bold or italic for the Part Title font, because the workbench uses bold and
italic versions of this font to display progress.
View Message font (defaults to properties file editor text font) is the font that displays
messages in the view title bar (if present).
Plug-ins that use other fonts might also provide preferences that allow for customizing. For
example, the Java Development Tools plug-in provides a preference for controlling the font
that the Java editor uses (Window> Preferences > General > Appearance > Colors and Fonts >
Java > Java Editor Text Font).
The operating system always displays some text in the system font (for example, the font
displayed in the Navigator view tree). To change the font for these areas, you must use the
configuration tools that the operating system provides (for example, the Display Properties
control panel in Windows).
Changing fonts
To change fonts:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus button to expand the General category, click the plus button to expand the
Appearance category, and select Colors and Fonts.
Customizing the workbench
97
3.
Expand the Basic, CVS, Debug, Text Compare, or View and Editor Folders categories to
locate and select the font to change.
4.
Click Change.
NO TE
5.
You can also click Use System Font instead of Change to set the font to a
reasonable value that the operating system chooses. For example, in Windows,
selecting this option causes Flex Builder to use the font selected in the Windows
Display Properties control panel.
Set font preferences as desired.
Changing colors
The workbench uses colors to distinguish different elements, such as error text and hyperlink
text.
To change colors:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus button to expand the General category, click the plus button to expand the
Appearance category, and select Colors and Fonts.
3.
Expand the Basic, CVS, Debug, Text Compare, or View and Editor Folders categories to
locate and select the color to change.
4.
Click the color bar to the right to open the color picker.
5.
Select a new color.
In general, the workbench uses the same colors that the operating system uses. To change
these colors, you can also use the configuration tools that the system provides (for example,
the Display Properties control panel in Windows).
Changing the placement of tabs
Flex Builder lets you change the placement of view and editor tabs. Tabs for open views and
editors can appear at the upper or lower edge of the corresponding view or editor.
To change the placement of tabs:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Click the plus button to expand the General category and select Appearance.
3.
Complete the dialog box and click OK.
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Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
Controlling single- and double-click behavior
You can control how the workbench responds to single and double clicks.
To control click behavior:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Select the General category.
3.
Complete the dialog box and click OK.
Searching in the workbench
Flex Builder provides a search tool that lets you quickly locate resources. This section provides
an overview of how to use search in the workbench. For more information about searching for
text in a particular file, see “Finding and replacing text in the editor” on page 178.
This section contains the following topics:
■
“Searching for files” on page 99
■
“Using the Search view” on page 100
Searching for files
Flex Builder lets you conduct complex searches for files. For example, you can search for all
files that contain a particular set of characters, or files that end with .xml.
To search for files:
1.
Do one of the following
■
Click the Search button on the main toolbar.
■
Select Search > File.
2.
In the Containing Text text box, type the text to search for.
For example, to search for a file called revenue2006.html, you might type revenue.
3.
Select Case Sensitive to perform a case sensitive search.
4.
Select Regular Expression to enable searches that include regular expressions as part of the
search parameter.
You can use the following wildcards:
■
* matches any set of characters, including the empty string
■
? matches for any character
■
\ is the escape for a literal
Searching in the workbench
99
If you want to search for an asterisk, question mark, or backslash character, type a
backslash before the character to indicate that you are not using the character as a
wildcard (for example, \?).
■
5.
In the File Name Patterns text box, enter the file type to locate (for example *.txt).
You can click Choose for quick access to a list of registered extensions.
6.
Under Scope, select a scope for your search.
You can elect to search the entire workspace, previously selected resources, projects
enclosing the selected resources, or predefined working sets.
7.
Click Search.
The Search view appears and lists the results of your search. You can cancel the search
while it’s in progress by clicking Cancel.
N OT E
Click Customize to define what kinds of search tabs are available in the dialog box.
Using the Search view
The Search view displays the results of your search.
To open a file from the list:
■
Double-click the file.
To remove a file from the list:
■
Select the file to remove and click Remove Selected Matches.
To remove all files from the list:
■
Click Remove All Matches.
To navigate between matched files:
■
Click Show Next Match or Show Previous Match.
To view previous searches:
■
Click the down arrow next to Show Previous Searches and select a search from the pulldown list.
To return to the Search view after closing it:
1.
Select Window > Other Views > Basic. (Window > Show View > Other in the plug-in
configuration of Flex Builder.)
2.
Expand the Basic category, select Search, and click OK.
100
Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
Working in the editor’s Source and
Design modes
The MXML editor in Flex Builder lets you work in either Source or Design mode. You can
also use Flex Builder to create a split view so that you can work in both Source and Design
modes simultaneously.
To view your file in Design mode:
■
Click Design at the top of the editor area.
To view your file in Source mode:
■
Click Source at the top of the editor area.
To work in both Source and Design modes simultaneously:
1.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the editor’s tab and select New Editor.
You now have two editor tabs for the same file.
2.
Drag one of the tabs to the right to position the editor windows side-by-side.
3.
Set one of the editors to Design mode, and set the other editor to Source mode.
To switch between the Source and Design modes:
■
Press Control+’ (Command+’ on Macintosh).
Accessing keyboard shortcuts
The keyboard shortcuts available to you while working in Flex Builder depend on many
factors, including the selected view or editor, whether or not a dialog is open, installed plugins, and your operating system. You can obtain a list of available keyboard shortcuts at any
time using Key Assist.
To obtain a list of available keyboard shortcuts:
■
Select Help > Key Assist
Setting workbench preferences
You can set preferences for many aspects of the workbench. For example, you can specify that
Flex Builder should prompt you for the workspace you want to use at startup, you can select
which editor to use when opening certain types of resources, and you can set various options
for running and debugging your Flex applications.
Setting workbench preferences
101
Your Flex Builder preferences apply to the current workspace only. You can, however, export
your workbench preferences and then import them into another workspace. This may be
helpful if you are using multiple workspaces yourself, or if you want to share your workbench
preferences with other members of your development team.
You can also set preferences for individual projects within a workspace. For example, you can
set separate compiler or debugging options for each of your Flex projects. For more
information, see “Setting project properties” in Help.
To set Flex Builder workbench preferences:
1.
Select Window > Preferences.
2.
Select any of the categories of workbench preferences and modify them as needed.
3.
Click OK to save your changes.
For more information about setting Flex Builder preferences, including detailed information
about the various Preferences dialog boxes, see “Setting running and debugging preferences”
in Help.
102
Navigating and Customizing the Flex Builder Workbench
PART 3
Developing a Flex
Application User Interface
3
This part describes how to build a Flex user interface in Flex Builder and
includes the use of view states, transitions, behaviors, and custom
components.
The following chapters are included:
Chapter 5: Building a Flex User Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Chapter 6: Adding View States and Transitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Chapter 7: Adding Interactivity with Behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Chapter 8: Creating Custom MXML Components . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
103
5
CHAPTER 5
Building a Flex User Interface
You can use Adobe Flex Builder to build the user interface of a Flex application rapidly. The
building blocks of user interfaces are MXML containers and controls. A control is a userinterface component such as a Button, TextArea, and ComboBox control. A container is a
rectangular region of the Flash Player drawing surface that you use to organize and lay out
controls, other containers, and custom components.
For more information about components, see Chapter 6, “Using Flex Visual Components” in
Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
This topic contains the following sections:
About the structure of Flex user interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Adding components. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Working with components visually . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112
Laying out your user interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Adding navigator containers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Adding data provider controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Adding charting components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
105
About the structure of Flex user
interfaces
The Adobe Flex framework is a component-based system for building rich Internet
applications. A Flex application typically consists of an MXML application file (a file with an
<mx:Application> parent tag), and one or more components defined in separate MXML
files, ActionScript files, or Flash component files (SWC files).
Flex gives you several options for structuring your user interface. You can insert containers
and controls directly in the MXML application file, or you can insert them in separate
MXML files to create custom components, and then insert the custom components in the
application file.
TIP
Generally, it's best to structure the main portions of your application inside Panel
containers. Most of the Flex controls were not designed to be used directly on the dark
application background.
The following example shows a simple structure for a Flex application. The containers and
controls are inserted directly into the MXML application file.
106
Building a Flex User Interface
The following example shows a component-based structure for a Flex application. You group
the controls of the user-interface elements in separate custom component files, which you
then insert into the MXML application file.
A component-based structure is useful when your user interface consists of distinct functional
elements. For example, your layout could have an element that retrieves and displays a
product catalog, another element that retrieves and displays details about any product that the
user clicks in the catalog, and an element that lets the user add the selected product to a
shopping cart. This user interface could be structured as three custom components, as in the
previous example, or as a mixture of custom components and controls inserted directly into
the layout.
Related topics
Chapter 8, “Creating Custom MXML Components,” on page 155
■
■
Chapter 7, “Creating Simple MXML Components” in Creating and Extending Flex 2
Components
About the structure of Flex user interfaces
107
Adding components
You can use Flex Builder to add, size, position, edit, or delete Flex components, as well as
custom components defined in separate MXML and ActionScript files.
This section contains the following topics:
■
“Adding components visually” on page 108
■
“Adding components by writing code” on page 110
■
“Adding Flash components (SWC files)” on page 111
Related topics
■
“Adding navigator containers” on page 132
■
“Adding data provider controls” on page 136
■
“Working with components visually” on page 112
Adding components visually
You can use Flex Builder to add standard Flex containers and controls to your user interface
visually. You can also add custom components that you define in separate MXML and
ActionScript files and save in the current project or in the source path of the current project.
To add components visually:
1.
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, open the MXML file in which you want to insert the
component.
An MXML file must be open in Design mode to use the Components view. The MXML
file can be the main application file (a file with an Application container) or a custom
MXML component file.
2.
108
In the Components view, locate the component that you want to add.
Building a Flex User Interface
If the Components view is not open, select Window > Components.
The components are organized by categories in the view.
The Custom category in the view lists all the custom components that you define in
separate MXML and ActionScript files and save in the current project or in the source
path of the current project. For example, if you create a component file called
EmployeeView.mxml and save it in your project, the EmployeeView component appears
in the Custom category. For more information, see Chapter 8, “Creating Custom MXML
Components,” on page 155.
N O TE
3.
The Components view lists only visible custom components (components that inherit
from the UIComponent class). For more information, see Adobe Flex 2 Language
Reference in Help.
Drag a component from the Components view into the MXML file.
The component is positioned in the layout according to the layout rule of the parent
container.
The default layout rule of an Application, Panel, or TitleWindow container can be
overridden by specifying a layout="absolute" property. You can then drag and position
the component anywhere in the container. If you create an application or a Panel or
TitleWindow component file with Flex Builder, the layout="absolute" property is
included by default.
Adding components
109
To add components in complex layouts:
1.
Drag a component over the area in the layout where you want to insert it, and then press
the Control key.
Flex Builder highlights the current target container.
2.
Drop the component into the highlighted container, or hover over a different area and
press the Control key again to see the target container.
Related topics
■
“Adding Flash components (SWC files)” on page 111
■
“Working with components visually” on page 112
Adding components by writing code
You can use code hinting to add standard Flex containers and controls to your user interface.
In Flex Builder as in Eclipse, code hinting is called Content Assist.
To add components using Content Assist:
1.
Open an MXML file in the MXML editor’s Source mode.
The MXML file can be the main application file (a file with an Application container) or
a custom MXML component file.
2.
Place the insertion point in the parent container tag.
For example, to insert a VBox container inside an HBox parent container, place the
insertion point after the opening <mx:HBox> tag:
<mx:HBox>
insertion point here
</mx:HBox>
3.
Start typing the component tag.
As you type, a pop-up menu appears suggesting possible entries.
4.
110
If necessary, use the arrow keys to select your tag from the menu, and then press Enter.
Building a Flex User Interface
In addition to the standard Flex components, the pop-up menu lists all the custom
components that you defined in separate MXML and ActionScript files and saved in the
current project or in the source path of the current project. For more information, see
Chapter 8, “Creating Custom MXML Components,” on page 155.
Related topics
“Using Content Assist” on page 169
■
■
“Adding components visually” on page 108
Adding Flash components (SWC files)
You can add Flash components (SWC files) to your user interface either visually or by writing
code.
N OT E
You can use SWC files created in Flash 8 only for skinning, not as components. Until the
next version of Flash is released, you can only use SWC files created in Flex 2 as
components.
To add a Flash component:
1.
Ensure that the Flash component is saved in the library path of the current project.
The library path specifies the location of one or more SWC files that the application links
to at compile time. The path is defined in the Flex compiler settings for the project. To set
or learn the library path, select the project in the Navigator view and then select Project >
Properties. In the Properties dialog box, select the Flex Build Path category, and then click
the Library Path tab. For more information, see “Building projects manually”
on page 195.
The library path can also be defined in the flex-config.xml configuration file in Adobe
Flex Data Services.
2.
Open an MXML file and add a Flash component in one of the following ways:
■
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, expand the Custom category of the Components
view and drag the Flash component into the MXML file. For documents that are
already open, click the Refresh button (the green circling arrows icon) to display the
component after you insert it.
■
In Source mode, begin typing the component tag and then use Content Assist to
quickly complete the tag.
Related topics
■
“About SWC files” in Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications
Adding components
111
Working with components visually
Flex Builder lets you work with components visually in the MXML editor so that you can see
what your application looks like as you build it. The MXML editor has two modes: Source
mode for writing code, and Design mode for developing applications visually.
This section contains the following topics:
■
“Using the MXML editor in Design mode” on page 112
■
“Selecting multiple components in an MXML file”
■
“Positioning components” on page 114
■
“Positioning components” on page 114
■
“Using snapping to position components” on page 116
■
“Aligning components” on page 117
■
“Nudging components” on page 118
■
“Setting component properties” on page 119
■
“Applying CSS styles to components” on page 121
■
“Refreshing Design mode to render properly” on page 124
■
“Showing surrounding containers” on page 124
■
“Inspecting the structure of your MXML” on page 125
■
“Hiding container borders” on page 126
■
“Copying components to other MXML files” on page 126
■
“Deleting components” on page 126
Related topics
■
“Adding navigator containers” on page 132
■
“Laying out your user interface” on page 127
■
“Working in the editor’s Source and Design modes” on page 101
Using the MXML editor in Design mode
The MXML editor has two modes: Source mode for writing code, and Design mode for
developing applications visually.
You can set the size of the design area in Design mode. Setting the design area size lets you
preview how the layout of your application or component will look at different sizes.
112
Building a Flex User Interface
To view an MXML file in Design mode:
1.
If the MXML file is not already open in the MXML editor, double-click the file in the
Navigator view to open it.
2.
If the MXML editor displays source code, click Design at the top of the editor area.
You can quickly switch between modes by pressing Control+’ (Command+’ on
Macintosh).
Switching between Source and Design modes automatically shows or hides design-related
views like the Components, Properties, and States views. You can turn this behavior on
and off by selecting Window > Preferences, navigating the Flex > Editors > MXML Editor
branch in the Preferences tree control, and then toggling the Automatically Show Designrelated Views option.
To set the size of the design area:
■
Select a size from the Design Area pop-up menu on the editor’s toolbar.
If the size of your layout is larger than the editor window, the editor displays scrollbars to
preserve the layout at the set size.
If you select Fit to Window, the editor doesn’t display scrollbars. Instead, it adjusts the
layout (if possible) to fit the window size.
If you specify a size for the Application container, the size overrides the View As settings
for that dimension.
Selecting multiple components in an MXML file
You can select more than one component in an MXML file. This can be useful if you want to
set a common value for a shared property.
To select multiple components in the MXML editor’s Design mode:
■
Do one of the following:
■
Control-click (Command-click on Macintosh) each component in the layout.
■
Click the page background and draw a box that overlaps the components.
■
In Outline view (Window > Outline), Control-click (Command-click on Macintosh)
the components in the tree control.
Working with components visually
113
To deselect multiple components:
■
Do one of the following:
■
Click the background container.
■
Click an unselected component.
■
Click in the gray margin around the root component.
Related topics
■
“Showing surrounding containers” on page 124
Positioning components
You can change the position of components visually depending on the layout rules of the
parent container. The properties of the parent container can also affect the position of child
components.
You can also dynamically position components by using a constraint-based layout. For more
information, see “Setting layout constraints for components” on page 130.
To change the position of a component, do one of the following:
■
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, select the component in the layout and drag it to a
new position.
The component is positioned in the layout according the layout rules of the parent
container. For example, if you move a VBox container in an HBox container, the VBox
container is positioned into the horizontal arrangement with the other child containers (if
any).
If the container has absolute positioning, you can drag and position components
anywhere in the container. A container has absolute positioning if it’s a Canvas container
or if it’s an Application, Panel, or TitleWindow container with a layout property set to
absolute. The layout="absolute" property overrides the container’s default layout rule.
For more information, see Chapter 15, “Using Layout Containers” in Flex 2 Developer’s
Guide.
■
In Design mode, select the component’s parent container and edit the component’s layout
properties in the Flex Properties view.
In some cases, you can change the position of child components by changing the
properties of the parent container. For example, you can use the verticalGap and
horizontalGap properties of a Tile container to set the spacing between child
components, and the direction property to specify either a row or column layout.
114
Building a Flex User Interface
Related topics
■
“Using snapping to position components” on page 116
■
“Aligning components” on page 117
■
“Nudging components” on page 118
Sizing components
You can change the size of a component in an MXML file visually with your mouse, by
selecting menu options, or by editing its properties in the Flex Properties view.
You can also dynamically size components by using a constraint-based layout, where you
anchor one or more sides of a component to the edges of the component's container. For
more information, see “About constraint-based layouts” on page 127.
To size a component visually:
■
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, click one of the resize handles on the component
and drag the handle to resize the component.
To constrain the proportions of the component, hold down the Shift key while dragging.
As you resize, snap lines appear to line up the edges of the component with nearby
components. To turn off this behavior, select Design > Enable Snapping from the menu.
To make two or more components the same width or height:
1.
In Design mode, select two or more components.
For more information, see “Selecting multiple components in an MXML file”
on page 113.
2.
In the Design menu, select one of the following sizing options:
Make Same Width sets the width property for all selected components to that of the
component you selected first.
Make Same Height
sets the height property for all selected components to that of the
component you selected first.
If all selected components are in the same container, and the first component you select
has a percent width or height specified, all items are set to that percent width or height.
Otherwise, all components are set to the same pixel width or height.
Working with components visually
115
To size a component by editing its properties:
1.
Select the component in the Design mode.
You can Control-click more than one component to set their sizes simultaneously.
2.
In the Flex Properties view (Window > Flex Properties), set the height or width property
of the selected component or components.
The Flex Properties view provides three views for inspecting a component’s properties: a
standard form view, a categorized table view, and an alphabetical table view. You can
switch between them by clicking the view buttons in the toolbar.
NO TE
3.
The Flex Properties view appears only when the MXML editor is in Design mode.
Press Tab or Enter, or click outside the view to apply your last change.
Related topics
“Positioning components” on page 114
■
■
“Setting component properties” on page 119
Using snapping to position components
When you drag a component visually in a container that has absolute positioning, the
component may snap into place depending on where you drop it relative to existing
components. The components can line up vertically or horizontally.
NO T E
A container has absolute positioning if it’s a Canvas container or if it has a layout
property set to absolute. The layout="absolute" property can only be used with the
Application, Panel, and TitleWindow containers. It overrides the container’s layout rule
and allows you to drag and position components anywhere in the container.
You can disable snapping for one component or for all components.
To disable snapping:
■
116
With the MXML file open in the MXML editor’s Design mode, select Design > Enable
Snapping.
Building a Flex User Interface
To enable or disable snapping as a preference:
1.
Open the Preferences dialog box by selecting Window > Preferences.
2.
Open the MXML editor preferences by selecting Flex > Editors > MXML Editor in the
sidebar of the dialog box.
3.
Select or deselect the Enable Snapping option in the preferences.
Related topics
■
“Positioning components” on page 114
■
“Nudging components” on page 118
Aligning components
You can visually align components relative to each other in a container that has absolute
positioning.
N OT E
A container has absolute positioning if it’s a Canvas container or if it has a layout
property set to absolute. The layout="absolute" property overrides the container’s layout
rule and allows you to drag and position components anywhere in the container.
You can also center components in a container by using a constraint-based layout. For more
information, see “Setting layout constraints for components” on page 130.
To align components in a container that has absolute positioning:
1.
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, select two or more components in the container.
For more information, see “Selecting multiple components in an MXML file”
on page 113.
2.
Select one of the following alignment options from the Design menu:
Align Left positions all selected components so that their left edges align with that of the
first component you selected.
Working with components visually
117
Align Vertical Centers
positions all selected components so that their vertical centerlines
are aligned with the vertical centerline of the first component you selected.
Align Right positions all selected components so that their right edges align with that of
the first component you selected.
Align Top
positions all selected objects so that their top edges align with that of the first
component you selected.
Align Horizontal Centers positions all selected components so their horizontal centerlines
are aligned with the horizontal centerline of the first component you selected.
Align Bottom
positions all selected components such that their bottom edges align with
that of the first component you selected.
Align Baselines positions all selected components so that their horizontal text baselines
are aligned with that of the first component you selected. For components that have no
text baseline (such as HBox), the bottom edge is considered the baseline.
For objects with no layout constraints, Flex Builder adjusts the x property to change the
vertical alignment, and adjusts the y property to change the horizontal alignment.
For objects with layout constraints, Flex Builder adjusts the left and right constraints to
change the vertical alignment, and adjusts the top and bottom constraints to change the
horizontal alignment. Only existing constraints are modified; no new constraints are
added.
For example, suppose component A has a left constraint and no right constraint, and
component B has both a left and right constraint. If you select component A and B and
then select Design > Align Vertical Centers, Flex Builder adjusts the left constraint of
object A and both the left and right constraints of object B to align them. The unspecified
right constraint of object A remains unspecified.
Related topics
■
“Positioning components” on page 114
Nudging components
You can fine-tune the position of components in a container that has absolute positioning by
nudging the components one pixel or ten pixels at a time in any direction with the arrow keys.
This feature is not available on Macintosh.
N OT E
118
A container has absolute positioning if it’s a Canvas container or if it has a layout
property set to absolute. The layout="absolute" property can only be used with the
Application, Panel, and TitleWindow containers. It overrides the container’s layout rule
and allows you to drag and position components anywhere in the container.
Building a Flex User Interface
To nudge components by one pixel:
■
Select one or more components in the MXML editor’s Design mode and press an arrow
key.
To nudge components by ten pixels:
■
Select one or more components in Design mode and press an arrow key while holding
down the Shift key.
TIP
Holding down the arrow key continues to move the component.
Setting component properties
You can visually set the properties of components, including custom MXML components.
To edit the text displayed by a component:
■
To edit text displayed by a component like a Label or TextInput control, double-click the
component and make your edits.
Working with components visually
119
To set other properties of a component:
■
120
In Design mode, select the component and set its properties in the Flex Properties view
(Window > Flex Properties).
Building a Flex User Interface
You can also set the properties in a categorized or alphabetical table view by clicking the
view buttons in the toolbar:
N OT E
To apply your last edit, press Enter or Tab, or click outside the view.
Applying CSS styles to components
You can use CSS styles to define, maintain, and easily modify the general appearance of
components. CSS styles in Flex can be defined at the site level with external styles, at the
document level with embedded styles, or at the component level with inline styles. For more
information, see Chapter 18, “Using Styles and Themes” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
You can use Flex Builder to visually apply inline styles to a component. An example of an
inline style is <mx:Button color="red"...>. The color property in this Button tag applies
only to this specific Button instance.
To apply an inline style to a component:
1.
Click the component in the MXML editor’s Design mode to select it.
2.
Enter the style property values in the Flex Properties view.
Working with components visually
121
In the Flex Properties view, you can set the styles in the Standard, Category, or
Alphabetical view of properties. The Standard view provides a form to set common styles
for the selected component.
122
Building a Flex User Interface
In the Category view, the Styles category lists all the styles that can be applied to the
selected component.
NO TE
Multiword style names in Flex appear slightly different than their HTML counterparts,
but they’re the same styles. For example, fontFamily in Flex is the same style as fontfamily in HTML.
To apply an external or embedded style to a component:
1.
Make sure you import the external style sheet or embed styles in your MXML file.
For example, the following expression imports an external style sheet called styles.css:
<mx:Style source="styles.css"/>
The following expression embeds two styles in the MXML file:
<mx:Style>
.myclass { color: Red } /* class selector */
Button { fontSize: 10pt; color: Yellow } /* type selector */
</mx:Style>
2.
Click the component in the MXML editor’s Design mode to select it.
Working with components visually
123
3.
Apply the desired style by selecting it from the Style pop-up menu in the Flex Properties
view.
The Style pop-up menu lists the styles defined in the external style sheet or embedded in
the current file.
Refreshing Design mode to render properly
If necessary, you can refresh the MXML editor’s Design mode to render your layout properly.
The rendering of your layout can become out of date in certain situations. This can happen,
for example, if you modify a visual element in a dependent Flash component (SWC). Styles
and skins may also not be rendered properly because Flex Builder needs to rebuild the file.
To refresh Design mode to render your layout properly:
■
Click the Refresh button in the editor toolbar.
Showing surrounding containers
You can show surrounding containers in the MXML editor’s Design mode to better visualize
the containers in your layout, as well as to more easily insert or select containers in complex
layouts.
To show surrounding containers:
1.
Select a container in the layout.
If it’s too difficult to select a container, select a control inside it instead.
2.
Press the F4 key.
If you selected a control, select the parent container now. It should be easy to see.
124
Building a Flex User Interface
Semitransparent overlays appear showing all the containers around the selected container,
expanded outward slightly so there's room to insert more components into them.
Overlays also appear showing all the children containers.
When you select the Panel container and press F4 in the following example, Flex Builder
displays overlays for the panel’s parent container (Canvas) and child component (HBox).
The overlays change if you select another container.
To show a container’s parents and immediate children:
■
With surrounding containers turned on, click the container.
To move a container into another container:
■
Drag the container overlay over another container, wait for the target container to become
highlighted, and then drop the container.
To dismiss the surrounding containers:
■
Press the F4 key again.
Related topics
■
“Selecting multiple components in an MXML file” on page 113
■
“Hiding container borders” on page 126
Inspecting the structure of your MXML
You can use Outline view (Window > Outline) in Design mode to inspect the structure of
your design and to select one or more components. When you have multiple view states,
Outline view shows you the structure of the current view state.
Working with components visually
125
To view the structure of the MXML:
■
With the MXML file open in Design mode, select Outline view.
To select components in the structure:
■
In Outline view, click to select a single component or Control-click (Command-click on
Macintosh) to select multiple components.
Hiding container borders
By default, Flex Builder shows the borders of containers in the MXML editor’s Design mode.
If you want, you can hide these borders.
To hide the borders around containers:
■
Select Design > Show Container Borders.
This command is a toggle switch. Select it again to show the borders again.
Copying components to other MXML files
You can visually copy and paste components from one MXML file to another.
To copy a component to another MXML file:
1.
Make sure the two MXML files are open in the MXML editor’s Design mode.
2.
Select the component in one file and press Control+C (Command+C on Macintosh) to
copy it.
3.
Switch to the other file, click inside the desired container, and press Control+V
(Command+V on Macintosh) to paste the component or components into the container.
Deleting components
You can visually delete components from your user interface.
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Building a Flex User Interface
To delete a component in the MXML editor’s Design mode:
■
Select the component and press the Delete key on your keyboard, or right-click (Controlclick on Macintosh) the component and select Delete from the context menu.
Laying out your user interface
To lay out a Flex user interface, you typically start by inserting and positioning components in
a container that has absolute positioning, and then defining layout constraints for the
components so that they adjust automatically when a user resizes the application window.
In some situations, using nested layout containers such as the VBox containers is preferable to
using absolute positioning. See Chapter 15, “Using Layout Containers” in Flex 2 Developer’s
Guide. These situations include the following:
■
When controls might be dynamically sized to fit their content—as in the case of localized
strings, for example—and the controls need to push each other out of the way so they
don't overlap.
■
When you want multiple columns that are the same size or that need to remain a specific
percentage width.
This section contains the following topics:
■
“About constraint-based layouts” on page 127
■
“Inserting and positioning components in the layout” on page 129
■
“Setting layout constraints for components” on page 130
Related topics
■
“Adding navigator containers” on page 132
■
Chapter 6, “Adding View States and Transitions,” on page 141
About constraint-based layouts
Flex supports constraint-based layouts. You can arrange components in your user interface
with the freedom and pixel-point accuracy of absolute positioning, while also setting
constraints that stretch or move the components when the user resizes the application
window.
You could achieve the same goal with nested layout containers (see Chapter 15, “Using
Layout Containers” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide), but a constraint-based layout provides a
simpler means of dynamically controlling the size and position of components.
Laying out your user interface
127
You must use a container that has absolute positioning to create a constraint-based layout. A
container has absolute positioning if it’s a Canvas container or if it has a layout property set
to absolute. The layout="absolute" property can only be used with the Application, Panel,
and TitleWindow containers. It overrides the container’s layout rule and allows you to drag
and position components anywhere in the container.
Absolute positioning gives you the ability to set layout constraints. For example, if you want a
TextInput control to stretch when the user make the application window wider, you can
anchor the control to the left and right edges of the container so that the width of the
TextInput is set by the width of the container.
NO TE
In Flex, all constraints are set relative to the edges of the container. They cannot be set
relative to other controls.
When you create an MXML application file in Flex Builder, a layout="absolute" property
is automatically included in the <mx:Application> tag.
In the following example, all the controls are absolutely positioned in a container either by
dragging them or by setting the x and y coordinates in the Flex Properties view:
Also, a number of layout constraints are applied to the controls to ensure that the layout
adjusts correctly when the user resizes the application:
■
Label A, Label B, and Label C are anchored to the left and upper edges so that the labels
remain in place as the user resizes the layout.
■
TextInput A and TextInput B are anchored to the left and right edges so that the controls
stretch or compress horizontally as the user resizes the layout.
■
TextArea C is anchored to the left and right edges and to the upper and lower edges so that
the control stretches or compresses horizontally and vertically as the user resizes the layout.
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Building a Flex User Interface
■
The Button control is anchored to the right and lower edges so that the control maintains
its position relative to the lower-right corner of the container as the user resizes the layout.
The following illustration shows how the constraints make the controls behave when the user
resizes the layout:
The TexInput controls stretch horizontally. The TextArea control stretches both horizontally
and vertically. The Button control moves down and to the right.
Related topics
Chapter 10, “Create a Constraint-based Layout” in Getting Started with Flex 2
■
■
“Setting layout constraints for components” on page 130
Inserting and positioning components in the layout
The first step in creating a constraint-based layout is to insert and position components in a
container that has absolute positioning.
To insert and position components in the layout:
1.
Ensure that the open MXML file includes a container that has absolute positioning.
For more information, see “About constraint-based layouts” on page 127.
2.
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, drag a component from the Components view into
the container.
The component is inserted into your layout.
3.
Position the component in the container either by dragging it or by setting its x and y
properties in the Flex Properties view (Window > Flex Properties).
Laying out your user interface
129
For more information, see the following topics:
4.
■
“Positioning components” on page 114
■
“Using snapping to position components” on page 116
■
“Aligning components” on page 117
■
“Nudging components” on page 118
■
“Setting component properties” on page 119
Set layout constraints for the component.
For instructions, see the following section.
Setting layout constraints for components
You can use Flex Builder to set the layout constraints of containers, controls, and custom
components positioned in a container that has absolute positioning.
To set the layout constraints of components:
1.
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, select the component positioned in the container that
has absolute positioning.
2.
In the Properties view, expand the Layout category.
Options for setting constraints appear.
If you see a list of properties instead of a form, click the Standard View button in the
view’s toolbar.
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Building a Flex User Interface
3.
4.
Using the following table as a guide, select the constraint check boxes to achieve the effect
you want when the user resizes the application.
Effect
Constraints
Maintain the component’s position and size
None
Move the component horizontally
Right
Move the component vertically
Bottom
Move the component both horizontally and vertically
Right + Bottom
Resize the component horizontally
Left + Right
Resize the component vertically
Top + Bottom
Resize the component both horizontally and vertically
Left + Right + Top + Bottom
Center the component horizontally
Horizontal center
Center the component vertically
Vertical center
Center the component both horizontally and vertically
Vertical center + Horizontal
center
Specify the distance of the constraints from the edges of the container.
To set the distance, enter a number of pixels in the text box that appears near a selected
constraint in the Flex Properties view. In the following example, you set the component to
maintain its position 90 pixels from the left edge and 60 pixels from the right edge. If the
user resizes the application, the component stretches or compresses to maintain these
distances from the edges of the application window.
Flex Builder expresses these constraints in the MXML code as follows, assuming you set a
y property of 160:
<mx:TextInput y="160" left="90" right="60"/>
Laying out your user interface
131
Related topics
■
Chapter 10, “Create a Constraint-based Layout” in Getting Started with Flex 2
■
“About constraint-based layouts” on page 127
■
“Using constraint-based layout” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Adding navigator containers
Navigator containers provide a way to organize your user interface into a group of related
views. For example, you can use them to create a tabbed user interface. The containers
provide built-in mechanisms for letting the user move through, or navigate, the views. For
example, the TabNavigator container has tabs that lets users select a different view.
N OT E
You can also create multiview interfaces with Flex view states. For more information, see
“Adding View States and Transitions” on page 141.
You can use Flex Builder to insert navigator containers in your application, and then create
the layout of each of the container’s views. If you use a ViewStack container, you can use Flex
Builder to add the means for the user to select a view.
This section contains the following topics:
■
“Creating layouts in navigator containers” on page 132
■
“Letting users select a view in a ViewStack container” on page 134
Related topics
■
“About navigator containers” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Creating layouts in navigator containers
After you insert a navigator container in your application, you can use Flex Builder to create
the layout of each of the container’s views. The views are child containers of the navigator
container.
Only the ViewStack, TabNavigator, and Accordion navigator containers have child containers
that you can lay out. The LinkBar, ButtonBar, and TabBar navigator containers don’t have
child containers. Instead, they let users control the active child container of a ViewStack
container.
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Building a Flex User Interface
To create layouts in a navigator container:
1.
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, drag a ViewStack, TabNavigator, or Accordion
container from the Components view into the application.
2.
Add or remove a child container in the navigator container by clicking the Plus (+) or
Minus (-) button at the top of the navigator container.
3.
For the ViewStack container, select a child container by clicking the Left or Right arrows
that appear at the top of the container.
The arrows let you cycle through the child containers in the container.
You can also select views in the Outline view (Window > Outline).
4.
For the TabNavigator and Accordion containers, select a child container by clicking the
child’s tab.
5.
To set properties of the child container in the Properties view, click its background.
6.
Create your layout by inserting controls or containers into the child container.
For more information, see “Laying out your user interface” on page 127.
7.
If you are working with a ViewStack container, add a mechanism to let users select the child
containers.
For instructions, see “Letting users select a view in a ViewStack container” on page 134.
Related topics
■
“ViewStack navigator container” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
“TabNavigator container” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
“Accordion navigator container” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
“Adding navigator containers” on page 132
Adding navigator containers
133
Letting users select a view in a ViewStack container
A ViewStack container consists of a collection of child containers stacked on top of each other
with only one container visible, or active, at a time. The ViewStack container does not have a
built-in mechanism for letting users select a child container. You must add a LinkBar,
ButtonBar, or TabBar navigator container, or build the logic yourself in ActionScript. The
following example shows an example of a ViewStack container with a LinkBar container:
You can use Flex Builder to add a LinkBar, ButtonBar, or TabBar to a ViewStack container so
that users can select the child containers in the ViewStack container. A LinkBar defines a
horizontal row of Link controls that designate a series of link destinations, as the following
example shows:
A ButtonBar defines a horizontal row of buttons. A TabBar defines a horizontal row of tabs, as
the following example shows:
To let users select a child container in a ViewStack container:
1.
Ensure that you set the label property for each child in the ViewStack container.
The label property of the ViewStack children determines the text of the labels that
appear on the TabBar or LinkBar. The following example shows children of a ViewStack
container:
<mx:ViewStack id="myViewStack" borderStyle="solid" width="100%">
<mx:Canvas id="search" label="Search">
<mx:Label text="Enter search terms"/>
...
</mx:Canvas>
<mx:Canvas id="custInfo" label="Customer Info">
<mx:Label text="Please enter your customer information"/>
...
</mx:Canvas>
<mx:Canvas id="accountInfo" label="Account Info">
<mx:Label text="Please enter your account information"/>
...
</mx:Canvas>
</mx:ViewStack>
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Building a Flex User Interface
2.
Drag a LinkBar, ButtonBar, or TabBar container from the Components view into your
layout, above the ViewStack container.
The LinkBar, ButtonBar, and TabBar containers are listed in the Navigator category of the
Components view.
3.
Set the dataProvider property of the LinkBar, ButtonBar, or TabBar container to the ID
of the target ViewStack container.
To set the dataProvider property, you can select the LinkBar, ButtonBar, or TabBar
and set the property in the Flex Properties view. Alternatively, you can click the
navigator’s Plus (+) button and then select the ViewStack ID in the dialog box that
appears.
Setting the dataProvider property to the ViewStack ID specifies the name of the
ViewStack container associated with it. The text of the labels on the LinkBar, ButtonBar,
or TabBar correspond to the values of the label property of each child of the ViewStack
container.
Once the association is made between a ViewStack and a navigator, clicking the buttons
or tabs of the navigator in Design mode will select the corresponding view in the
ViewStack.
Related topics
■
“ViewStack navigator container” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
“LinkBar control” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
“TabBar control” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
“ButtonBar and ToggleButtonBar controls” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
“Creating layouts in navigator containers” on page 132
Adding navigator containers
135
Adding data provider controls
You can use Flex Builder to add data provider controls such as a ComboBox or a DataGrid to
your application. For example, a ComboBox control might be populated with a list of
countries from a database or an XML file.
Data provider controls take input from a data provider, which is a collection of objects similar
to an array. After adding a data provider control, you must define a data provider for the
control.
To add a data provider control:
1.
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, drag a data provider control from the Components
view into your user interface.
Data provider controls are listed in the Controls category of the Components view. They
include the DataGrid, HorizontalList, List, TileList, Tree, and ComboBox controls. For
more information, see Chapter 12, “Using Data-Driven Controls” in Flex 2 Developer’s
Guide.
2.
Switch to Source mode and insert a <mx:dataProvider> child tag in the control’s tag.
You can use Content Assist to quickly enter the tag. In the following example, you insert
the <mx:dataProvider> tag in a Tree control tag:
<mx:Tree id="myTree">
<mx:dataProvider>
</mx:dataProvider>
</mx:Tree>
3.
Specify the source of the data in the <mx:dataProvider> tag.
You can specify the data directly in the tag with an Array of Objects, as in the following
example:
<mx:ComboBox>
<mx:dataProvider>
<mx:Array>
<mx:Object label="Red" data="#FF0000"/>
<mx:Object label="Green" data="#00FF00"/>
<mx:Object label="Blue" data="#0000FF"/>
</mx:Array>
</mx:dataProvider>
</mx:ComboBox>
The <mx:Object> tag in the example defines a label property that contains the string to
display in the ComboBox, and a data property that contains the value that you want to
submit for processing.
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Building a Flex User Interface
You can define the data provider in an ActionScript variable, and then use the variable in
the <mx:dataProvider> tag, as in the following example:
<mx:Script>
<![CDATA[
var COLOR_ARRAY:Array =
[{label:"Red", data:"#FF0000"},
{label:"Green", data:"#00FF00"},
{label:"Blue", data:"#0000FF"}];
]]>
</mx:Script>
<mx:ComboBox>
<mx:dataProvider>
{COLOR_ARRAY}
</mx:dataProvider>
</mx:ComboBox>
In the previous example, you could also write the <mx:ComboBox> tag as follows:
<mx:ComboBox dataProvider="{COLOR_ARRAY}">
</mx:ComboBox>
Related topics
■
Chapter 11, “Use List-based Form Controls” in Getting Started with Flex 2
■
“Specifying data providers in MXML applications” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
Chapter 12, “Working with Data in Flex Builder,” on page 219
Adding charting components
You can use Flex Builder to add charting components to display data in your user interface.
The charting components in Flex let you create some of the most common chart types, and
also give you extensive control over the appearance of your charts. For an overview of the
different charts available, see Chapter 54, “Chart Types” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
The Flex charts are available in Adobe Flex Builder with Charting. A trial version of the charts
is included in the standard version of Flex Builder. You can also obtain the full version of the
charts by purchasing Adobe Flex Charting components 2, a separate product.
This section describes how to add charting components to your user interface. For
information on defining chart data, formatting chart elements, and manipulating other
aspects of charts, see Chapter 53, “Introduction to Charts” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Adding charting components
137
To add a charting component:
1.
In the MXML editor’s Design mode, drag a charting component from the Components
view into your user interface.
The Create Chart dialog box appears:
2.
Enter an ID for the chart.
3.
To display more than one series of data in your chart, click the Add button and enter the
new series name in the dialog box that appears.
For example, the following ColumnChart control has two data series. The first is the gross
profit for six months represented by the orange columns, and the second is the net profit
during the same period represented by the green columns.
Remove a data series by selecting it in the list and clicking the Delete button.
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Building a Flex User Interface
4.
(Optional) Select the Include Legend option.
The Include Legend option lets you add a Legend control to the chart that displays the
label for each data series in the chart and a key showing the chart element for the series.
5.
Click OK to insert the chart.
Adding charting components
139
140
Building a Flex User Interface
CHAPTER 6
6
Adding View States
and Transitions
You can use Adobe Flex Builder 2 to create applications that change their appearance
depending on the task that the user is performing. For example, the base state of the
application could be the home page and include a logo, a sidebar, and some welcome content.
When the user clicks a button in the sidebar, the application dynamically changes its
appearance (its state), replacing the main content area with a purchase order form but leaving
the logo and sidebar in place.
In Flex, you can add this kind of interactivity with view states and transitions. A view state is
one of several views that you define for an application or a custom component. A transition is
one or more effects grouped together to play when a view state changes. The purpose of a
transition is to smooth the visual change from one state to the next.
This topic contains the following sections:
About view states and transitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141
Creating a view state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Creating a state based on an existing state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Setting a non-base state as the starting state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Setting the initial state of a component . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Switching states at run time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Modifying the appearance of existing states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Deleting a view state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Creating a transition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
About view states and transitions
A view state is one of several layouts that you define for a single MXML application or
component. You can create an application or component that switches from one view state to
another, depending on the user’s actions. You can use view states to build a user interface that
the user can customize or that progressively reveals more information as the user completes
specific tasks.
141
Each application or component defined in an MXML file always has at least one state, the
base state, which is represented by the default layout of the file. You can use a base state as a
repository for content such as navigation bars or logos shared by all the views in an application
or component to maintain a consistent look and feel.
You create a view state by modifying the layout of an existing state. Modifications can include
editing, moving, adding, or removing components. The modified layout is what the user sees
when he or she switches state.
For a full conceptual overview of view states as well as examples, see Chapter 27, “Using View
States” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Generally, you don’t add pages to a Flex application as you do in an HTML-based application.
You create a single MXML application file and then add different layouts that can be switched
when the application runs. While you can use view states for these layouts, you can also use
the ViewStack navigator container with other navigator containers. For more information, see
Chapter 16, “Using Navigator Containers” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
When you change the view states in your application, the appearance of the user interface also
changes. By default, the components appear to jump from one view state to the next. You can
eliminate this abruptness by using transitions.
A transition is one or more visual effects that play sequentially or simultaneously when a
change in view state occurs. For example, suppose you want to resize a component to make
room for a new component when the application changes from one state to another. You can
define a transition that gradually minimizes the first component while a new component
slowly appears on the screen. For more information on transitions, see Chapter 28, “Using
Transitions” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Related topics
Chapter 14, “Use View States and Transitions” in Getting Started with Flex 2
■
■
142
Chapter 8, “Creating Custom MXML Components,” on page 155
Adding View States and Transitions
Creating a view state
You can use Flex Builder to create a view state for an application or a component defined in an
MXML file. First, you create a base state for the application or component, and then you
create a second state based on the base state.
To create a state:
1.
Using the layout tools in Flex Builder, design the layout of the base state of your application
or component.
For more information, see “Building a Flex User Interface” on page 105.
2.
In the States view (Window > States), click the New State button in the toolbar.
The New State dialog box appears. The default option is to base the new state on the
initial state.
3.
Enter a name for the new state, and click OK.
The name of the new state appears in the States view.
4.
Use the layout tools in Flex Builder to modify the appearance of the state.
You can edit, move, add, or delete components. As you make changes, the changes
defining the new state become part of the MXML code.
5.
Define an event handler that lets the user switch to the new state.
For more information, see “Switching states at run time” on page 145.
Creating a view state
143
Related topics
■
“About view states and transitions” on page 141
■
Chapter 14, “Use View States and Transitions” in Getting Started with Flex 2
■
Chapter 27, “Using View States” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Creating a state based on an existing
state
You can use Flex Builder to create a state based on a state that is not the base state.
To create a state based on another state:
1.
Ensure that the MXML file contains at least one state that is not the base state.
For more information, see “Creating a view state” on page 143.
2.
In the States view (Window > States), click the New State button.
The New State dialog box appears.
3.
Enter a name for the new state.
4.
From the Based On pop-up menu, select the state on which to base the new state.
The pop-up menu lists the states defined in the current document.
5.
Click OK.
The new state appears in the States view.
6.
Use the layout tools in Flex Builder to change the layout.
You can modify, move, add, or delete components. As you make changes to the state,
they’re recorded in the MXML code.
7.
Define an event handler to switch to the new state.
For more information, see “Switching states at run time” on page 145.
Related topics
■
“About view states and transitions” on page 141
■
144
Chapter 27, “Using View States” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Adding View States and Transitions
Setting a non-base state as the starting
state
By default, an application displays the base state when it starts. However, you can display a
non-base state when the application starts.
To set a non-base state as the starting state:
1.
With the MXML file opens in the MXML editor’s Design mode, double-click the view
state that you want in the States view (Window > States).
2.
In the Edit State Properties dialog box that appears, select the Set As Start State option and
click OK.
Related topics
■
“Creating a state based on an existing state” on page 144
Setting the initial state of a component
If your application has multiple states, you can set the initial state of a component
independently from the rest of the application.
To set the initial state of a component:
1.
With the MXML file open in the MXML editor’s Design mode, select the component in
your layout.
2.
Select the initial state of the component in the State pop-up menu on the editor’s toolbar.
Switching states at run time
When your Flex application is running, users need ways of switching from one view state to
another. You can use Flex Builder to define event handlers for user controls so that users can
switch states at run time.
The simplest method is to assign the currentState property to the click event of a control
such as a button or a link. The currentState property takes the name of the view state you
want to display when the click event occurs. In the code, you specify the currentState
property as follows:
click="currentState='viewstatename'"
Switching states at run time
145
If the view state is defined for a specific component, you must also specify the component
name, as follows:
click="currentState='componentID.viewstatename'"
For more information, see “Applying view states” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
To define an event handler to switch from one state to another at run time:
1.
Ensure that the initial state has a control, such as a Button control, that the user can click.
Select the control in the MXML editor’s Design mode, and enter the following value in
the On Click text box in the Flex Properties view:
currentState='viewstatename'
2.
If you want to switch to the base state, enter currentState='' (single-quote empty string)
instead.
An empty string specifies the base state.
3.
To test that the states switch correctly in the application when the button is clicked, run
the application by clicking the Run button in the MXML editor’s toolbar.
You can define a transition so that the change between view states is smoother visually. For
more information, see “Creating a transition” on page 148.
Related topics
■
“About view states and transitions” on page 141
■
Chapter 14, “Use View States and Transitions” in Getting Started with Flex 2
■
Chapter 27, “Using View States” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
146
Adding View States and Transitions
Modifying the appearance of existing
states
After you create a state, you can use Flex Builder to modify its appearance at any time.
To modify the appearance of an existing state:
1.
With the MXML file open in Flex Builder, select the view state that you want to modify
from the States view (Window > States).
TI P
You can also select the view state from the State pop-up menu in the toolbar of the
MXML editor in Design mode.
Flex Builder displays the state’s layout in the MXML editor’s Design mode.
2.
Use the layout tools in Flex Builder to make changes to the appearance of the state.
You can change properties, move components, add components, or delete components. As
you work, the changes are recorded as part of the current state. The changes don't affect
the states that the current state is based on, but they may affect states derived from the
current state.
Related topics
■
“About view states and transitions” on page 141
■
Chapter 27, “Using View States” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Deleting a view state
You can use Flex Builder to delete a view state.
To delete a state:
1.
With the MXML file open in the MXML editor’s Design mode, select the view state that
you want to delete from the States view (Window > States).
Flex Builder displays the state’s layout in the MXML editor’s Design mode.
2.
Click the Delete State button on the view’s toolbar.
If you attempt to delete a state that other states are based on, a dialog box appears to warn
you that the other states will be deleted too. You can cancel the operation or confirm that
you want to delete the state.
Deleting a view state
147
Creating a transition
When you change the view states in your application, the components appear to jump from
one view state to the next. You can make the change smoother visually for users by using
transitions. A transition is one or more effects grouped together to play when a view state
changes. For example, you can define a transition that uses a Resize effect to gradually
minimize a component in the original view state, and a Fade effect to gradually display a
component in the new view state.
This section describes the general steps in creating a basic transition.
To create a basic transition:
1.
Make sure you create at least one view state in addition to the base state.
For more information, see “Creating a view state” on page 143.
2.
In the MXML editor’s Source mode, define a Transition object by writing a
<mx:transitions> tag and then a <mx:Transition> child tag, as shown in the following
example:
<mx:transitions>
<mx:Transition id="myTransition">
</mx:Transition>
</mx:transitions>
To define multiple transitions, insert additional <mx:Transition> child tags in the
<mx:transitions> tag.
3.
In the <mx:Transition> tag, define the change in view state that triggers the transition by
setting the tag’s fromState and toState properties, as in the following example (in bold):
<mx:transitions>
<mx:Transition id="myTransition" fromState="*" toState="checkout">
</mx:Transition>
</mx:transitions>
In the example, you specify that you want the transition to be performed when the
application changes from any view state (fromState="*") to the view state called
checkout (toState="checkout"). The value "*" is a wildcard character specifying any
view state.
148
Adding View States and Transitions
4.
In the <mx:Transition> tag, specify whether you want the effects to play in parallel or in
sequence by writing a <mx:Parallel> or <mx:Sequence> child tag, as in the following
example (in bold):
<mx:Transition id="myTransition" fromState="*" toState="checkout">
<mx:Parallel>
</mx:Parallel>
</mx:Transition>
If you want the effects to play simultaneously, use the <mx:Parallel> tag. If you want
them to play one after the other, use the <mx:Sequence> tag.
5.
In the <mx:Parallel> or <mx:Sequence> tag, specify the targeted component or
components for the transition by setting the property called target (for one target
component) or targets (for more than one target component) to the ID of the target
component or components, as shown in the following example (in bold):
<mx:Parallel targets="{[myVBox1,myVBox2,myVBox3]}">
</mx:Parallel>
In this example, three VBox containers are targeted. The targets property takes an array
of IDs.
6.
In the <mx:Parallel> or <mx:Sequence> tag, specify the effects to play when the view
state changes by writing effect child tags, as shown in the following example (in bold):
<mx:Parallel targets="{[myVBox1,myVBox2,myVBox3]}">
<mx:Move duration="400"/>
<mx:Resize duration="400"/>
</mx:Parallel>
For a list of possible effects, see “Available effects” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
To set the properties of effects, see “Working with effects” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
7.
Test the transition by clicking the Run button in the MXML editor’s toolbar, and then
switching states after the application starts.
Related topics
■
“About view states and transitions” on page 141
■
Chapter 14, “Use View States and Transitions” in Getting Started with Flex 2
■
Chapter 28, “Using Transitions” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Creating a transition
149
150
Adding View States and Transitions
CHAPTER 7
7
Adding Interactivity with
Behaviors
You can use Adobe Flex Builder 2 to create behaviors that add animation and motion to a
component in response to user or programmatic action. For example, you can create a
behavior for a TextInput component that causes it to bounce slightly when the user tabs to it,
or you can create a behavior for a Label component that causes it to fade out when the user
passes the mouse over it.
This topic describes how to visually create behaviors for components. For information on
creating behaviors in MXML and ActionScript code, see Chapter 17, “Using Behaviors” in
Flex 2 Developer’s Guide. For a tutorial, see “Use Behaviors” in Getting Started with Flex 2.
This topic contains the following sections:
About Flex behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .151
Creating a behavior for a component. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
About Flex behaviors
A behavior is a combination of a trigger paired with an effect. A trigger is an action, such as a
mouse click on a component, a component getting focus, or a component becoming visible.
An effect is a visible or audible change to a target component that occurs over a period of
time, measured in milliseconds. Examples of effects are fading, resizing, or moving a
component. You can define multiple effects for a single trigger.
By default, Flex components don’t play an effect when a trigger occurs. To configure a
component to use an effect, you associate an effect with the trigger.
Triggers are not ActionScript events. For example, a Button has both a mouseDownEffect
trigger and a mouseDown event. The trigger initiates a Flex effect; the event calls an
ActionScript function or object method.
For more information, see Chapter 17, “Using Behaviors” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
151
Creating a behavior for a component
You can use Flex Builder to visually create a behavior for an MXML component.
NO T E
Though you cannot visually add an effect to an ActionScript component, you can use the
editor’s Source mode to write the code that adds the effect. For more information, see
“Applying behaviors in ActionScript” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
To create a behavior for an MXML component:
1.
Select the component in the MXML editor’s Design mode by clicking it in the layout.
2.
Define a trigger for the effect by selecting a trigger in the Effects category of the Flex
Properties view.
The names of triggers use the following convention:
triggerEffect
In this convention, trigger is the trigger name. For example, to define a roll-over trigger,
select the rollOverEffect trigger.
For a list of triggers you can use, see “Available triggers” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
3.
Associate an effect with the trigger by entering the name of the effect in the field next to
the trigger name.
For example, for a Label component you could enter WipeRight as the effect for the
showEffect property. In a browser, the Label component’s text becomes visible as if it
were being wiped from left to right.
152
Adding Interactivity with Behaviors
For a list of effects you can use, see “Available effects” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
4.
To customize the effect, you need to specify effect properties in the code.
For example, you can specify how long a wipe lasts by entering the value in milliseconds in
the duration property of the component, as shown in the following example:
<mx:Button id="myButton" mouseDownEffect="WipeLeft" duration="2000"/>
For more information, see “Working with effects” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
5.
If you want the current component to trigger the effect, you are finished creating the
behavior.
If you want another component to trigger the effect, you must write and insert an
ActionScript function that triggers the effect from the other component. For more
information, see “Applying behaviors in ActionScript” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Related topics
■
“Use Behaviors” in Getting Started with Flex 2
Creating a behavior for a component
153
154
Adding Interactivity with Behaviors
CHAPTER 8
8
Creating Custom MXML
Components
An application in Adobe Flex typically consists of an MXML application file (a file with an
<mx:Application> parent tag), one or more standard Flex components, and one or more
custom components defined in separate MXML, ActionScript, or Flash component (SWC)
files. By dividing the application into manageable chunks, you can write and test each
component independently from the others. You can also reuse a component in the same
application or in other applications, which increases efficiency.
You can use Adobe Flex Builder 2 to build custom MXML and ActionScript components
visually and then insert them into your applications. This topic describes how to build custom
MXML components visually. For more information on building ActionScript components,
see “Creating an ActionScript class” on page 76.
You can also build an MXML component directly using code. For more information, see
Chapter 7, “Creating Simple MXML Components” in Creating and Extending Flex 2
Components.
This topic contains the following sections:
About the uses of custom components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Creating MXML components visually . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Designing components visually. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Rapidly editing custom MXML components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Distributing custom components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
About the uses of custom components
You might want to create custom components for a number of reasons. For example, you
might simply want to add some functionality to an existing component, or you might want to
build a reusable component, like a search box or the display of an item in a data grid. Finally,
you might want to write a completely new kind of component that isn't available in the Flex
framework.
155
If your component is mostly composed of existing components, it's convenient to define it
using MXML. However, if it's a completely new kind of component, you should define it as
an ActionScript component. For more information, see “Creating an ActionScript class”
on page 76.
Creating MXML components visually
You can use Flex Builder to create custom MXML components.
To create a custom MXML component:
1.
Select File > New > MXML Component.
The New MXML Component dialog box appears:
156
Creating Custom MXML Components
2.
Specify the parent folder for your custom component file.
Save the file in a folder in the current project folder or in the source path of the current
project if you want the component to appear in the Components view.
3.
Specify a filename for the component.
The filename defines the component name. For example, if you name the file
LoginBox.mxml, the component is named LoginBox.
4.
Select the base component of your custom component.
Custom components are typically derived from existing components. Containers are
commonly used as the base components of layout custom components.
5.
(Optional) If you base the component on a Panel or TitleWindow, a Layout pop-up menu
appears letting you select how the children of the component will be laid out—absolutely,
horizontally, or vertically.
6.
(Optional) If you base the component on any container, you get options to set the width
and height of the component.
You can set these to fixed width and height or percentages, or clear them. When you create
an instance of the component, you can override the component's width and height in the
instance.
If you set a percentage width/height or no width/height, you can preview how the
component will look at different sizes using the Design Area pop-up menu in the toolbar
of the MXML editor’s toolbar in Design mode. For more information, see “Designing
components visually” on page 158.
7.
Click Finish.
Flex Builder saves the file in the parent folder and opens it in the editor.
If you saved the file in the current project or in the source path of the current project, Flex
Builder also displays the component in the Components view so that you can rapidly
insert it in your applications. For more information, see “Adding components visually”
on page 108.
N OT E
8.
The Components view only lists visible custom components (components that inherit
from the UIComponent class). For more information, see Adobe Flex 2 Language
Reference.
Create your custom component.
For more information, see Chapter 7, “Creating Simple MXML Components” in Creating
and Extending Flex 2 Components.
Creating MXML components visually
157
Related topics
■
Chapter 15, “Create a Custom Component” in Getting Started with Flex 2.
■
“Creating an ActionScript class” on page 76
■
“Creating an ActionScript interface” on page 77
Designing components visually
You can lay out a custom component visually in the MXML editor like you would a regular
MXML application file. All the tools in Design mode are available. For example, you can add
child controls from the Components view and set properties in the Properties view. For more
information, see “Working with components visually” on page 112.
The size of a custom component displayed in Design mode is determined by the following
rules:
■
If your component has a fixed width and height, Flex Builder automatically sets the design
area to that width and height.
■
If the component has no width and height, or has a 100% width and height, you can
select the size of the design area from the Design Area pop-up menu in the editor’s toolbar.
Selecting different sizes allows you to preview the component as it might appear in
different circumstances. The design area defaults to 400x300 pixels for containers, and to
Fit to Content for controls.
■
158
If the component has a percentage width and height other than 100%, Flex Builder
renders it as a percentage of the selected size in the Design Area menu.
Creating Custom MXML Components
Rapidly editing custom MXML
components
Flex Builder renders any visible custom components (components that inherit from
UIComponent) in the MXML editor’s Design mode. You can double-click a custom
component in the layout to open its file and edit it.
1.
Open an MXML file that uses a custom component.
2.
In Design mode, double-click a custom component in the layout.
The component file opens in the editor.
TIP
3.
You can also right-click a custom component to display the context menu and select
Open Custom Component.
Edit the custom component.
Distributing custom components
Distribute custom components by creating library projects. For more information, see “About
library projects” on page 78.
Distributing custom components
159
160
Creating Custom MXML Components
PART 4
Programming Flex
Applications
4
This part describes how to edit, build, run, and debug applications in Flex
Builder.
The following chapters are included:
Chapter 9: Code Editing in Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Chapter 10: Building Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Chapter 11: Running and Debugging Applications . . . . . . . . . . . 203
Chapter 12: Working with Data in Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
161
9
CHAPTER 9
Code Editing in Flex Builder
You can edit MXML, ActionScript, and CSS code in Adobe Flex Builder 2, and a separate
editor is provided for each. However, since the Flex Builder workbench is both project- and
document-centric, you don’t need to concern yourself with selecting editors, because they are
associated with resource types and are opened automatically. This topic discusses the shared
capabilities of the Flex Builder editors, which includes code hinting, navigation, formatting,
and other productivity enhancing features.
This topic does not discuss design and layout of Flex applications using the MXML editor in
Design mode. For more information about Design mode, see Chapter 5, “Building a Flex
User Interface,” on page 105.
This topic contains the following sections:
Understanding code editing in Flex Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
About Flex Builder content assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Navigating and organizing code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Formatting code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
About markers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
About syntax error checking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
Code editing keyboard shortcuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
163
Understanding code editing in Flex
Builder
When designing and developing Flex and ActionScript applications, you work in the Flex
Builder development perspective, which contains the Flex Builder editors and all the views
that support code editing and design tasks. The configuration of the development perspective
depends on which editor and mode you’re working in. For example, when you create a Flex
project, the MXML editor works in two modes (Source and Design) and each mode contains
its own collection of supporting views. For an overview of the Flex Development perspective,
see “The Flex Development perspective” on page 31.
Here’s a brief introduction to the basics of code editing in Flex Builder.
MXML, ActionScript 3.0, and CSS editors
Flex Builder contains three editors: one each for writing MXML, ActionScript, and CSS.
The MXML editor allows you to edit MXML files. The MXML editor contains two modes:
Source and Design. In Source mode, you write MXML and embed ActionScript and CSS
code contained within <mx:Script> and <mx:Style> tags. In Design mode, you lay out and
design your Flex applications (see Chapter 5, “Building a Flex User Interface,” on page 105).
The ActionScript editor lets you edit AS files, which include main files for ActionScript
projects, and class and interface files. For more information, see “About ActionScript projects”
on page 74.
You use the CSS editor to write Cascading Style Sheets (.css files). For more information, see
Chapter 18, “Using Styles and Themes.” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
MXML, ActionScript, and CSS content assistance
As you enter MXML, ActionScript, and CSS code, hints are displayed to help you complete
your code. This feature is referred to as Content Assist. Other features that assist you in
quickly developing your code include: MXML tag completion, automatic import
management, and integration with Adobe Flex 2 Language Reference. For more information,
see “About Flex Builder content assistance” on page 166.
Custom component and ActionScript class and interface code hints
In addition to the built-in support for the Flex framework, code hints are also provided for all
custom components and ActionScript classes and interfaces that are included in your project.
For more information, see “About Content Assist” on page 166.
164
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Streamlined code navigation
To easily navigate the many files and lines of code in your projects, Flex Builder provides
convenient shortcuts such as folding and unfolding code blocks, opening the source of
external code definitions, browsing and opening class types, and so on. The Outline view also
provides you with a convenient way to inspect the structure of and navigate to lines of code in
your documents. For more information, see “Navigating and organizing code” on page 170.
Automatic syntax error checking
Flex Builder compiles your projects incrementally, giving you feedback as you work with your
documents. If you introduce syntax errors while writing MXML and ActionScript code, error
indicators are displayed next to the line of code in the editor and an error message is displayed
in the Problems view. For more information, see “About syntax error checking” on page 182.
Editor and debugger integration
The MXML and ActionScript editors work in concert with the debugging perspective to assist
you in debugging your code. You set breakpoints in your code to suspend your application at
troublesome or otherwise crucial lines of code. When you begin a debugging session, the
debugging perspective is displayed when the first breakpoint is reached. You can then inspect
the state of your application and isolate and resolve the problems in your code. For more
information about debugging your code, see Chapter 11, “Running and Debugging
Applications,” on page 203.
Learn more about code editing in Flex Builder
If you haven’t already done so, review the getting started lesson. For more information, see
Chapter 16, “Use the Code Editor” in Getting Started with Flex 2, and then refer to the
following sections in this topic for more information:
■
“About Flex Builder content assistance” on page 166
■
“Navigating and organizing code” on page 170
■
“Formatting code” on page 176
■
“About markers” on page 178
■
“About syntax error checking” on page 182
■
“Code editing keyboard shortcuts” on page 184
Understanding code editing in Flex Builder
165
About Flex Builder content assistance
The Flex Builder editors contain many features that simplify and streamline code
development. The following content assistance features are available in Flex Builder:
Content Assist
Available in the MXML, ActionScript, and CSS editors, Content Assist
provides code hints to help you complete your code expressions. For more information, see
“About Content Assist” on page 166.
Auto import management As you enter code with the help of Content Assist, the fully
qualified type names are automatically imported into the document. In an ActionScript
document, the fully qualified type name is added to the beginning of the document with the
other import statements. In an MXML document, the import statement is added to an
existing script block if one exists; if not, Flex Builder creates a script block. In an ActionScript
document, you can also optionally sort import statements (see “Organizing import
statements” on page 177).
MXML tag completion
As you enter MXML code, many syntax elements are automatically
added, including: closing tags, indentations, new lines, and CDATA tags within <mx:Script>
tags and when you add event attributes.
Context-sensitive language reference Help
The Adobe Flex 2 Language Reference is
integrated into the editor and you can easily access it by selecting an ActionScript language
element, an MXML component tag or attribute, and pressing F1. For more information, see
“Getting help while writing code” on page 170.
Formatting assistance To streamline the work of coding your applications, the editors
automatically format and color your lines of code. For more information, see “Formatting
code” on page 176.
About Content Assist
As you enter code into the Flex Builder editors, Content Assist prompts you with a list of
options for completing your code expression (commonly referred to as code hints). For
example, in an MXML document, when you begin entering a tag, you are prompted with the
list of tags that can be added to the parent tag.
166
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Code hints appear automatically as you enter your code. The following example shows the
code hints that are displayed when you add a tag to a Canvas tag:
Only those tags that can be added to the Canvas tag are contained in the list of code hints.
This is true of all uses of Content Assist: you only see relevant hints.
Code hints are categorized by type, showing you both visual and nonvisual MXML
components, events, properties, and styles.
Code hints appear whenever the framework or language (MXML, ActionScript, and CSS)
provides options for you to complete the current expression. For example, if you type within
an MXML component, you are prompted with a list of all properties of that component. The
following example shows code hints for properties of an MXML component:
Selecting and entering properties displays possible property values (if predefined values exist).
The following example shows code hints for property values:
About Flex Builder content assistance
167
Code hints for ActionScript 3.0 are also supported. They are displayed in ActionScript
documents, in <mx:Script> tags in MXML documents, and in event attributes. Content
Assist provides hints for all ActionScript 3.0 language elements (interfaces, classes, variables,
functions, return types, and so on), as the following example shows:
Content Assist also provides hints for CSS styles within embedded <mx:Style> tags or in
stand-alone CCS documents, as the following example shows:
In addition to the preceding examples, Content Assist provides hints for any custom MXML
components or ActionScript classes that you create yourself and which are part of your
project. For example, if you define a custom MXML component and add it to your project,
code hints appear when you refer to the component in your MXML application.
168
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Using Content Assist
You can use code hints to write MXML, ActionScript, and CSS more rapidly and efficiently.
Code hints appear as you enter code into the editor.
To display Content Assist and insert code hints:
1.
Begin entering a line of code.
■
In an MXML document, begin entering a tag:
<
Relevant code hints are displayed, as the following example shows:
■
In an ActionScript document or a Script tag in an MXML document, enter a typical
language construct:
public var myVar:
■
In a CSS document or a Style tag in an MXML document, enter a style name
construct and press Control+Space to display a list of attributes that can be added.
You can also display code hints while you enter a line of code by pressing Control+Space.
2.
Navigate the list of code hints with the Up and Down Arrow keys.
3.
Select a code hint, press Enter, and the code is added to the editor.
As you continue to enter code, additional code hints are displayed.
About Flex Builder content assistance
169
Getting help while writing code
The Adobe Flex 2 Language Reference is integrated into the MXML and ActionScript editors
and you can quickly review the reference Help for an MXML tag or property, a class, or other
Flex framework element.
You can also use Dyynamic Help, which is docked next to the current perspective and displays
reference and usage topics related to the currently selected MXML tag or ActionScript class.
To display language reference Help:
1.
In the MXML or ActionScript editor, select a Flex framework element (a word in your
code) by highlighting or placing the mouse pointer in the word.
2.
To open the Help topic directly in the Help viewer, press Shift+F2 or select Help > Find
in Language Reference.
For more information about getting help while working in the Flex Builder workbench, see
“Using context-sensitive help” on page 21.
To enable Dynamic Help:
■
Select Help > Dynamic Help.
Navigating and organizing code
The Flex Builder editors provide many shortcuts for navigating your code. These include
folding and unfolding code blocks, opening the source of code definitions, browsing and
opening types, and so on.
For more information about these shortcuts, see the following topics:
■
“Folding and unfolding code blocks” on page 170
■
“Using the Outline view to navigate and inspect code” on page 171
■
“Using Quick Outline view in the editor” on page 174
■
“Opening code definitions” on page 175
■
“Browsing and opening types” on page 175
■
“Showing line numbers” on page 176
Folding and unfolding code blocks
Multiple line code blocks can be collapsed and expanded to help you navigate, view, and
manage complex code documents. In Flex Builder, expanding and collapsing multiple line
code statements is referred to as code folding and unfolding.
170
Code Editing in Flex Builder
To fold a code block:
■
In the editor, click the fold symbol (-) in the editor’s left margin.
Folding a code block hides all but the first line of code.
You can then unfold the code block to make it visible again or hold the mouse over the unfold
(+) symbol to show the entire code block in a tool tip.
To unfold a code block:
■
In the editor, click the unfold symbol (+) in the editor’s left margin.
To set code-folding preferences:
■
By default, code folding is turned on in Flex Builder. To turn off code folding, select
Window > Preferences > Flex > Editors, and then deselect the Enable Code Folding
option.
Using the Outline view to navigate and inspect code
The Outline view is part of the Flex Development perspective (see “The Flex Development
perspective” on page 31), and is therefore available when you edit code and design your
application. You use the Outline view to more easily inspect and navigate the structure of your
MXML and ActionScript documents.
The Outline view contains two modes: Class mode and MXML mode. In Class mode, the
Outline view displays the structure of your code (classes, member variables, functions, and so
on). In MXML mode, the Outline view displays the MXML structure (tags, components,
controls, and so on).
Selecting an item in the Outline view locates and highlights it in the editor, which makes it
much easier to navigate your code.
Navigating and organizing code
171
Outline view in Class mode
When you edit an ActionScript document (or ActionScript contained in an MXML
document), the Outline view displays the structure of your code. This includes import
statements, packages, classes, interfaces, variables not contained in functions, and functions.
Not included in this view are metadata, comments, namespace declarations, and the content
of functions.
In the Outline view, nodes and items in the tree structure represent both the different types of
language elements and their visibility. For example, red icons indicate private elements, green
indicates public elements, and yellow indicates that the element was neither explicitly marked
private nor public.
Outline view toolbar in Class mode
In Class mode, the Outline view toolbar contains the sort and filter commands, as the
following example shows:
Sort
Hide Static Functions and Variables
Hide Non-Public Members
Sort alphabetically sorts all items in the view rather than by the sequence in which they occur
in the document.
Hide Static Functions and Variables
Hide Non-Public Members
172
hides all static functions and variables.
hides non-public members.
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Outline view in MXML mode
When you edit an MXML document, which can contain both MXML and ActionScript
code, both the Class and MXML modes are available in the Outline view.
In MXML mode, each item in the Outline view represents an MXML tag and the following
types of tags are displayed: components, controls, nonvisual tags such as WebService or
State, component properties that are expressed as child tags (layout constraints, for example),
and compiler tags such as Model, Array, and Script.
Not included in the Outline view display in MXML mode are comments, CSS rules and
properties, and component properties expressed as attributes (as opposed to child tags, which
are shown).
Outline view toolbar in MXML mode
When the Outline view is in MXML mode, the toolbar contains two additional commands
that allow you to switch between the MXML and class views.
Show MXML view
Show class view
To switch between the two views, you use these toolbar commands. You can also switch the
MXML editor modes (from Source to Design and vice versa) to achieve the same thing.
Navigating and organizing code
173
Using Quick Outline view in the editor
Within the ActionScript and MXML editors, you can access the Quick Outline view, which
displays the Outline view in Class mode. The Quick Outline view is displayed in a pop-up
window within the editor itself, not as a separate view, and you can use it to quickly navigate
and inspect your code.
The Quick Outline view contains the same content as the Class mode, but it also includes a
text input area that you can use to filter the displayed items. For example, entering an item
name into the Quick Outline view displays only the items that contain those characters.
The Quick Outline view does not contain the commands that allow you to alphabetically sort
or hide items.
As in the Outline view, selecting an item locates and highlights it in the editor.
To open the Quick Outline view:
■
174
With an ActionScript or MXML document open in the editor, press Control+O.
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Opening code definitions
With applications of any complexity, your projects will contain many resources and many
lines of code. To help simplify navigating and inspecting the various elements of your code,
you can open the source of an external code definition from where it is referred to in your
code. For example, if you create a custom MXML component and import it into your
MXML application you can select the reference to the MXML component and open the
source file in the editor.
To open the source of a code definition:
1.
Select the code reference in the editor.
2.
Press F3.
The source file that contains the code definition opens in the editor.
Flex Builder also supports hyperlink code navigation.
To open the source of a code definition using hyperlink navigation:
1.
Locate the code reference in the editor.
2.
Press and hold the Control key (Command key on Macintosh) and hold the mouse over
the code reference to display the hyperlink.
3.
To navigate to the code reference, click the hyperlink.
Browsing and opening types
To quickly browse all the available types in your project (including the Flex framework), use
the Open Type dialog box.
To browse and open class types:
1.
From anywhere in the workbench, press Control+Shift+T (Command+Shift+T on
Macintosh).
The Open Type dialog box appears.
2.
To narrow the list of types, enter characters or the desired type name.
Only the types that contain the characters or name are displayed.
3.
To open the class type source file, double-click the class type name.
The source file opens in the editor.
N O TE
You can browse, but not edit, the Flex framework classes.
Navigating and organizing code
175
Showing line numbers
You can add line numbers to the editor to easily read and navigate your code.
To show line numbers in the editor:
1.
In the editor, right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) in the editor margin, which is
between the marker bar and the editor, to display the context menu.
2.
Select Show Line Numbers.
Line numbers appear in the editor.
Formatting code
The Flex Builder editors provide shortcuts for writing and formatting your code. These
include quickly adding comment blocks, indenting code blocks, finding and replacing text,
and so on.
For more information about these shortcuts, see the following topics:
■
“Organizing import statements” on page 177
■
“Adding comment blocks” on page 177
■
“Manually indenting code blocks” on page 177
■
“Finding and replacing text in the editor” on page 178
■
“About markers” on page 178
176
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Organizing import statements
When you use Content Assist in the MXML and ActionScript editors, the packages in which
classes are located are automatically imported into the document. They are added in the order
in which they were entered into code. To help organize the code in your ActionScript
documents, you can alphabetically sort import statements.
To sort import statements:
■
With a ActionScript document that contains import statements open in the editor, press
Control+Shift+O (Command+Shift+O on Macintosh).
Adding comment blocks
You can quickly add a new comment to your code or select existing lines of code and convert
them into a comment block.
To add a comment block:
1.
In the editor, select the line where you want to add the comment.
2.
Press Control+Shift+C (Command+Shift+C on Macintosh).
To convert code into a comment block:
1.
In the editor, select the lines of code to convert to a comment.
2.
Press Control+Shift+C (Command+Shift+C on Macintosh).
Manually indenting code blocks
The editor automatically formats the lines of your code as you enter it, improving readability
and streamlining code writing. You can also use the Tab key to manually indent individual
lines of code. If, however, you want to indent a block of code in a single action, you can use
the Shift Right and Shift Left editor commands.
To shift a code block to the left or right:
1.
In the editor, select a block of code.
2.
Select Source > Shift Right or Source > Shift Left.
To set indent preferences:
1.
Select Window > Preferences > Flex > Editors.
2.
You can select the indent type (tab or space) and the indent and tab size. (For more
information, see “Setting editor preferences” on page 248.)
Formatting code
177
Finding and replacing text in the editor
To find and optionally replace text strings in your code, there are two options. You can search
the document that is currently open in the editor, or you can search all resources in the
projects in the workspace. For more information about searching the entire workspace, see
“Searching in the workbench” on page 99.
To find and replace text in the editor:
1.
Open the document to search.
2.
Do either of the following:
■
Press Control+F (Command+F on Macintosh).
■
Select Edit > Find/Replace.
3.
Enter the text string to locate.
4.
(Optional) Enter the replacement text string.
5.
(Optional) Set the advanced search criteria.
6.
Click Find, Replace, Replace All, or Replace/Find.
If the text string is located in the document, it is highlighted and, optionally, replaced.
About markers
Markers are shortcuts to lines of code in a document, to a document itself, or to a folder.
Markers represent tasks, bookmarks, and problems and they are displayed and managed
within those views. Selecting markers opens the associated document in the editor and,
optionally, highlights the specific line of code.
The workbench generates task and problem markers automatically. You can manually add
tasks and bookmarks. Each type of marker is summarized as follows.
Tasks
Task markers represent a work item. Work items are generated automatically by the
workbench and can also be added manually. You can add a task manually to a specific line of
code in a document or to the document itself. For example, to remind yourself to define a
Flex component property, you might create a task called “Define skinning properties.” You
can also add general tasks that do not apply directly to resources (for example, “Create a
custom component for the employee log-in prompt”). You use the Task view to manage all
the task markers. For more information, see “Adding tasks” on page 180.
Problems
Problem markers are generated by the compiler and indicate invalid states of
various sorts. For example, syntax errors and warnings generated by the compiler are displayed
as problem markers in the Problem view. For more information, see “Using the Problems
view” on page 183.
178
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Bookmarks You can manually add bookmarks to either a line of code or to a resource
(folder or document). You use bookmarks as a convenience, to keep track of and easily
navigate to items in your projects. You use the Bookmarks view to manage all bookmarks. For
more information, see “Adding and deleting bookmarks” on page 181.
N OT E
The Tasks and Bookmarks views are not displayed by default in the Flex Builder
development perspective. For more information about adding these views, see
“Opening views” on page 90.
Navigating markers
Markers are descriptions of and links to items in project resources. Whether generated
automatically by the compiler to indicate problems in your code, or added manually to help
you keep track of tasks or snippets of code, markers are displayed and managed in their
associated views. You can easily locate markers in your project from the Bookmarks, Problems,
and Tasks views, and navigate back to the location where the marker was set.
To show resource marker locations in the Navigator view:
1.
In the Bookmarks, Problems, or Tasks views, select a marker.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu, and select Show in
Navigator.
The resource that contains the marker is located and highlighted in the Navigator view.
To go to a marker location:
1.
Select a marker in the Bookmarks, Problems, or Tasks views.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the marker and select Go To.
The file that contains the marker is located and opened in the editor. If a marker is set on
a line of code, that line is highlighted.
About markers
179
Adding tasks
Tasks represent automatically or manually generated works items. All tasks are displayed and
managed in the Tasks view (Window > Other Views > Basic > Tasks), as shown in the
following example:
You can add tasks to a line of code in a file or to a file or folder.
To add a task to a line of code:
1.
Open a file in the editor, and then locate and select the line of code where you want to add
a task.
2.
Select Edit > Add Task.
The Add Task dialog box appears.
3.
Enter the task name and select a priority (High, Normal, Low), and click OK.
A task marker icon ( ) is added next to the line of code.
To add a task to a resource:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a resource.
2.
Select Edit > Add Task.
The Add Task dialog box appears.
3.
Enter the task name and select a priority (High, Normal, Low), and click OK.
N OT E
180
The resource, as shown in the Navigator view, does not indicate that it was marked.
You can view and manage all task markers in the Task view.
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Completing and deleting tasks
When a task is complete, you can mark it and then optionally delete it from the Tasks view.
To mark a task as complete:
■
In the Tasks view, select the task in the selection column, as shown in the following
example:
To delete a task:
1.
In the Tasks view, select a task.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) the task and select Delete.
To delete all completed tasks:
■
In the Tasks view, right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) anywhere in the view to
display the context menu and select Delete Completed Tasks.
Adding and deleting bookmarks
You can use bookmarks to keep track of and easily navigate to items in your projects. All
bookmarks are displayed and managed in the Bookmarks view (Window > Show Views >
Other), as shown in the following example:
To add a bookmark to a line of code:
1.
Open a file in the editor, and then locate and select the line of code to add a bookmark to.
2.
Select Edit > Add Bookmark.
The Add Bookmark dialog box appears.
3.
Enter the bookmark name, and click OK.
A bookmark icon ( ) is added next to the line of code.
About markers
181
To add a bookmark to a resource:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a resource.
2.
Select Edit > Add Bookmark.
The Add Bookmark dialog box appears.
3.
Enter the bookmark name, and click OK.
N OT E
The resource, as shown in the Navigator view, does not indicate that it was marked.
You can view and manage all bookmarks in the Bookmarks view.
To delete a bookmark:
1.
In the Bookmarks view, select the bookmark to delete.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to the bookmark and select Delete.
About syntax error checking
The Flex Builder compiler identifies syntax errors and reports them to you so that you can
correct them as you’re working, before you attempt to run your application.
When code syntax errors are encountered, you’re notified in the following ways:
■
An error indicator is added next to the line of code, as the following example shows:
■
The Outline view indicates the error with an exclamation mark in the affected lines of
code, as the following example shows:
182
Code Editing in Flex Builder
■
The Problems view lists an error symbol and message. Clicking the error message locates
and highlights the line of code in the editor, as the following example shows:
Coding syntax errors are identified when your projects are built. If you don’t fix syntax errors
before you run your application, you are warned that errors exist. Depending on the nature
and severity of the errors, your application might not run properly until the errors are
corrected.
Using the Problems view
As you enter and save your code, Flex Builder compiles it in the background and displays
syntax errors and warnings (problems) to you using the Problems view. Each error or warning
contains a message, the file and folder in which it is located, and its line number in the file.
You can quickly navigate to the line of code by double-clicking it. The file is opened in the
editor and the line of code is highlighted.
To go to the line of code where an error or warning occurs:
■
Double-click a problem in the Problems view or select a problem and then right-click
(Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select Go To.
To show the affected resource in the Navigator view:
■
Select the problem and then right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the
context menu and select Show in Navigator. The resource is highlighted in the Navigator
view.
Problems remain in the Problems view until you correct them or they are otherwise resolved.
About syntax error checking
183
Code editing keyboard shortcuts
The following table contains a list of keyboard shortcuts that are useful when editing code.
For a complete list of available keyboard shortcuts, see “Accessing keyboard shortcuts”
on page 101. For information about editing existing or creating new keyboard shortcuts, see
“Changing keyboard shortcuts” on page 96.
Name
Keyboard shortcut
Description
Switch between Source
and Design mode
Control+‘
Command+’ on
Macintosh
Switches between the MXML editor’s
Source and Design modes.
Go to Documentation (Flex Shift+F2
Builder plug-in)
Find in API Reference
(Flex Builder stand-alone)
When you edit MXML or ActionScript,
selecting a language element and
pressing Shift+F2 displays language
reference Help for the selected
element. For more information, see
“Getting help while writing code”
on page 170.
Context-sensitive Help
F1
Displays context-sensitive Help for the
currently selected workbench element
(editor, view, dialog box, and so on).
For more information, see “Using
context-sensitive help” on page 21.
Add Block Comment
Control+Shift+C
Command+Shift+C on
Macintosh
Adds block comment formatting to the
currently selected lines of code or adds
a comment at the insertion point. For
more information, see “Adding
comment blocks” on page 177.
Add CDATA
Control+Shift+D
Command+Shift+D on
Macintosh
Adds a CDATA statement at the
insertion point so that you can add
ActionScript to an MXML document.
Highlight Matching
Bracket
Control+Shift+P
Command+Shift+P on
Macintosh
Highlights the matching brackets of
the selected code statement.
Content Assist
Control+Space
Displays code hinting. For more
Command+Shift+Space information, see “Using Content
on Macintosh
Assist” on page 169.
184
Code Editing in Flex Builder
Name
Keyboard shortcut
Description
Go to Definition
F3
Open the source of an external code
definition. For more information, see
“Opening code definitions”
on page 175.
Last Edit Location
Control+Q
Highlights the last edited line of code.
Organize Imports
Control+Shift+O
Command+Shift+O on
Macintosh
When editing ActionScript, using this
keyboard shortcut alphabetizes any
import statements contained in the
document. For more information, see
“Organizing import statements”
on page 177.
Open Type
Control+Shift+T
Command+Shift+T on
Macintosh
Quickly browse all class types. For
more information, see “Browsing and
opening types” on page 175.
Open Resource
Control+Shift+R
Command+Shift+R on
Macintosh
Displays the Open Resource dialog
box where you can quickly search for
and open a resource in the editor.
Go to Line
Control+L
Command+L on
Macintosh
Displays the Go to Line dialog box
where you can enter a line number and
navigate to it in the editor.
Quick Outline
Control+O
Displays the Outline view in Quick
mode in the editor. For more
information, see “Using Quick Outline
view in the editor” on page 174.
Code editing keyboard shortcuts
185
186
Code Editing in Flex Builder
10
CHAPTER 10
Building Projects
Adobe Flex Builder 2 automatically builds your projects into applications, creating
application and library files, placing the output files in the proper location, and alerting you
to any errors encountered during compilation.
If you need to modify the default build settings, there are several options to control how your
projects are built into applications. For example, you can set build preferences on individual
projects or on all the projects in your workspace, modify the build output path, change the
build order, and so on. You can also create custom build instructions using third-party build
tools such as the Apache Ant utility.
When your applications are ready to be released, you have the option of publishing all or
selected parts of the application source code. Users can view your application source code in a
web browser, similar to the way they are able to view HTML source code.
This topic contains the following sections:
Understanding how projects are built . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Customizing project builds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
Advanced build options. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
Publishing application source code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
187
Understanding how projects are built
When your Flex and ActionScript projects are built, a release and debug version of your
application SWF files are placed in the project output folder along with the HTML wrapper
files. (Flex Data Services projects may be compiled by Flex Builder or on the server when
accessed). When a Flex library project is built, a SWC file is generated.
The debug version of your application contains debugging information and is used when
debugging your application. The release version does not include the additional debugging
information and is therefore smaller in size than the debug version. An HTML wrapper file
contains a link to the application SWF file and is used to run or debug your application in a
web browser. In a standard Flex application, a typical output folder resembles the following
example.
You can run or debug your Flex and ActionScript applications either in a web browser or in
the stand-alone Flash Player. You control how your applications are run or debugged by
modifying the project’s launch configuration (see “Running your applications” on page 205).
For more information about running and debugging your applications, see “Running and
Debugging Applications” on page 203.
When you use Flex Data Services, you create Flex applications that leverage the Flex server
technologies. When building Flex Data Services applications, you have the option of
compiling the output files locally using Flex Builder or on the server when the application is
first accessed.
Build basics
MXML and ActionScript 3.0 are compiled languages. Unlike interpreted languages such as
JavaScript that can be immediately executed by their run-time environments, MXML and
ActionScript 3.0 must be converted into a compiled format before they can be executed by
Flash Player. This process, along with the generation of related output files, is called building.
188
Building Projects
Flex Builder automatically builds your projects whenever a file in your project is changed and
saved. While you have the option of building your applications manually, this should not be
necessary; however, understanding the build process and the output files that are generated
will help you to diagnose and repair project configuration problems that may arise.
Flex projects Source files and embedded assets (such as images) are compiled into a single
output format called SWF, which is a file that can be run directly in the stand-alone Flash
Player or in a web browser via an HTML wrapper file that is also generated by the build. These
files are generated into the project’s output folder (by default, this is named ‘bin’ but you can
name it anything you like).
Flex Data Services projects When using Flex Data Services. you have the option of
creating projects that are compiled on the server. When the MXML application file is first
accessed (through a web browser), it is compiled into a SWF file.
It’s important to note that even though you can configure FDS projects to be compiled on the
server, Flex Builder compiles these projects as you’re developing your applications so that the
compiler can validate code syntax and display error messages. These projects have no output
folder option and Flex Builder does not generate output files.
ActionScript 3.0 projects Like Flex projects, ActionScript 3.0 projects compile source files
and embedded assets into a SWF file.
Flex library projects
A library project’s source files are components and related resources.
When library projects are built, a SWC file is generated into the output folder. Archived into
the SWC file is a SWF file containing the components and resources and a catalog.xml file
that is the manifest of the elements contained within the SWF file.
Automatic builds
In the standalone configuration of Flex Builder, your applications are built automatically. In
the plug-in configuration, you must select the Build Automatically option yourself. While you
have the option of building your applications manually, as mentioned above, this should not
be necessary. It’s important to keep in mind that turning off automatic builds also prevents
the compiler from identifying syntax errors and displaying warning and error messages as you
enter code. In other words, you won’t get any feedback in the Problems view until the project
is compiled; therefore, it’s best to set Flex Builder to build automatically. For more
information, see “Advanced build options” on page 195.
Understanding how projects are built
189
Advanced project build options
Using advanced build options, you can control the timing and scope of your builds. For
example, you can build a single project, all projects in the workspace, or create a working set
(a collection) of projects to build. All build commands are accessible from the Project menu,
as shown in the following example. For more information, see “Advanced build options”
on page 195.
The Flex Builder compiler is incremental, building only those resources that have been added
or affected by updates and ignoring all others. This saves time and system resources. You have
the option, however, to rebuild all the resources in the project. You do this by performing a
clean build. You might do this if your application is behaving erratically during testing and
you want to eliminate all potential sources of the problem by discarding and rebuilding all the
files in your project. For more information, see “Advanced build options” on page 195.
If you create dependencies between separate projects in the workspace, the compiler
automatically determines the order in which the projects are built, so these dependencies
resolve properly. You can, however, override the default build order and manually set the order
in which the projects in your workspace are built. For more information, see “Building
projects manually” on page 195.
You can also modify the build path, application list, and compiler settings for each project in
the workspace. For more information, see “Building projects manually” on page 195,
“Managing project application files” on page 64 and “Advanced build options” on page 195.
190
Building Projects
Build errors displayed in the Problems view
Errors encountered by the compiler during builds appear in the Problems view, which is
included in the development and debugging perspectives, and in the code editor, where lines
of code containing errors are marked with an x.
For more information about working with the Problems view, see “Using the Problems view”
on page 183.
Custom build scripts with Apache Ant
You can modify and extend the standard build process by using Apache Ant, which is an
open-source Java-based build tool.
For more information about creating custom builders, see “Customizing builds with Apache
Ant” on page 199.
Command line access to the Flex 2 framework compilers
You have direct command line access to use the Flex 2 framework compilers (mxmlc and
compc). When you install Flex Builder, the Flex framework prompt is available from the
Windows start menu (Programs > Adobe). For more information, see “Chapter 9, “About the
command-line compilers” in Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications.
Learn more about building projects in Flex Builder
If you haven’t already done so, review the getting started lesson “Create Your First
Application” in the Getting Started with Flex 2. For more information, see the following topics:
■
“Customizing project builds” on page 192
■
“Advanced build options” on page 195
Understanding how projects are built
191
Customizing project builds
Allowing Flex Builder to automatically build your applications using the default project
settings is the recommended approach to building your applications. You can, however,
customize project builds to suit your needs. For example, you may want to change the default
output folder or modify the compiler options.
For information about these customization options, see the following topics:
■
“Enabling and disabling automatic builds” on page 192
■
“Setting a project’s output folder” on page 193
■
“Modifying a project’s build path” on page 193
For more information about advanced control over the build process or creating highly
customized builds, see “Advanced build options” on page 195.
Enabling and disabling automatic builds
In the standalone configuration of Flex Builder, your projects are built automatically. In the
plug-in configuration, you need to select this option yourself. Flex Builder is designed to
automatically build your projects; turning this option off prevents the compiler from
identifying syntax errors and displaying warning and error messages as you enter code. For
more information about building your projects manually, see “Building projects manually”
on page 195.
To enable or disable automatic builds, do either of the following steps:
■
Select Project > Build Automatically.
■
Select Windows > Preferences from the main menu, and then select the General >
Workspace tab in the Preferences dialog box. Select or deselect the Build Automatically
option.
The Build Automatically option affects all projects in the workspace.
192
Building Projects
Setting a project’s output folder
When you create a project in Flex Builder, by default, the build output is generated into the
output folder. This doesn’t apply to Flex Data Services projects that use the server compile
option because the application is compiled on the server when you run it.
You can change the name of this folder when you create the project or after the project has
been created. You can either create a folder or select an existing folder in the workspace.
To change the build output folder:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) and select Properties from the context menu.
The Project Properties dialog box appears.
3.
Select the Flex Build Path properties page.
4.
Change the existing output folder by entering a new name or by navigating to an existing
folder in your project and selecting it.
NOTE
5.
You cannot change the output folder of a Flex Data Services application in this manner
because its location is controlled by the Flex server and is accessible only through the
project’s flex-config.xml file.
Click OK.
The existing output folder is replaced by the new output folder.
W A R NI N G
When you change the name of the output folder, the original output folder and all of
its contents will be deleted. You will need to rebuild the project to regenerate the
application SWF and HTML wrapper files.
Modifying a project’s build path
Each project has its own build path, which is a combination of the source path and the library
path. (Library project build paths are a little more complex. For more information, see “About
library projects” on page 78.) The source path is the location of the project MXML and
ActionScript source files. The library path is the location of the base Flex framework classes
and any custom Flex components that you have created, in the form of SWC files.
To modify the source path:
1.
Select a project in the Navigator view.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) and select Properties from the context menu.
The Project Properties dialog box appears.
Customizing project builds
193
3.
Select the Flex Build Path properties page. (If you’re working with an ActionScript project,
select the ActionScript Build Path properties page.)
4.
Add a folder to the source path by clicking the New Folder button.
5.
Enter a name for the folder or click the Browse button to select the location of the custom
classes.
You can also use path variables rather than entering the full path to the file system. You
can either enter the name of an existing path variable or create a new path variable; for
more information, see “Creating a path variable” on page 194.
6.
Modify the source path as needed, and click OK.
To modify the library path:
1.
Follow steps 1 through 3 of the previous procedure to access the Flex Build Path properties
page.
2.
Click the Library Path tab.
The library path contains references to the Flex framework classes, which are contained in
SWC files. A SWC file is an archive file for Flex components and other assets (for more
information, see “Using SWC files in your projects” on page 82).
You can edit the path to the framework or, if you’ve created custom Flex components, add
new folders or SWC files to the library path. You can also remove items from the path.
3.
Modify the library path as needed, and click OK.
Creating a path variable
Rather than linking to resources by entering the full path to the local or network folder where
you store your files, you can define path variables. For example, you can define a path variable
called Classes and then set the path to a folder on the file system. You then select Classes as the
location of the new linked folder. If the folder location changes, you can update the defined
path variable with the new location and all the projects that are linked to Classes continue to
access the resources.
To set or create a path variable:
1.
Select a project in the Navigator view.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) and select Properties from the context menu.
The Project Properties dialog box appears.
3.
Select the Flex Build Path properties page. (If you’re working with an ActionScript project,
select the ActionScript Build Path properties page.)
194
Building Projects
4.
You can create a path variable for any item on the path (this includes folders in the source
path and SWC folders, projects, and SWC files in the library path). As an example, on the
Source Path tab select the Add Folder button. The Add Folder dialog box appears.
5.
Enter a path variable using the following format: ${pathvariablename}.
N OT E
6.
If the variable doesn’t already exist, the path entry will fail. The list of existing
resource variables is available by selecting Windows > Preferences from the main
menu and then selecting General > Workspace > Linked Resources. You can also
manage linked resource variables on this properties page.
Click OK to add the path variable to the path.
Advanced build options
Flex Builder has advanced options for customizing project builds. You can, for example,
builds projects manually, change the default build order of projects in the workspace, and
create custom builders using the Apache Ant utility.
For more information about advanced build customization options, see the following topics:
■
“Building projects manually” on page 195
■
“Saving project resources automatically” on page 197
■
“Performing a clean build” on page 197
■
“Changing the project build order” on page 197
■
“Customizing builds with Apache Ant” on page 199
Building projects manually
When you build projects manually, you can control the timing and scope of the build. For
example, you can build a single project, all projects in the workspace, or create a working set
of projects or selected project resources and build only those projects and resources. A
working set is a collection of workspace resources (projects, files, and folders) that you can
select and group together and work with as you see fit. For more information about working
sets, see “Creating working sets” on page 92.
Advanced build options
195
The build options are available in the Project menu, as shown in the following example.
To build a single project:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project you want to build.
2.
Select Project > Build Project from the main menu.
The selected project is built, and new or updated release and debug application files are
added to the project’s output folder.
N OT E
If any of your project files need to saved, you are prompted to do so before the build
begins. To bypass this save prompt, you can set workspace preferences to save files
automatically before a build begins.
To build all projects in the workspace:
■
Select Project > Build All from the main menu.
All projects in the workspace are built and application files are added to each project’s
output folder. You are then prompted to save files if you haven’t already chosen to save files
automatically before a build begins (see previous note).
To build a working set, do either of the following:
■
Define a working set by selecting Project > Build Working Set > Select Working Set from
the main menu. The Select Working Set dialog box appears. Create a working set by
selecting the New button. For more information about creating a working set, see
“Creating working sets” on page 92.
■
Choose an existing working set by selecting Project > Build Working Set > Select Working
Set from the main menu.
All projects in the working set are built and the application files are added to the project’s
output folder.
196
Building Projects
Saving project resources automatically
When you build your projects manually, you are prompted to save all resources before the
build begins. To bypass this prompt, you can set workspace preferences to automatically save
project resources.
To save resources automatically:
1.
Select Windows > Preferences > General > Workspace.
2.
Select the Save Automatically Before Build option.
3.
You can modify how often resources are saved by entering a value (in minutes) in the
Workspace Save Interval text box.
Performing a clean build
After a project has been built, subsequent builds affect only the resources that have been
added or modified. To force the Flex Builder compiler to rebuild all resources in a project, you
can perform a clean build. You might perform a clean build if, for example, you want to
eliminate all potential sources of a problem you encountered when testing your application.
To perform a clean build:
1.
Select Project > Clean from the main menu.
The Clean dialog box appears.
2.
Select the project (or projects) whose build files you want to discard and rebuild from
scratch.
3.
Click OK.
Changing the project build order
You can create relationships between projects when working with multiple projects in the
workspace. For example, you can import ActionScript classes from one project into another.
Creating relationships between projects affects the order in which your projects are built.
By default, the compiler builds related projects in the order required to build them all
properly. For example, if a project refers to classes contained in another project, the project
containing the classes is built first. In most cases, relying on the compiler to build projects in
the proper order is sufficient and your applications will be generated successfully.
Advanced build options
197
You can, however, change the build order. For example, you might change the build order if
you’ve created a custom Ant builder and associated it with a project in your workspace, and
you need to build that project before other projects are built. For more information about
creating custom builders, see “Customizing builds with Apache Ant” on page 199.
To change the project build order:
1.
Select Window > Preferences from the main menu.
The Flex Builder Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select General > Workspace > Build Order.
The Build Order dialog box displays the following options:
Use Default Build Order The default build order is dictated by the dependencies
between projects and is handled by the compiler.
Project Build Order
You can manually set the build order for all the projects in the
workspace. You can also remove a project from the build order list; it will still be built, but
only after all the projects in the build order list.
Max Iterations When Building With Cycles If your projects contain cyclic references
(something you should avoid), you can set the number of build attempts so that the compiler
can properly build all the projects. The default maximum number of iterations is 10.
3.
198
Modify the build order as needed, and click OK.
Building Projects
Customizing builds with Apache Ant
By creating a custom builder, you can modify and extend the standard build process. Flex
Builder contains a standard build script that is used to compile your applications. If needed,
you can create custom build scripts using Apache Ant, which is an open-source Java-based
build tool.
While developing Ant build scripts is beyond the scope of this guide, this topic shows you
how to create and apply a custom builder to your projects.
You can apply custom builders to all the Flex Builder project types.
To create a builder:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project and then right-click (Control-click on Macintosh)
to display the context menu and select Properties.
2.
Select the Builder properties page. If you’re using other Eclipse plug-ins, there may be more
than one builder listed. Flex Builder provides a builder named Flex, which you cannot
modify.
3.
Select New and the Configuration Type dialog box appears.
4.
Select the appropriate configuration type. Flex Builder supports the program type. Select
it and click OK to continue. The new builder properties page appears. This is where you
define the builder properties and reference the Ant script (an XML file).
5.
Once you’ve defined a new builder, you can apply it to the project by clicking OK.
Detailed information about working with Ant build scripts can be found in the Eclipse
documentation, which is available at http://help.eclipse.org/help31/index.jsp.
Publishing application source code
When your applications are ready to be released, you have the option of allowing users to view
your application’s source code and assets. As with HTML, users can access and view the
source in a web browser by selecting View Source from the context menu. The source viewer
formats and colors the code so that it is easy to read. Allowing source viewing is a convenient
way to share code with other Flex and ActionScript 3.0 developers.
Publishing application source code
199
To publish an application:
1.
With the completed application project open in the editor, select Project > Publish
Application Source. The Publish Application Source dialog box appears:
2.
Select the application file that will include the View Source menu. By default, the main
application file is selected.
3.
Uncheck the source files that you do not want to be published.
4.
(Optional) Change the source output folder. By default, a source view folder is added to
the project’s output folder.
5.
Click OK.
When users run your application, they can access the source code by selecting View Source
from the context menu. The source code appears in the default web browser as a source tree
that reflects the structure of the resources (packages, folders, and files) contained in your
application (the ones which you decided to publish). Selecting a source element displays the
code in the browser. Users can also download the entire set of source files by selecting the
Download.zip file link.
NO T E
200
Because of Internet Explorer security restrictions, you may not be able to view the
source on your local development computer. If this is the case, you will need to deploy
the application to a web server to view the source.
Building Projects
Adding the view source menu to ActionScript projects
In Flex projects, you add the View Source menu option to your application using the Publish
Application Source dialog box (see the preceding section). In ActionScript applications, you
must add this option manually.
The Flex framework contains the following function that you can use in an ActionScript
application’s constructor to enable the view source menu:
com.adobe.viewsource.ViewSource.addMenuItem(obj:InteractiveObject,
url:String, hideBuiltins:Boolean = true)
You can use this in your ActionScript applications as shown here:
package {
import flash.display.MovieClip;
import com.adobe.viewsource.ViewSource;
public class MyASApp extends MovieClip
{
public function MyASApp()
{
ViewSource.addMenuItem(this, "srcview/index.html");
// ... additional application code here
}
}
}
This example demonstrates adding the view source menu using the default location of the
source folder (srcview). If you’ve changed the location of the source folder, your code should
use the correct location.
Publishing application source code
201
202
Building Projects
CHAPTER 11
11
Running and Debugging
Applications
To test your applications in Adobe Flex Builder 2, you run the application SWF files in a web
browser or the stand-alone Flash Player. If you encounter errors in your applications, you can
use the debugging tools to set and manage breakpoints in your code; control application
execution by suspending, resuming, and terminating the application; step into and over the
code statements; select critical variables to watch; evaluate watch expressions while the
application is running; and so on.
This topic contains the following sections:
Understanding running and debugging applications in Flex Builder. . . . . . . . . . . 203
Running your applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Managing launch configurations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .207
Debugging your applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
Understanding running and debugging
applications in Flex Builder
After your projects are built into applications (see “Building Projects” on page 187), you can
run and debug them in Flex Builder.
Use launch configurations to run and debug applications
A launch configuration defines such things as the project name, the main application file, the
path to the run and debug versions of the application, and so on. Flex Builder contains a
default Flex application launch configuration that is used to create launch configurations
automatically for each of your projects. For more information, see “Managing launch
configurations” on page 207.
N OT E
In the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder, a launch configuration is not automatically
created for you. You need to create one the first time you run your application. See
“Running your applications” on page 205.
203
Customize launch configurations
You can customize the launch configurations that Flex Builder creates automatically for you.
For example, you can switch the main application file or modify the path to point to the SWF
file rather than the HTML wrapper file so that you can run and debug your applications
directly in the Flash desktop player instead of a web browser. You can also create separate
launch configurations for each of the application files in your project. For more information,
see “Creating or editing a launch configuration” on page 207.
Run and debug applications in a browser or Flash desktop player
By default, the launch configuration specifies that the run and debug paths point to the
HTML wrapper files in the output folder of your project; therefore, your applications are run
and debugged in Flash Player running in a web browser. You can instead run and debug your
applications in the Flash desktop player (see “Running the application SWF file in the standalone Flash Player” on page 209). You can also override the system default web browser
setting and run your applications in any browser you have installed (see “Changing the default
web browser” on page 209).
Run debugging tools from the code editor
The Flex Builder Debugging perspective provides all of the debugging tools you expect from a
robust, full-featured development tool. You can set and manage breakpoints; control
application execution by suspending, resuming, and terminating the application; step into
and over the code; watch variables; evaluate expressions; and so on. For more information
about the Flex Builder debugging tools, see “Debugging your applications” on page 210.
Activate the Debugging perspective at a breakpoint
You add breakpoints to executable lines of code in the code editor. When you begin a
debugging session, the application runs until the first breakpoint is hit. The Debugging
perspective is then activated and you can inspect the state of and manage the application by
using the debugging tools. For more information, see “Starting a debugging session”
on page 211.
204
Running and Debugging Applications
Learn more about running and debugging applications
If you haven’t already done so, review the getting started lesson in Chapter 17, “Debug
an Application” in Getting Started with Flex 2. For more information, see the following
sections in this topic:
■
“Running your applications” on page 205
■
“Managing launch configurations” on page 207
■
“Debugging your applications” on page 210
Running your applications
Your applications are run (and debugged) based on a launch configuration. When you create
new Flex and ActionScript 3.0 applications, a launch configuration specifies the location of
the built applications files, the main application file, and so on. You can modify the launch
configuration or create custom launch configurations. For more information, see “Managing
launch configurations” on page 207.
Running your projects opens the main application SWF file in your default web browser or
directly in the Flash desktop player. For information about changing the default web browser
or running and debugging with the Flash desktop player, see “Changing the default web
browser” on page 209 and “Running the application SWF file in the stand-alone Flash Player”
on page 209.
You can run your projects in a number of ways in Flex Builder. For example, you can use the
Run command from the workbench main menu and toolbar, and from the Navigator view
and code editor pop-up menus.
To run the currently selected project with the default Flex application launch
configuration:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project to run.
2.
On the main workbench toolbar, click the Run button ( ). Or, in the code editor, rightclick (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the pop-up menu and select Run As > Flex
Application.
If your project is not built yet, Flex Builder builds and then runs it.
3.
Your application appears in your default web browser or the stand-alone Flash Player.
Running your applications
205
You can run and debug any project files that have been set as application files. (See “Managing
project application files” on page 64.)
To create a custom launch configuration:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project you want to run and open the main application
file in the editor.
2.
On the main workbench toolbar, click the Run drop-down list and select Run.
The Create, Manage, and Run Configurations dialog box appears.
3.
In the list of launch configurations, select Flex Application.
4.
Click New.
5.
Enter the launch configuration name.
6.
Optional. Modify the configuration properties as needed.
7.
Optional. To run the application immediately, click Run.
To run other application files in your project:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project to run.
2.
On the main workbench toolbar, click the Run drop-down list.
N O TE
3.
The Run button has two elements: the main action button, and the drop-down list
that shows all of the application files in the project that can be run or debugged.
When you click the main action button, the project’s default application file is run.
You can alternatively click the drop-down list and select any of the application files in
the project. You can also access the launch configuration dialog box and create or
edit a launch configuration by selecting the Run command.
Select the application you want to run.
206
Running and Debugging Applications
To run a custom launch configuration:
■
Select Run > Run from the main menu.
The launch configuration dialog box appears. You can select an existing custom launch
configuration or create a new one. See “Managing launch configurations” on page 207.
■
On the main workbench toolbar, click the Run button’s drop down list (see note
above) and select Run. The launch configuration dialog box appears. You can select an
existing custom launch configuration or create one.
If you’re using the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder, the run command works a bit
differently. Instead of running the currently selected project, it runs the most recently
launched configuration. You can also select from a list of recently launched configurations.
To run the last launched configuration:
■
Click the Run button on the main toolbar (
on Macintosh).
) or press Control+F11 (Command+F11
Managing launch configurations
Launch configurations are used to both run and debug applications. Flex Builder provides a
default launch configuration for Flex and ActionScript 3.0 applications. When you first run
or debug a project, a project-specific launch configuration is created. You can edit the launch
configuration to change the default main application file or to modify the default launch path
to run or debug in the Flash desktop player rather than in a web browser.
For more information about creating and customizing launch configurations, see the
following topics:
■
“Creating or editing a launch configuration” on page 207
■
“Running the application SWF file in the stand-alone Flash Player” on page 209
■
“Changing the default web browser” on page 209
■
“Debugging your applications” on page 210
Creating or editing a launch configuration
When you create and then build a project, it is ready to be run or debugged. Both running
and debugging of the applications in your project are controlled by a launch configuration. By
default, Flex Builder creates a launch configuration for each of the application files in your
project the first time you run or debug them. The configurations are based on the default Flex
application configuration and you can edit them as you see fit.
Managing launch configurations
207
Launch configurations are managed in the Create, Manage, and Run Configurations dialog
box.
To access and edit a launch configuration:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
With a project file open in the code editor, right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to
display the pop-up menu and select Run As > Run or Debug As > Debug.
The Create, Manage, and Run Configurations dialog box appears:
3.
Select the launch configuration to edit.
A number of configurations may be listed if you have other projects in the workspace, if
you’ve set other project files as application files, or if other Eclipse plug-ins are installed.
By default, the first time you run a project, Flex Builder creates a project-specific launch
configuration, which is based on the default Flex application launch configuration.
You can edit application-specific configurations. You can also create new a launch
configuration or base a new configuration on an existing configuration.
208
Running and Debugging Applications
4.
Modify the configuration preferences as needed, and click Run or Debug.
Running the application SWF file in the stand-alone
Flash Player
By default, your applications are run or debugged in your system’s default web browser. You
can change which web browser is used to run and debug applications (see “Changing the
default web browser” on page 209). You can also choose to run and debug your applications
in the stand-alone Flash Player by making a simple change to the application’s launch
configuration.
To run and debug applications in the Flash desktop player:
1.
Access the Create, Manage, and Run Configurations dialog box (see “Creating or editing a
launch configuration” on page 207).
2.
Select the launch configuration you want to modify.
3.
In the Main tab, deselect Use Defaults.
4.
In either or both of the Run and Debug paths, click Browse.
The file selection dialog box appears and lists the contents of the project’s build output
folder.
5.
Select the application SWF file (for example, myflexapp.swf).
If you’re modifying the debug path, select the debug version of the application SWF file
(for example, myflexapp-debug.swf ).
6.
Click Open to select the file and return to the configuration dialog box.
7.
Apply your changes and use the modified configuration to run or debug the application.
Changing the default web browser
Flex Builder uses the system default web browser when running and debugging applications.
While you can’t set each launch configuration to use a specific web browser, you can change
the workbench web browser setting, which affects how all of your applications are run and
debugged.
To change the default web browser:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
Managing launch configurations
209
2.
Select the General > Editors > Web Browser preferences page.
3.
Select a web browser from the list of web browsers installed on your system.
NO T E
The Use internal Web browser option does not apply to running and debugging
applications. Applications are always run and debugged in an external web browser.
You can also add, edit, and remove browsers from the list.
4.
Click OK to apply your changes.
Debugging your applications
Debugging is similar to running your applications, except that when debugging you can
control the execution of the application to stop at specific points in the code, to monitor
important variables, and to test fixes to your code. Both running and debugging use a
configuration to control how applications are launched. When debugging, you run the debug
version of the application file.
For an overview of the debugging tools available in the Flex Debugging perspective, see “The
Flex Debugging perspective” on page 37.
For more information about debugging your applications, see the following topics:
■
“Starting a debugging session” on page 211
■
“Adding and removing breakpoints” on page 211
210
Running and Debugging Applications
■
“Managing breakpoints in the Breakpoints view” on page 212
■
“Managing the debugging session in the Debug view” on page 214
■
“Managing variables in the Variables view” on page 215
■
“Using the Expressions view” on page 216
Starting a debugging session
To begin a debugging session, you run the application’s launch configuration in debugging
mode.
To debug an application:
1.
In the Navigator view, select the project to debug.
2.
Select the Debug button from the main workbench toolbar.
If you project isn’t already built, Flex Builder builds and then runs it in debug mode.
3.
Your application appears in your default web browser or the Flash desktop player and you
can then use the Flex Builder debugger to interact with it.
4.
When a breakpoint is reached, the Flex Debugging perspective is activated in the
workbench.
Starting a debugging session in the plug-in configuration of
Flex Builder
If you’re using the plug-in configuration of Flex Builder, the debug command works a bit
differently. Instead of running the currently selected project, it debugs the most recently
launched configuration. You can also select from a list of recently launched configurations.
Adding and removing breakpoints
You use breakpoints to suspend the execution of your application so that you can inspect your
code and use the Flex Builder debugging tools to explore options for fixing errors. You add
breakpoints in the code editor and then manage them in the Breakpoints view when you’re
debugging your applications.
You add breakpoints to executable lines of code. The debugger stops only at breakpoints set
on lines that contain the following:
■
MXML tags that contain an ActionScript event handler, such as
<mx:Button click="dofunction()" ...>
■
ActionScript lines such as those enclosed in an <mx:Script> tag or in an ActionScript file
Debugging your applications
211
■
Any executable line of code in an ActionScript file
You can set breakpoints as you’re coding or while you’re debugging.
To set a breakpoint in the code editor:
1.
Open a project file that contains ActionScript 3.0 code.
2.
Locate the line of code on which you want to set a breakpoint and in the marker bar
double-click to add a breakpoint.
The marker bar is along the left edge of the code editor.
A breakpoint marker is added to the marker bar and to the list of breakpoints in the
Breakpoints view of the Flex Debugging perspective.
When the debugger encounters a breakpoint, the application is suspended, the debugging
perspective is displayed, and the line of code marked with a breakpoint is highlighted in
the code editor. You then use the debugging commands to interact with the code. (See
“Managing the debugging session in the Debug view” on page 214).
To remove a breakpoint in the code editor:
■
In the marker bar, double-click an existing breakpoint.
The breakpoint is removed from the marker bar and the Breakpoints view of the Flex
Debugging perspective.
You manage breakpoints in the Breakpoints view. You can remove one or all breakpoints in
the list or disable them and re-enable them at a later time (see “Managing breakpoints in the
Breakpoints view” on page 212).
Managing breakpoints in the Breakpoints view
The Breakpoints view allows you to manage breakpoints during a debugging session by
removing them, disabling and enabling them, skipping them, and so on.
The following commands are available from the Breakpoints view toolbar and pop-up menu.
Command
Description
Go to File
Opens the file (if it isn’t already open) that contains the
breakpoint in the code editor and highlights the line of code
on which the breakpoint was set. You can also simply doubleclick the breakpoint to display it in the code editor.
Enable
Enables the selected breakpoints.
Disable
Disables the selected breakpoints. A disabled breakpoint
does not cause the execution of an application to be
suspended.
212
Running and Debugging Applications
Command
Description
Remove
Removes the selected breakpoints.
Remove All
Removes all breakpoints.
Show Breakpoints
Supported by Selected
Target
Displays breakpoints that are applicable to the select debug
target.
Skip All Breakpoints
Skips all breakpoints.
Removing breakpoints
You can remove one, a few, or all of the breakpoints in the Breakpoints view.
To remove breakpoints in the Breakpoints view:
■
Select a breakpoint from the list of breakpoints, and then click Remove in the Breakpoints
view toolbar.
You can also remove all the breakpoints in the Breakpoints view in a single action.
To remove all breakpoints from the Breakpoints view:
■
In the Breakpoints view, click Remove All in the Breakpoints view toolbar.
Disabling breakpoints
To bypass some or all of the breakpoints without removing them, you can disable them
instead.
To disable breakpoints:
■
In the Breakpoints view, deselect the breakpoint selection box.
■
Select one or more breakpoints, right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the
pop-up menu, and select Disable.
To enable breakpoints that are disabled, select them again, or use the pop-up menu and select
the Enable command.
Debugging your applications
213
Managing the debugging session in the Debug view
The Debug view is the control center of the debugging perspective. You use it to control the
execution of the application, to suspend, resume, or terminate the application, to step into
and over code, and so on.
The Debug view provides the following debug commands, which are available from the
Debug view toolbar and pop-up menu:
Command
Description
Resume
Resumes the suspended application.
Suspend
Suspends the application so that you can inspect, step into
the code, and so on.
Terminate
Terminates the debugging session.
Terminate and Relaunch
Terminates the current debugging session and relaunches
the application into a new debugging session.
Terminate and Remove
Terminates the debugging session and removes it from the
Debug view.
Terminate All
Terminates all active application debugging sessions. You
can only debug one Flex application at a time; however you
can simultaneously debug other types of applications (for
example, a Java application).
Disconnect
Disconnects the debugger when debugging remotely.
Remove All Terminated
Clears all terminated debugging sessions.
Use Step Filters
This command is not supported in Flex Builder.
Step Into
Steps into the called function and stops at the first line of
the function.
Step Over
Executes the current line of the function and then stops at
the next line of the function.
Step Return
Continues execution until the current function has returned
to its caller.
Show Qualified Names
This command is not supported in Flex Builder.
Copy Stack
Copies the selected stack to the clipboard.
Drop to Frame
This command is not supported in Flex Builder.
Relaunch
Re-launches the application into a new debugging session.
Properties
Displays the properties of the selected process in the
stack.
214
Running and Debugging Applications
Using the Console view
The Console view displays the output from trace statements placed in your ActionScript code
and also feedback from the debugger itself (status, warnings, errors, and so on).
The Console view provides the following commands, which are available from the Console
view toolbar and pop-up menu:
Command
Description
Open Link
Opens the linked file in the appropriate editor.
Clear Console
Clears all content from the Console view.
Terminate
Terminates the debugging session.
Remove All Terminated
Clears all terminated debugging sessions.
Scroll Lock
Prevents the Console view from scrolling.
Pin Console
Prevents the console from refreshing its contents when
another process is selected.
Managing variables in the Variables view
The Variables view displays the variables that the currently selected stack frame defines (in the
Debug view). Simple variables (name and value) are displayed on a single line. Complex
variables can be expanded to display their members. You use the Variables view to watch
variables by adding them to the Expressions view and to modify the value of variables during
the debugging session.
The Variables view provides the following actions, which are available from the Variables view
toolbar and pop-up menu:
Command
Description
Show type names
Displays the type names of variables.
Show logical structure
This command is not supported in Flex Builder.
Change value
Change the value of a selected variable.
Watch
Adds the selected variables to the Expressions view so that
they can be monitored.
Debugging your applications
215
To watch a variable:
1.
Select the variables or variable members to watch.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the pop-up menu and select Watch.
3.
The variables are added to the Expressions view.
To change the value of a variable:
1.
Select the variable to modify.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the pop-up menu and select Change
Value.
The Set Value dialog box appears.
3.
Enter the new value and click OK.
The variable contains the new value.
Modified variables are displayed in red.
To find variables:
■
To locate a variable or variable member in the Variables view, with the Variables view
selected, begin entering the name of the variable you’re looking for. You can also use the
wildcard character (*) to search for words that occur anywhere within a variable name (for
example, “*color”).
The list of variables scrolls to highlight the appropriate variable names as you type.
Using the Expressions view
You use the Expressions view to watch variables you selected in the Variables view and to add
and evaluate watch expressions while debugging your applications.
While debugging, you can inspect and modify the value of the variables that you selected to
watch. You can also add watch expressions, which are code expressions that are evaluated
whenever debugging is suspended. Watch expressions are useful for watching variables that
may go out of scope when you step into a different function and are therefore not visible in
the view.
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Running and Debugging Applications
The Expressions view provides the following commands, which are available from the
Variables view toolbar and pop-up menu:
Command
Description
Select All
Selects all items in the Expressions view.
Copy Variables
Copies the selected variable to the clipboard.
Show Type Names
Shows the object types for items in the Expressions view.
Show Logical Structure
This command is not supported in Flex Builder.
Remove
Removes the selected variable or watch expression.
Remove All
Removes all variables and watch expressions from the
Expressions view.
Change Value
Change the value of a selected variable or watch expression.
Changes are valid during the debugging session only.
Add Watch Expression
Displays the Add Watch Expression dialog box, which you
can use to add a new watch expression.
Reevaluate Watch
Expression
Reevaluates the selected watch expression.
Disable
Disables the selected variable or watch expression.
Enable
Enables the selected variable or watch expression.
Edit Watch Expression
Displays the Edit Watch Expression dialog box, which you
can use to edit the selected watch expression.
Debugging your applications
217
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Running and Debugging Applications
CHAPTER 12
12
Working with Data in
Flex Builder
In Adobe Flex Builder, you can drag data-driven controls from the Components view into
your application in Design mode. Then, you interact with data and the data-driven controls
directly in your MXML and ActionScript code in Source mode. This topic provides you with
an overview of how to work with data and also contains information about managing Flash
Player data access security issues and using Flex Builder to work with a proxy service.
This topic contains the following sections:
■
“About working with data in Flex Builder” on page 219
■
“Managing Flash Player security” on page 223
About working with data in Flex Builder
You work with data in Flex Builder by directly modifying your Flex and ActionScript
application code. This section provides an overview of working with data and includes
references to in-depth information in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Data-driven controls and containers
Flex provides you with control and container components from which you build your Flex
application user interface. A number of these components present data to users, which they
can select and interact with when using the application. A few examples of how data-driven
controls are used include the following:
■
On an address form you provide a way for users to select their home country (or other
typical form input) using the ComboBox or List controls.
■
In a shopping cart application, you use the TileList or HorizontalList controls to present
product data that includes images.
■
You provide standard navigation options using containers such as the TabBar, LinkBar,
and ButtonBar controls.
219
Common to all of the data-driven controls is that you provide data input to them with a data
provider (discussed in the next section).
For information about using the data-driven controls, see Chapter 12, “Using Data-Driven
Controls” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Data providers and collections
A data provider is a collection of objects that contains data required by a component. Because
the data provider is separate from the component, it can be used by multiple components and
is in this sense a “model” that can be used by many views.
The following is a simple example of how a data provider is defined (as an ActionScript array)
and used by a control:
<mx:Application>
<mx:Script><![CDATA[
public var stateArray:Array = ["AL", "AK", "AR"];
]]></mx:Script>
<mx:ComboBox id="stateCB0" dataProvider="{stateArray}" />
</mx:Application>
For more information about data providers and collections, see Chapter 7, “Using Data
Providers and Collections” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Data binding
In the code example from the previous section, you may have noticed that the value of the
ComboBox control’s dataProvider property is "{stateArray}". This is an example of data
binding.
A data binding copies the value of an object (the source) to another object (the destination).
After an object is bound to another object, changes made to the source are automatically
reflected in the destination.
The following example binds the text property of a TextInput control (the source) to the text
property of a Label control (the destination) so that text entered in the TextInput control is
displayed by the Label control:
<mx:TextInput id="LNameInput"></mx:TextInput>
...
<mx:Label text="{LNameInput.text}"></mx:Label>
To bind data from one object to another, you use either the curly brace ({ }) syntax (as shown
in the example) or the <mx:Binding> tag. For more information, see Chapter 38, “Binding
data with curly braces” and Chapter 38, “Binding data with the <mx:Binding> tag” in Flex 2
Developer’s Guide.
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Working with Data in Flex Builder
Data models
A data model is an object you can use to temporarily store data in memory so that it can be
easily manipulated. You can define a data model in ActionScript, in MXML using a tag such
as <mx:Model>, or any object that contains properties. As an example, the following data
model shows information such as a person’s name, age, and phone number:
<mx:Model id="Employee">
<name>
<first>Jennifer</first>
<last>Nadeau</last>
</name>
<age>30</age>
<work_tel>555-555-5555</work_tel>
</mx:Model>
The fields of a data model can contain static data (as in the example), or you can use data
binding to pass data to and from the data model.
You can also define the data model within an XML file. You then reference the XML file
through the file system or through a URL using the <mx:Model> tag’s source property, as the
following example shows:
<mx:Model source="content.xml" id="Contacts"/>
<mx:Model source="http://www.somesite.com/companyinfo.xml" id="myCompany"/>
For more information about data models, see Chapter 39, “Storing Data” in Flex 2 Developer’s
Guide.
Data validation
You use data validation to ensure that the data the user enters into your application is valid.
For example, if you want the user to enter a valid ZIP code you use a ZIP code data validator.
Flex provides predefined data validators for the following types of data: credit card, currency,
date, e-mail, number, phone number, regular expression, social security, string, and ZIP code.
Data validators are nonvisual Flex components, which means that you do not access them
from the Components panel. Instead, you work with them in code, as the following MXML
example shows:
<!-- Define the ZipCodeValidator. -->
<mx:ZipCodeValidator id="zcV" source="{zipcodeInput}" property="text"/>
<!-- Define the TextInput control for entering the zip code. -->
<mx:TextInput id="zipcodeInput"/>
In this MXML example, the validator is defined with the appropriate MXML tag and it is
bound to the ID property of a TextInput control. At run time, when the user enters the phone
number into the TextInput control, the number is immediately validated.
About working with data in Flex Builder
221
You can, of course, use data validators in ActionScript by defining a variable as an instance of
a validator class and then creating a function to bind it to the input control.
Data validators are often used with data models. For more information, see Chapter 40,
“Validating Data” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Data formatting
To display the proper format of certain types of data in your application, you use a data
formatter. Flex provides predefined data formatters for the following types of data: currency,
date, number, phone, and ZIP code.
Data formatters are bound to input controls and they properly format data after it has been
entered by the user. For example, a user may enter a date in this format:
120105
Bound to the text input control is a data formatter that stores and displays the date in this
format:
12/01/05
As with data validators, data formatters are nonvisual Flex components that you may work
with either as MXML tags or ActionScript classes.
For more information, see Chapter 41, “Formatting Data” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Data services
When your applications have complex requirements for accessing and managing data, you use
advanced data services that help you move data to and from your applications.
In Flex, data services are included as part of Flex Data Services, a separate product (see “About
Flex Data Services” in Getting Started with Flex 2). When you install Flex Data Services, you
can use Flex Builder to create projects that implement the following data services:
RPC Services allow you to send and receive data using the following remote procedure call
(RPC) services: HTTPService, WebService, and RemoteObject. Both HTTPService and
WebService can be used by any Flex application. The RemoteObject service requires an
additional server, such as Flex Data Services, to process the RemoteObject requests. Each
enables you to make asynchronous requests to remote services that process the requests and
then returns data directly to your Flex application. For more information, see Chapter 42,
“About RPC services” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
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Working with Data in Flex Builder
Flex Data Management Service allows you to create applications that work with distributed
data and to also manage large collections of data and nested data relationships, such as one-toone and one-to-many relationships. For more information, see Chapter 42, “About the Data
Management Service” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Flex Message Service allows you to create applications that can send messages to and receive
messages from other applications, including Flex applications and Java Message Service (JMS)
applications. For more information, see Chapter 42, “About messaging” in Flex 2 Developer’s
Guide.
NO T E
When using Flex Builder to develop applications using data services, you must configure
a proxy if data is accessed from a domain other than the domain from which the
application was loaded. See “Managing Flash Player security” on page 223.
Learn more about working with data
If you haven’t already done so, review the getting started lessons Chapter 9, “Retrieve and
Display Data” and Chapter 18, “Use Web Services” in Getting Started with Flex 2. For more
information about working with data, see the Flex 2 Developer’s Guide topics noted above.
Managing Flash Player security
Flash Player does not allow an application to receive data from a domain other than the
domain from which it was loaded, unless it has been given explicit permission. If you load
your application SWF file from http://mydomain.com, it cannot load data from http://
yourdomain.com. This security sandbox prevents malicious use of Flash Player capabilities.
(JavaScript uses a similar security model to prevent malicious use of JavaScript.)
When you need to access data from a Flex application, you have three choices:
■
Add a cross-domain policy file to the root of the server that hosts the data service. See
“Using cross-domain policy files” on page 224.
■
Place your application SWF file on the same server that hosts the data service.
■
On the same server that contains your application SWF file, create a proxy that calls a data
service hosted on another server. “Setting up Flex Builder to use a proxy for accessing
remote data” on page 225.
Managing Flash Player security
223
Using cross-domain policy files
A cross-domain policy file is a simple XML file that gives Flash Player permission to access
data from a domain other than the domain on which the application resides. Without this
policy file, the user is prompted to grant access permission through a dialog box; a situation
you want to avoid.
The cross-domain policy file (named crossdomain.xml) is placed in the root of the server (or
servers) containing the data you want to access. The following is an example of a crossdomain policy file:
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE cross-domain-policy SYSTEM "http://www.adobe.com/xml/dtds/crossdomain-policy.dtd">
<cross-domain-policy>
<allow-access-from domain="www.yourdomain.com" />
</cross-domain-policy>
For more information about configuring cross-domain policy files, see the following tech
note: http://www.adobe.com/go/tn_14213.
Setting up a proxy to access remote data
Another option for managing Flash Player security (aside from using a cross-domain policy
file) is to use a proxy. Flex Data Services provides a complete proxy management system for
Flex applications. You can also create a simple proxy service using a web scripting language
such as ColdFusion, JSP, PHP, or ASP.
The proxy service processes requests from the application to the remote service and responses
from the remote service back to the application (Flash Player).
TIP
When developing your applications, a common technique is to host the proxy on your
local computer. To do this, you need to run a web server and scripting language on your
local development computer.
For more information about creating your own proxy, see the following tech note: http://
www.adobe.com/go/tn_16520.
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Working with Data in Flex Builder
Setting up Flex Builder to use a proxy for accessing
remote data
After you’ve set up a proxy to access data from a remote service, you place the application files
in the same domain as the proxy. In Flex Builder, you can modify both the project build
settings and launch configuration to manage the use of a proxy.
If you use Flex Builder to compile your applications and the proxy server is also set up on your
local development machine, you can modify the project build settings to automatically copy
the compiled application files to the appropriate location on your Web server.
To modify the project build path:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) and select Properties from the context menu.
The Project Properties dialog box appears.
3.
Select the Flex Build Path properties page.
4.
Change the existing output folder by entering a new path or by browsing to the appropriate
folder of your web server (for example: C:\inetpub\wwwroot\myApp\).
5.
Click OK.
To run and debug the application from the web server, you need to modify the project’s
launch configuration.
To modify the launch configuration:
1.
With the project’s main application file open in Flex Builder, right-click (Control-click on
Macintosh) in the editor and select Run As > Run from the context menu. The Launch
Configuration dialog box appears.
2.
Select the project’s launch configuration from the list of configurations.
3.
On the Main tab you can modify the launch path by deselecting the Use Defaults check
box.
4.
In the Run input box, enter the URL to the main application HTML wrapper file (for
example: http://localhost/myApp/myApp.html). If you’re running the application directly
in the stand-alone Flash Player, instead of a web browser, enter the main application SWF
file.
5.
In the Debug input box, enter the URL to the debug version of the application (for
example: http://localhost/myApp/myApp-debug.html or http://localhost/myApp/myAppdebug.swf).
6.
Click Apply and then Close.
Managing Flash Player security
225
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Working with Data in Flex Builder
CHAPTER 13
13
Flex Builder User Interface
Reference
This topic contains descriptions of the Adobe Flex Builder 2 user interface elements (views,
editors, dialog boxes, preferences, and properties).
N OT E
You may find in-depth information about the Eclipse workbench features by referring to
the Eclipse Workbench User’s Guide at http://help.eclipse.org/help31/index.jsp.
This topic contains the following sections:
■
“Setting project properties”
■
“Using Flex Builder views”
■
“Creating project resources”
■
“Setting editor preferences”
■
“Setting running and debugging preferences”
Setting project properties
This section provides information about setting project properties.
■
“Setting project text encoding properties”
■
“Setting project compiler properties”
■
“Setting project application file properties”
■
“Setting Flex and ActionScript project build path properties”
■
“Setting Flex library project build path properties”
■
“Setting Flex server properties”
■
“Setting project builder properties”
■
“Setting project references”
227
Setting project text encoding properties
Use the Info properties page to specify Flex, ActionScript, and Flex Library project text
encoding properties.
To specify text encoding properties:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select Properties
> Info.
3.
Specify the following properties:
Text File Encoding sets
the default text file encoding. You can select the file encoding of
the application container (UTF-8) or other text encoding formats such as ASCII and
UTF-16.
New Text File Line Delimiter sets the text file line delimiter, which can be inherited from
the application container or by the selected type of operating system.
4.
Click OK.
Setting project compiler properties
Use the Compiler properties page to modify how Flex, ActionScript, and Flex Library projects
are built.
To set project compiler properties:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select
Properties > (Flex, ActionScript, or Flex Library) Compiler.
3.
You can set the following compiler properties:
Copy Non-Embedded Files To Output Directory copies all project assets (images for
example) that are part of but not embedded into the SWF file into the output folder. For
example, an image file that is embedded into the SWF file (<image
source=”@Embed(‘filename’)”/>) is not copied to the output folder; it’s compiled into
the SWF file.
Generate Accessible SWF File enables accessibility features when compiling the
application. For more information about creating accessible applications, see Chapter 36,
“Creating Accessible Applications” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Enable Compile-time Type Checking (-strict) specifies that projects are compiled in
strict mode. This option enforces typing and reports run-time verifier errors when projects
are compiled. All errors appear in the Problems view. For more information about strict
typing errors, see “Viewing errors and warnings” in Building and Deploying Flex 2
Applications.
Enable Warnings (-warnings)
specifies that ActionScript projects are compiled in
Warnings mode, which generates migration warnings. These include ActionScript syntax
anomalies, obsolete or removed ActionScript 2.0 APIs, and differences in the behavior of
ActionScript 2.0 and 3.0 APIs. Warnings appear in the Problems view. For more
information about debugging your applications, see Chapter 11, “Running and
Debugging Applications” in Using Flex Builder 2. For more information about warnings,
see “Viewing errors and warnings” in Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications.
Namespace URL and Manifest File (Flex Library projects only) You can create a
custom namespace for the components contained within a library project by specifying a
namespace URL and a manifest file. For more information, see “Using the component
compiler” in Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications.
Additional Compiler Arguments
allows you to add optional compiler arguments. For
more information about using compiler arguments, see Chapter 9, “Using the Flex
Compilers” in Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications.
Setting run-time web browser properties
For Flex and ActionScript projects, you can also set the following run-time web browser
properties:
Generate HTML Wrapper File automatically generates the HTML wrapper file when the
project is compiled and places it in a folder called html-template within your project.
Detect Flash Version checks to see if the user has the correct version of Flash Player
installed and if not prompts the user to install it.
Use Express Install prompts the user to install the correct version of Flash Player using
Express Install, which is a streamlined (quicker and easier) version of the Flash Player
installer.
Enable History Management (browser Back button) enables your application to use the
web browser’s back button.
■
Modify the compiler properties as needed, and click OK.
Setting project properties
229
Related Topics
■
Chapter 36, “Creating Accessible Applications” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
“Viewing errors and warnings” in Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications
■
Chapter 11, “Running and Debugging Applications” in Using Flex Builder 2
■
Chapter 9, “Using the Flex Compilers” in Building and Deploying Flex 2 Applications
Setting project application file properties
Use the Applications properties page to specify the Flex and ActionScript project files that
should be compiled as applications.
To set applications properties:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select
Properties > (Flex or ActionScript) Applications.
3.
You can set the following compiler properties:
Select the Runnable Application Files
is the list of project files that have been set as
runnable files.
Add allows you to select project files set as runnable application files (compiled as separate
SWF files).
Remove
removes the selected file from the list of runnable application files.
Set as Default
sets the selected application files as the default (main) application file in
your project.
4.
Modify the list of application files as needed, and click OK.
Related Topics
■
“Switching the main application file” on page 64
■
“Managing project application files” on page 64
Setting Flex and ActionScript project build path
properties
Use the Build Path properties page to specify Flex and ActionScript project build path
properties. For information about setting build path properties for Flex Library projects, see
“Setting Flex library project build path properties” on page 231.
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
To specify build path properties:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select
Properties > (Flex or ActionScript) Build Path.
3.
Specify the following properties:
Source path is
used to link external resources to your application. For example, if you
have a folder of shared ActionScript classes, you can link to that folder by adding it to the
source path. You can also edit a folder’s path, remove the folder from the source path, and
arrange the order of the folders using the Up and Down buttons.
Library path is
used to link to external resource libraries (SWC files). By default, the
library path of new ActionScript projects contains the playerglobal.swc and utilities.swc
files. You can link library projects, SWC folders, and compiled SWCs to the library path.
You can also edit the path entry, remove the entry from the library path, and arrange the
order of the folders using the Up and Down buttons.
Main source folder is by default the root of your project. You can, however, choose a
different folder within the project. You can browse the project folder structure and create a
folder for the source if needed. (Optional)
Output folder is the location of the compiled application files. By default, this is named
bin but you can change this if you like. For more information, see “Setting a project’s
output folder” on page 193.
Output folder URL is
used to specify the server location of the compiled application files.
(Optional)
4.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“Adding resource folders to the project source path” on page 72
■
“Using SWC files in your projects” on page 82
Setting Flex library project build path properties
Use the Flex Library Build Path properties page to specify Flex Library project build path
properties. For information about setting Flex and ActionScript build path properties, see
“Setting Flex and ActionScript project build path properties” on page 230.
Setting project properties
231
To specify build path properties:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select
Properties > Flex Library Build Path.
3.
Specify the following properties:
Classes
tab lists the classes that can be included in the SWC file. The classes that are
listed are added directly to the project or linked to it using a folder in the source path. For
more information, see “Selecting library project elements to include in the SWC file”
on page 81.
Resources tab lists all the resources in the project. You can select the resources to include
in the SWC file.
Source Path
tab lets you add and manage folders in the source path. Components
contained in folders on the source path can be selected as component classes to include in
the SWC file.
Library
tab lets you add other SWC files to the project. You can add other projects to the
library path and modify library settings to use your library project as an RSL, and so on.
For more information, see “Using SWC files in your projects” on page 82.
You can also set the following properties:
Main Source Folder
specifies the location of the project source files. By default, the
project source files are located in the root of the project. You can specify a different
location (folder) in the project.
Output Folder
specifies the location of the compiled SWC file. By default, this is named
bin but you can change this if you like. For more information, see “Setting a project’s
output folder” on page 193.
4.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“About library projects” on page 78
■
“Creating Flex component library files” on page 80
■
“Selecting library project elements to include in the SWC file” on page 81
■
“Using SWC files in your projects” on page 82
■
“Setting a project’s output folder” on page 193
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Setting Flex server properties
Use the Flex Server properties page to specify server properties for Flex projects that use either
the ColdFusion Flash Remoting Service or Flex Data Services.
To specify server properties:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select
Properties > Flex Server.
3.
Specify the following properties:
Root folder specifies the root folder of the Flex web application (for example,
C:\fds2\jrun4\servers\default\flex).
Root URL specifies the URL of the Flex web application root (for example, http://
localhost:8700/flex/).
Context root specifies the context root of the Flex server. Typically, this is same as the last
portion of the server URL (for example, flex).
4.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“Creating a Flex ColdFusion Flash Remoting service project” on page 57
■
“Creating a Flex Data Services project” on page 58
Setting project builder properties
Use the Builder properties page to configure the builders that will be used to compile your
projects. For more information, see “Customizing builds with Apache Ant” on page 199.
To access project builder properties:
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select Properties
> Builders.
Setting project properties
233
Setting project references
Use the Project References properties page to create references to other projects in the
workspace. For more information, see “Adding project references” on page 73.
1.
In the Navigator view, select a project.
2.
Right-click (Control-click on Macintosh) to display the context menu and select
Properties > Project References.
Using Flex Builder views
This section provides information about the views provided by Flex Builder:
■
“Components view” on page 234
■
“States view” on page 243
■
“Outline view” on page 243
Components view
The Components view lets you rapidly insert Flex components in MXML files in the MXML
editor’s Design mode.
Nonvisible components, such as effects, formatters, and validators, are not listed in the
Components view. You must insert these components in the code.
For more information on each category in the Components view, see the following sections:
■
“Custom category” on page 235
■
“Layout category” on page 238
■
“Navigators category” on page 240
■
“Charts category” on page 241
Related topics
■
“Adding components visually” on page 108
■
“Setting component properties” on page 119
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Custom category
The Components view has a category of components called Custom:
You must open a file in Flex Builder to view the components in this category. The category
lists the custom components available to the project that contains the currently active
document. If there is no active document, or the active document isn't in a project, the
Custom category is empty.
The Components view only lists visible custom components (components that inherit from
the UIComponent class).
The Custom category lists all the custom components that you saved in the current project or
in the source path of the current project. For example, if you create a component file called
LoginBox.mxml and save it in your project, the LoginBox component appears in the Custom
category of the Components view. Like any component, you can insert these components in
your layout by dragging them from the Components view.
Related topics
■
Chapter 8, “Creating Custom MXML Components,” on page 155
■
Chapter 7, “Creating Simple MXML Components” in Creating and Extending Flex 2
Components
Using Flex Builder views
235
Controls category
The Components view has a category of components called Controls:
The following table briefly describes the components in this category:
Component
Description
Button
Control that displays a variable-size button that can include a label,
an icon image, or both.
Checkbox
Control that shows whether a particular Boolean value is true
(checked) or false (unchecked).
ColorPicker
Control that allows the user to select a color from a palette.
ComboBox
Data provider control that displays a drop-down list attached to a
text field that contains a set of values.
DataGrid
Data provider control that displays data in a tabular format.
DateChooser
Control that displays a full month of days to let you select a date.
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Component
Description
DateField
Control that displays the date with a calendar icon on its right side.
When a user clicks anywhere inside the control, a DateChooser
control pops up and displays a month of dates.
HorizontalList
Data provider control that displays a horizontal list of items.
HSlider
Control that lets users select a value by moving a slider horizontally.
Image
Control that imports a JPEG, PNG, GIF, or SVG image or SWF file.
Label
Control that displays a noneditable single-line field label.
LinkButton
Control that displays a simple hypertext link.
List
Data provider control that displays a scrollable array of choices.
NumericStepper
Control that displays a dual button control you can use to increase
or decrease the value of the underlying variable.
PopUpButton
Control that consists of two horizontal buttons: a main button, and a
smaller button called the pop-up button, which only has an icon. The
main button is a Button control.
PopUpMenuButton
Control that consists of two horizontal buttons: a main button, and a
smaller button that displays a menu when clicked.
ProgressBar
Control that provides visual feedback of how much time remains in
the current operation.
RadioButton
Control that can be selected or deselected. In a RadioButtonGroup,
only one can be selected at a time.
RadioButton Group
Control that forces the RadioButton controls associated with it to
be mutually exclusive.
RichTextEditor
Control that lets the user edit text and apply simple styles such as
bold and italic.
SWFLoader
Control that displays the contents of a specified SWF file.
Text
Control that displays a noneditable multiline text field.
TextArea
Control that displays an editable text field for user input that can
accept more than a single line of input.
TextInput
Control that displays an editable text field for a single line of user
input. Can contain alphanumeric data, but input will be interpreted
as a String data type.
TileList
Data provider control that displays a tiled list of items. The items are
tiled in vertical columns or horizontal rows.
Tree
Data provider control that lets a user view hierarchical data
arranged as an expandable tree.
Using Flex Builder views
237
Component
Description
VideoDisplay
Control that lets you play an FLV file in a Flex application. It
supports streaming video from the Flash Media Server, FLV files,
and from a Camera object.
VSlider
Control that lets users select a value by moving a slider vertically.
Related topics
■
“Adding data provider controls” on page 136
■
Chapter 9, “Using Controls” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
■
Chapter 12, “Using Data-Driven Controls” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Layout category
The Components view has a category of components called Layout:
The following table briefly describes the components in this category:
Component
Description
ApplicationControlBar
Control bar that can appear docked across the top of the
application, or undocked within an application.
Canvas
Container that lets you explicitly position and size its children.
Automatically inserted when creating an MXML Application file.
ControlBar
Container that holds components shared by the other children in a
Panel container.
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Component
Description
Form
Container that arranges its children in a standard form format.
Should only be used in a Panel container.
FormHeading
Control that specifies an optional label for a group of FormItem
containers. Only valid in a Form.
Grid
Container that arranges children as rows and columns of cells,
similar to an HTML table.
HBox
Container that lays out its children horizontally in a single row.
HDividedBox
Container that lays out its children horizontally like a HBox
container, except that it inserts an adjustable divider between each
child.
HRule
Control that displays a single horizontal rule. Typically used to
create dividing lines within a container.
Panel
Container that displays a title bar, caption, border, and its children.
Used as a basic building block in structuring the overall application
layout.
Spacer
Invisible control that lets you control the spacing between
components in a container.
Tile
Container that arranges its children in multiple rows or columns.
TitleWindow
Container that displays a modal window that contains a title bar,
caption, border, close button, and its children. The user can move
and resize it.
VBox
Container that lays out its children vertically in a single column.
VDividedBox
Container that lays out its children vertically like a VBox container,
except that it inserts an adjustable divider between each child.
VRule
Control that displays a single vertical rule. Typically used to create
dividing lines within a container.
Related topics
■
Chapter 15, “Using Layout Containers” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Using Flex Builder views
239
Navigators category
The Components view has a category of components called Navigators:
The following table briefly describes the components in this category:
Component
Description
Accordion
Navigator container that organizes information in a series of child
panels, where one panel is active at any time.
ButtonBar
Navigator container that defines a row of Button controls
designating a series of link destinations. Often used with a
ViewStack container.
LinkBar
Navigator container that defines a row of Link controls designating
a series of link destinations. Often used with a ViewStack container.
MenuBar
Container that displays a horizontal menu bar that contains one or
more submenus of Menu controls.
TabBar
Navigator container that defines a horizontal row of tabs. Often
used with a ViewStack container.
TabNavigator
Navigator container that displays a container with tabs to let users
switch between different content areas.
ToggleButtonBar
Like ButtonBar, except the button stays pressed.
ViewStack
Navigator container that defines a stack of panels that displays a
single panel at a time.
Related topics
■
“Creating layouts in navigator containers” on page 132
■
“Letting users select a view in a ViewStack container” on page 134
■
Chapter 16, “Using Navigator Containers” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
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Charts category
The Flex charts are available in Adobe Flex Builder with Charting. A trial version of the charts
is included in the standard version of Flex Builder. You can also obtain the full version of the
charts by purchasing Adobe Flex Charting, a separate product.
The Components view has a category of components called Charts:
The following table briefly describes the components in this category:
Component
Description
AreaChart
Area charts represent data as an area bounded by a line
connecting the data values.
BarChart
Bar charts represent data as a series of horizontal bars, the
length of each determined by data values.
BubbleChart
Bubble charts represents data with three values for each data
point: one for the x axis, one for the y axis, and another for the
size of the bubble.
CandlestickChart
Candlestick charts represent financial data as a series of
candlesticks representing the high, low, opening, and closing
values of a data series.
ColumnChart
Column charts represent data as a series of vertical columns, the
size of each determined by data values.
HighLowOpenCloseChart HLOC charts represent financial data as a series of lines
representing the high, low, opening, and closing values of a data
series.
Using Flex Builder views
241
Component
Description
Legend
Legend controls match the fill patterns on your chart to labels
that describe the data series shown with those fills.
LineChart
Line charts represent data as a series of points, in Cartesian
coordinates (x and y axes forming a plane), connected by a
continuous line.
PieChart
Pie charts represent data as slices of a pie, the data determining
the size of each slice.
PlotChart
Plot charts represent data as Cartesian coordinates, with data
points for both the x and y axes. You provide shape for the data
points using a display renderer (the circle renderer, for example).
Related topics
■
“Adding charting components” on page 137
■
Chapter 53, “Introduction to Charts” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Flex Properties view
The Flex Properties view lets you rapidly set the properties of visual components in the
MXML editor’s Design mode. The view is not available in Source mode.
You cannot use the Flex Properties view to set the properties of nonvisible components such as
effects, formatters, and validators. You must set the properties of these components in the
code.
The toolbar of the Flex Properties contains the following buttons:
Standard view
displays the most commonly used properties in a form layout.
Category view
displays the properties in a categorized list.
Alphabetical view
displays the properties in an alphabetical list.
To use a default property value, or use the value set by a CSS rule, leave the field blank.
Related topics
■
“Setting component properties” on page 119
Navigator view
The Navigator view allows you to manage the projects and resources contained within the
workspace. For more information about using the Navigator view, see the following topics:
■
“Projects in the Navigator view” on page 53
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
■
“Managing projects” on page 60
■
“Managing project resources” on page 65
Outline view
You use the Outline view to more easily inspect and navigate the structure of your MXML
and ActionScript documents. For more information about using the Outline view, see the
following topics:
■
“Using the Outline view to navigate and inspect code”
■
“Outline view in Class mode”
■
“Outline view in MXML mode”
■
“Using Quick Outline view in the editor”
States view
The States view shows the states defined for the current application in Flex Builder. The list of
states appears in a tree structure, showing which states are based on which other states.
Your view contains the following options:
The tree structure lets you select a state to display and edit in the MXML editor’s Design
mode. When you select a state in the tree, Flex Builder displays the state’s layout in Design
mode. You can modify the layout by using the design tools in Flex Builder.
New State lets you create a state. For more information, see “Setting running and
debugging preferences” on page 252.
Edit State Properties
lets you edit some basic properties of the selected state. You can
also double-click the state in the tree to edit the properties. For more information, see
“Edit State Properties dialog box” on page 244.
Delete State
lets you remove the selected state. If you attempt to delete a state that other
states are based on, a dialog box appears to warn you that the other states will be deleted
too. You can cancel the operation or confirm that you want to delete the state.
TIP
Selecting Edit > Undo restores the state that you deleted.
Related topics
“Creating a view state” on page 143
■
■
“Creating a state based on an existing state” on page 144
■
“Modifying the appearance of existing states” on page 147
■
Chapter 27, “Using View States” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Using Flex Builder views
243
New State dialog box
The New State dialog box lets you define a new state. It contains the following options:
Name
lets you specify the name of the new state.
Based On
lets you select the state on which to base the new state. The pop-up menu lists
the states defined in the current document.
Set As Start State
shows this state when the application starts.
Related topics
“Creating a view state” on page 143
■
■
Chapter 27, “Using View States” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Edit State Properties dialog box
The Edit State Properties dialog box lets you modify the properties of an existing state, such as
its name and whether it appears when the application starts. It contains the following options:
Name
lets you specify a new name for the state. You cannot rename the base state.
Set As Start State
shows or hides this state when the application starts.
Related topics
“Modifying the appearance of existing states” on page 147
■
■
Chapter 27, “Using View States” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Creating project resources
This section provides information about dialog boxes used to create project resources.
■
“Setting the New ActionScript Class dialog box options” on page 245
■
“Setting the New ActionScript Interface dialog box options” on page 246
■
“Setting the New MXML Component dialog box options” on page 247
■
“Create Chart dialog box” on page 248
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Setting the New ActionScript Class dialog box
options
The New ActionScript Class dialog box lets you rapidly create an ActionScript class.
To set the dialog box options:
1.
(Optional) Specify a package for your class.
A package is a named collection of classes. If you don’t specify a package, the class will be
declared in the default package ("package { ... }").
If you specify a package folder that does not exist, the wizard will create it.
2.
Name the class file.
The filename defines the class name. For example, if you name the file LoginBox.as, the
class is named LoginBox.
3.
Select one of the following modifiers:
Public specifies that the class is available to any caller. Classes are internal by default,
which means that they are visible only within the current package. To make a class visible
to all callers, you must use the public attribute.
Internal
specifies that the class is available to any caller within the same package.
Dynamic
specifies that the class is a dynamic class that can be altered at run time by
adding or changing properties and methods.
Final
4.
specifies that the class cannot be extended.
In the Superclass text box, specify the class from which you want to derive your new class.
Container classes are commonly used as the superclasses of derived classes used for layout.
For example, if you select the HBox class as the superclass, Flex Builder inserts the
following code in your class:
import mx.containers.HBox;
public class LoginBox extends HBox {
}
5.
Add any interface that contains constants and methods that you want to use in your new
class.
An interface is a collection of constants and methods that different classes can share. For
more information on the Flex interfaces, see Adobe Flex 2 Language Reference in Help.
Creating project resources
245
6.
Select any of the following code generation options:
Generate Constructor from Superclass
generates a constructor with a super() call. If
the superclass constructor takes arguments, the arguments are included in the generated
constructor and passed up in the super() call.
Generate Functions Inherited from Interfaces
generates function stubs for each
interface method. The stubs include a return statement that returns null (or 0 or false for
primitive types) so that the stubs will compile.
Generate Comments
inserts a "//TODO: implement function" in the bodies of any
generated functions or constructors.
7.
Click Finish.
Flex Builder saves the file in the specified package and opens it in the code editor.
If you saved the file in the current project or in the source path of the current project, Flex
Builder also displays the component in the Components view so that you can rapidly
insert it in your applications. For more information, see “Adding components visually”.
8.
Write the definition of your ActionScript class.
For more information, see Chapter 9, “Creating Simple Visual Components in
ActionScript” in Creating and Extending Flex 2 Components.
Related topics
■
“Creating an ActionScript class” on page 76
■
“Adding components visually” on page 108
■
Chapter 9, “Creating Simple Visual Components in ActionScript” in Creating and
Extending Flex 2 Components.
Setting the New ActionScript Interface dialog box
options
The New ActionScript Interface dialog box lets you rapidly create an ActionScript interface.
To set the dialog box options:
1.
(Optional) Specify a package for your interface.
A package is a named collection of classes and interfaces. If you don’t specify a package, the
interface will be declared in the default package ("package { ... }").
If you specify a package folder that does not exist, the wizard will create it.
2.
Name the interface.
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3.
Select one of the following modifiers:
Public
specifies that the interface is available to any caller.
Internal
4.
specifies that the interface is available to any caller within the same package.
In the Extended Interfaces area, add any interface that contains constants and methods that
you want to use in your new ActionScript interface.
Your new interface will be extended with the other interfaces. For more information on
the Flex interfaces, see Adobe Flex 2 Language Reference in Help.
5.
Add any constants or methods to your ActionScript interface that you want different classes
to share.
Related topics
■
“Creating an ActionScript interface” on page 77
Setting the New MXML Component dialog box
options
The New MXML Component dialog box lets you rapidly create an MXML component.
To set the dialog box options:
1.
Specify the parent folder for your custom component file.
Save the file in the current project or in the source path of the current project if you want
the component to appear in the Components view.
2.
Specify the filename of the component.
The filename defines the component name. For example, if you name the file
LoginForm.mxml, the component is named LoginForm.
3.
Select the base component of your custom component.
Custom components derive from existing components. Containers are commonly used as
the base components of custom components.
4.
Click Finish.
Flex Builder saves the file in the parent folder and opens it in the editor.
If you saved the file in the current project or in the source path of the current project, Flex
Builder also displays the component in the Components view so that you can rapidly
insert it in your applications. For more information, see “Adding components visually”
on page 108.
Creating project resources
247
5.
Develop your custom component.
For more information, see Chapter 7, “Creating Simple MXML Components” in Creating
and Extending Flex 2 Components.
Related topics
“Adding components visually” on page 108
■
■
Chapter 7, “Creating Simple MXML Components” in Creating and Extending Flex 2
Components.
Create Chart dialog box
The Create Chart dialog box lets you add charting components to your application rapidly.
The dialog box has the following options:
ID
specifies the ID for the new chart.
Series Elements lists the series of data in your chart. For more information, see “About
charting” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide.
Add lets you add more than one data series to your chart. Enter the new series name in the
dialog box that appears after you click the button.
Remove
Up
lets you remove a data series selected in the list.
and Down let you change the order of the data series.
Include Legend
lets you add a Legend control to your chart that displays the label for
each data series in the chart and a key showing the chart element for the series.
Related topics
“Adding charting components” on page 137
■
■
Chapter 53, “Introduction to Charts” in Flex 2 Developer’s Guide
Setting editor preferences
This section provides information about setting Flex Builder editor preferences.
■
“Setting Flex editor preferences” on page 249
■
“Setting MXML editor preferences” on page 249
■
“Setting ActionScript editor preferences” on page 250
■
“Setting CSS editor preferences” on page 250
■
“Setting MXML Code Assist preferences” on page 251
■
“Setting ActionScript Code Assist preferences” on page 252
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Setting Flex editor preferences
This dialog box allows you to specify preferences that apply to the MXML, ActionScript, and
CSS editors.
To specify Flex editor preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Flex > Editors preferences page and set the following preferences:
Indent Using (Tabs or Spaces) specifies that closing braces are indented so that your
code is properly formatted and easier to read.
Auto Indent Braces When Typing specifies
that when you select a code expression’s
opening brace the closing brace is highlighted in the code editor.
Enable Code Folding enables
Content Assist to automatically provide with code hints
while entering code.
3.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“Manually indenting code blocks” on page 177
■
“Folding and unfolding code blocks” on page 170
Setting MXML editor preferences
This dialog box allows you to specify MXML editor preferences.
To specify MXML editor preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Flex > Editors > MXML Editor preferences page and set the following
preferences:
Automatically Show Design-related Views
specifies that when you switch into Design
mode all of the design mode views are displayed.
Enable Snapping specifies that the components you place into the editor in Design mode
snap to guidelines.
Render Skins When Opening a File specifies that when you load a MXML file into the
MXML editor the skins will be rendered and displayed.
Setting editor preferences
249
Collapse Data Binding Expressions collapses data binding expressions in the code
editor. You can expand these expressions using code folding.
3.
Click OK.
Setting ActionScript editor preferences
This dialog box allows you to specify ActionScript editor preferences.
To specify ActionScript editor preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Flex > Editors > ActionScript Editor preferences page and set the following
preferences:
Keep Close Braces Correctly Indented specifies that closing braces are indented so that
your code is properly formatted and easier to read.
Highlight Matching Braces specifies that when you select a code expression’s opening
brace the closing brace is highlighted in the code editor.
Wrap Strings Automatically
3.
wraps lines of code wrap to the size of the editor window.
Click OK.
Setting CSS editor preferences
This dialog box allows you to specify ActionScript editor preferences.
To specify CSS editor preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Flex > Editors > CSS Editor preferences page and set the following preferences:
Keep Close Braces Correctly Indented specifies that closing braces are indented so that
your code is properly formatted and easier to read.
Highlight Matching Braces specifies that when you select a code expression’s opening
brace the closing brace is highlighted in the code editor.
Enable Auto-activation enables
Content Assist to automatically provide with code hints
while entering code.
Set Auto-activation Delay specifies
in one hundreths of a second the delay before code
hinting appears.
Set Auto-activation Characters sets
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
the characters that trigger Content Assist.
3.
Click OK.
Setting MXML Code Assist preferences
This dialog box allows you to specify MXML formatting and Code Assist preferences.
N OT E
The Code Assist feature is also referred to as Content Assist and these terms are used
interchangeably.
To specify MXML Code Assist preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Flex > Editors > MXML Editor > Code Assist preferences page and set the
following preferences:
Insert Closing Quote When Completing Attributes automatically
adds a closing quote
(“) when entering attribute values.
Insert Close Tags When Completing Tags automatically
adds a closing tag (/>) when
entering MXML tags.
Insert New Line and Indent When Completing Tags adds
and properly indents a new
line of code when a tag is completed.
Insert Default Namespace Attribute for mx:XML, mx:XMList, and mx:request
automatically adds a namespace attribute to mx:XML, mx:XMList, and mx:request tags.
Insert CDATA for mx:Script
<mx:Script>
inserts a CDATA construct when you enter an
tag.
Insert CDATA for Child Event Attributes
inserts a CDATA construct for child event
attributes.
Insert CDATA for mx:htmlText
<mx:htmlText>
inserts a CDATA construct when you enter an
tag.
Enable Auto-activation enables
Content Assist to automatically provide with code hints
while entering code.
Set Auto-activation Delay specifies
in one hundreths of a second the delay before code
hinting appears.
Set Auto-activation Characters sets
3.
the characters that trigger Content Assist.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“About Flex Builder content assistance” on page 166
Setting editor preferences
251
Setting ActionScript Code Assist preferences
This dialog box allows you to specify ActionScript Code Assist preferences.
N OT E
The Code Assist feature is also referred to as Content Assist and these terms are used
interchangeably.
To specify ActionScript Code Assist preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Flex > Editors > ActionScript Editor > Code Assist preferences page and set the
following preferences:
Enable Auto-activation enables
Code Assist to automatically provide code hints while
entering code.
Set Auto-activation Delay specifies
in one hundreths of a second the delay before code
hinting appears.
Set Auto-activation Characters sets
3.
the characters that trigger Code Assist.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“About Flex Builder content assistance” on page 166
Setting running and debugging
preferences
This section provides information on setting running and debugging preferences.
■
“Setting launch preferences” on page 253
■
“Setting Console view preferences” on page 254
■
“Setting Run/Debug preferences” on page 255
■
“Setting Flex debugging preferences” on page 256
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Setting launch preferences
You can specify that the project is built before it is run as an application and also set other
launch-related preferences in Flex Builder.
To set launch preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Run/Debug > Launching preferences page and set the following preferences:
Build (If Required) Before Launching is selected by default. If needed, builds the project
specified in the launch configuration before launching the application.
Save Dirty Editors Before Launching specifies that editors containing unsaved data will
be saved (the options are Always, Never, or Prompt). The term dirty editor refers to editors
that contain code that has not been saved.
Wait for Ongoing Build to Complete Before Launching allows you to set the wait before
launching preference to Always, Never, or Prompt.
Remove Terminated Launches When a New Launch is Created
clears all of the
terminated launches in the Debug view.
Open the Associated Perspective When Launching
Select Always, Never, or Prompt.
Launch in Debug Mode When Workspace Contains Breakpoints
Select Always,
Never, or Prompt.
Continue Launch if Project Contains Errors
Select Always or Prompt.
Size of Recently Launched Applications List specifies the number of recently launched
applications that are displayed in the Run As menu. The default is 10.
3.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“Running your applications” on page 205
■
“Setting Run/Debug preferences” on page 255
■
“Setting Flex debugging preferences” on page 256
Setting running and debugging preferences
253
Setting Console view preferences
You can modify preferences that affect how text in the Console view is displayed.
To set the Console preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Run/Debug > Console preferences page and set the following preferences:
Fixed Width Console
sets the Console view to a fixed width based on the maximum
character width you enter.
Limit Console Output sets the Console view to a buffer size equal to the maximum buffer
size (in characters) that you enter.
Display Tab Width
sets the character width of tabs in the Console view.
Show When Program Writes to Standard Out
shows the Console view (if hidden or
inactive) when it is invoked by an application that creates output to the view.
Show When Program Writes to Standard Error shows the Console view (if hidden or
inactive) when an error is encountered while an application is run or debugged.
Standard Out Text Color
specifies the color of the standard output text.
Standard Error Text Color
Standard In Text Color
specifies the color of the error output text.
specifies the color of the text that you enter into the Console
view.
3.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“Using the Console view” on page 215
■
“Setting Run/Debug preferences” on page 255
■
“Setting launch preferences” on page 253
■
“Setting Flex debugging preferences” on page 256
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Setting Run/Debug preferences
You can specify general settings for running and debugging your applications in Flex Builder.
To set running and debugging preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Run/Debug preferences page and set the following preferences:
Reuse Editor When Displaying Source Code
displays all source files in the same editor,
rather than opening a new editor for each source file.
Activate the Workbench When a Breakpoint is Hit activates the workbench title bar so
that it flashes when a breakpoint is hit, alerting you that the debugger is active.
Activate the Debug View When a Breakpoint is Hit
displays the Flex Debugging
perspective when a breakpoint is hit.
Open the Associated Perspective When an Application Suspends
Select Always,
Never, or Prompt.
Skip Breakpoints During a ‘Run to Line’ Operation
Variables View Changed Value Color
is not supported in Flex Builder.
specifies the text color of the changed value of a
variable.
Memory View Unbuffered Lines Color
Memory View Buffered Lines Color
3.
is not supported in Flex Builder.
is not supported in Flex Builder.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“Debugging your applications” on page 210
■
“Setting launch preferences” on page 253
■
“Setting Flex debugging preferences” on page 256
■
“Setting Console view preferences” on page 254
Setting Console view preferences
255
Setting Flex debugging preferences
You can specify debugging settings that are specific to the Flex Builder debugger.
To set Flex debugging preferences:
1.
From the main menu, select Window > Preferences.
The Preferences dialog box appears.
2.
Select the Flex > Debug preferences page and set the following preferences:
Warn When Trying to Launch Multiple Debugging Sessions Under Mozilla Firefox is
selected by default. Firefox only supports one debugging session at a time; therefore, if you
attempt to begin another debugging session the current session will be terminated. If you
deselect this preference, you will never receive a warning and the existing debugging
session will be automatically terminated.
Automatically Invoke Getter Functions is
selected by default. When debugging, if a
getter function is displayed in the Variables view it is invoked. If you turn this preference
off, you can manually invoke a getter function in the Variables view by selecting it, rightclicking (Control-clicking on Macintosh) to display the context menu and selecting
Invoke Getter.
Changing this preference does not affect the current debugging session, only subsequent
debugging sessions.
3.
Click OK.
Related topics
■
“Debugging your applications” on page 210
■
“Setting Run/Debug preferences” on page 255
■
“Setting launch preferences” on page 253
■
“Setting Console view preferences” on page 254
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Flex Builder User Interface Reference
Index
A
ActionScript
class file
creating 76
interface file
creating 77
ActionScript class
about 55
ActionScript file
about 54
ActionScript interface
about 55
ActionScript projects
about 53, 74
adding components 108
adding components to library projects 81
adding folders to class path 72
aligning components 117
applications
debugging 210
running 205
changing default Web browser 209
custom launch configuration 206
default launch configuration 205
last launched 207
understanding 203
running in Flash desktop player 209
archive file
importing 62
importing from 68
B
bookmarks
about 178
adding 181
deleting 181
Bookmarks view
about 41
breakpoints
adding 211
managing 212
removing 211
Breakpoints view
about 38
using 212
building
advanced options 195
automatic builds 189
build order 197
clean build 197
creating path variables 194
customizing 192
customizing with Apache Ant 199
disabling automatic builds 192
enabling automatic builds 192
manual builds 195
modifying class path 193
modifying library path 193
output folder 193
saving resources automatically 197
understanding 188
building library projects 81
C
changing variable values 216
Charts category, Components view 241
class path
adding folders 72
code blocks
folding and unfolding 170
code definitions
257
opening 175
code editing
understanding 164
code folding preferences, setting 171
code formatting 29
code hinting 110
about 28, 166
code hints
displaying 169
code navigation 29
coding
getting help 170
ColdFusion Extensions for Flex Builder 2 57
ColdFusion MX 7.0.2 57
colors
changing 98
comment blocks
adding 177
converting code to 177
indenting 177
components
adding 108
aligning 117
inserting in code 111
inserting visually 108
navigator containers 132
nudging 118
positioning 114
selecting multiple 113
sizing 115
snapping 116
Components view
about 35
Charts category 241
Controls category 236
Custom category 235
Layout category 238
Navigators category
Navigators category, Components view 240
using 234
Console view
about 39
using 215
Content Assist 110
about 166
using 169
content assistance
about 166
Controls category, Components view 236
Create Chart dialog box 248
258
Index
creating ActionScript class file 76
creating ActionScript interface 77
creating ActionScript projects 74
creating files 66
creating folders 66
creating library projects 80
cross-domain policy files
using 224
CSS file
about 55
CSS styles 121
Custom category, Components view 235
custom launch configuration 206
D
data binding
about 220
data formatting
about 222
data models
about 221
data providers and collections
about 220
data services
about 222
data validation
about 221
data-driven controls and containers
about 219
Debug view
about 38
using 214
debugging 210, 216
breakpoints
adding 211
disabling 213
removing 211, 213
managing breakpoints 212
managing debug session 214
starting debugging session 211
starting debugging session in plug-in configuration
211
using the Console view 215
using the Expressions view 216
using the Variables view 215
deleting files 67
deleting folders 67
Design mode 112
using 101
documentation
accessing 17
LiveDocs 24
printing 24
E
Eclipse
defined 25
editor
defined 26
editors
changing tab placement 98
maximizing 94
tiling 94
exporting resources 69
Expressions view
about 40
using 216
F
fast views
creating 91
File
about 55
files
associating file types 93
creating 66
deleting 67
exporting 69
importing 67
opening 93
refreshing 94
searching 99
Find 178
finding variables 216
Flash Player security 223
Flex
documentation 15
accessing 17
Help
using 20
online resources
accessing 19
Flex Builder
activating 10
configurations 9
documentation 15
accessing 17
editors
about 27
extending 45
Help
using 20
license 10
online resources
accessing 19
perspectives
about 30
system requirements 10
versions 8
what you can do with it 7
Flex Data Management Service 223
Flex Data Services 58
Flex Debugging perspective
about 37
Flex Development perspective 31
Design mode 34
Flex Message Service 223
Flex Properties view
about 36
resizing components 116
using 242, 243
Flex Start page 23
Folder
about 55
folders
adding to class path 72
creating 66
deleting 67
exporting 69
importing 67
fonts
changing 97
H
Help
bookmarks
adding 22
viewing 22
context-sensitive Help
using 21
display in Web browser 22
font size, changing 22
LiveDocs 24
Index
259
opening 20, 170
preferences 23
printing 24
search scope, creating 21
searching 21
I
import management
about 166
import statements
organizing 177
importing resources 67
importing resources from archive files 68
inserting components 108
K
Key Assist 101
keyboard shortcuts 184
accessing 101
Alt+Enter 73
Alt+Shift+N 74
Control+~ 113
Control+‘ 184
Control+’ 101
Control+C 126
Control+F 178
Control+F11 207
Control+F7 91
Control+L 185
Control+O 174, 185
Control+Q 185
Control+Shift+C 177, 184
Control+Shift+D 184
Control+Shift+L 45
Control+Shift+O 177, 185
Control+Shift+P 184
Control+Shift+R 185
Control+Shift+T 175, 185
Control+Space 28, 169, 184
Control+V 126
customizing 96
F1 16, 21, 23, 166, 184
Key Assist 101
Shift+F2 170, 184
using 45
260
Index
L
launch configurations
creating 207
defined 27
managing 207
Layout category, Components view 238
library path
about 60
adding SWC files 82
library projects
about 53, 78
building 81
line numbers
showing 176
linking resources with path variables 71
linking to resources 70
M
main application file
switching 64
Make same height 115
Make same width 115
managing project application files 64
managing project resources 65
markers
about 178
navigating 179
Modify menu 115, 117
moving resources between projects 69
MXML application
about 54
MXML component
about 54
MXML editor
Design mode 35, 112
window size 112
MXML editor toolbar
about 44
MXML tag completion
about 166
N
navigator containers 132
Navigator view
about 32
nudging 118
O
Oultine view
Class mode 172
MXML mode 173
Outline view 125
Design mode
about 36
Source mode 33
toolbar in Class mode 172
toolbar in MXML mode 173
using 171
P
perspective
defined 26
perspectives
about 30
customizing 87
deleting customized perspectives 88
opening 86
opening in new window 87
resetting 89
setting default 87
switching 86
positioning components 114
problem markers
about 178
Problems view
about 33
filtering 92
using 183
project
defined 27
projects
ActionScript
about 74
creating 74
ActionScript projects
about 53
closing 63
creating 56
creating basic Flex projects 57
creating ColdFusion Flash Remoting Services
projects 57
creating Flex Data Services projects 58
deleting 63
Flex projects
about 52
importing 62
library
about 78
library project
adding components 81
building 81
creating 80
library projects
about 53
managing 60
managing application files 64
managing in Navigator view 53
managing resources 65
moving 62
moving resources between 69
opening 63
publishing application source 199
publishing source
adding source menu to ActionScript projects
201
resource types 54
selecting Flex project configurations 56
setting Flex project properties 61
setting optional project properties 59
types 52
understanding 50
projects, understanding 187
proxy
accessing remote data 225
setting up 224
Q
Quick Outline view
opening 174
using 174
R
Refresh Skins 124
refreshing workspace 70
Replace 178
Replace All 178
Replace/Find 178
resizing components 115
resource
defined 27
resources
exporting 69
Index
261
importing 67
linking to 70
path variables 71
refreshing 70
viewing properties 73
RPC Services 222
running applications
understanding 203
types
opening 175
S
variables
changing value 216
finding 216
watching 216
Variables view
about 39
using 215
Variables views
finding variables 216
view
defined 26
viewing resource properties 73
views
changing tab placement 98
docking 90
fast views
creating 91
filtering 92
maximizing 94
moving 90
opening 90
restoring 91
switching 91
tabbed views
rearranging 90
Search view
about 42
using 100
Show Object Borders 126
sizing components 115
snapping 116
Source mode
using 101
Source path 60
States view
about 35
Style pop-up menu 123
styles 121
SWC files
adding to library path 82
using 82
switching main application file 64
switching Source and Design modes 101
syntax error checking
about 182
system requirements 10
T
task markers
about 178
Task view
filtering 92
tasks
adding 180
completing 181
deleting 181
Tasks view
about 41
text
finding and replacing 178
toolbars
rearranging main toolbar 95
262
Index
U
using SWC files 82
V
W
watching variables 216
Web browser
changing default 209
Window Size 112
workbench
controlling click behavior 99
customizing 95
defined 26
searching 99
setting preferences 101
workbench toolbar
about 43
working sets
creating 92
workspace
defined 27
refreshing 70
switching 95
Index
263
264
Index
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