FlexCover Startup Problem

April 30, 2009 16:09 by docbliny 

If you get the error “Another program has already opened a LocalConnection with id ‘_flexcover’. No coverage data will be recorded.”, do the following:

  1. Open Task Manager and kill any instances of CoverageViewer.exe (or your Mac equivalent).
  2. Close all browsers.
  3. Close FlexBuilder.
  4. Close Yahoo! Messenger (or other client that hosts the Flash Player).

#3 did it for me.

I was using FlexCover 0.81.


Visual Studio 2008 failing to open project “The project type is not supported by this installation”

January 28, 2009 16:25 by docbliny 

I had to get my work laptop reinstalled the other week due to disk failure, and today I tried to open a Visual Studio 2008 project but I kept getting “The project type is not supported by this installation”.

What I had thought was a simple C# project was actually a Silverlight application project. (If you’re wondering why I didn’t know which type of project was in question, it’s a “dummy” project I’m using to create class diagrams, for ActionScript no less. VS is a great tool for many things.)

The reason the project wouldn’t start was that I hadn’t installed the Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 SP1. A (not so) quick install later I was up and running again.


ActionScript and Daylight Savings Time

October 27, 2008 15:10 by docbliny 

Since the U.S. DST change is coming up this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to remind people about date math in ActionScript.

When working with dates, make sure you don't use milliseconds (UNIX timestamps) to increment/decrement times and dates. Instead, always increment the hours, date and similar properties on Date object.

However, there is a bug in the player currently causing increments to myDate.hours to not do the correct thing. To avoid this problem, use the myDate.hoursUTC property instead.

You can safely add/subtract hours and the Date class will automatically increment the actual underlying date. For example, if the date is 10/27/2008 23:00 and you add an hour, the date will rollover to 10/28/2008 00:00 as expected. The same goes for adding days, months and years.


Using the FlexBuilder "-link-report" compiler option to generate ActionScript size report

October 13, 2008 12:42 by docbliny 

I'm working on a pretty cool ActionScript 3 based project and we're trying to optimize the size as much as possible. Pretty much everything is rendered in code and we noticed that the AS compiler is actually pretty bad at optimizing the SWF. For example, it seems to not touch class level private variable names, thus keeping the actual strings intact which increases both the SWF size and memory usage pretty drastically if there are lots of instances of the object in memory. I don't have any hard numbers to share, maybe I'll get around to creating a sample project to get some numbers I can share.

Setting Compiler Options 

In the meantime, you can at least get a sense of where the size of the SWF is coming from by using the -link-report [filename] compiler argument. In FlexBuilder, you can set it under the ActionScript Compiler page in the Additional compiler arguments field.

Link Report File 

The resulting XML file contains a list of all ActionScript files, their size, optimized size and a list of all dependencies. For example:

<report>
  <scripts>
     <
script name="Drive:\Path\MyProject\src\accessibility\ComboBoxItemAccessibility.as" mod="1217893038671" size="1593" optimizedsize="875">
       <def id="accessibility:ComboBoxItemAccessibility" />
       <
pre id="accessibility:ButtonAccessibility" />
       <dep id="flash.events:MouseEvent" />
       <
dep id="accessibility:Constants" />
       <dep id="MenuItem" />
       <
dep id="AS3" />
    </script>
  </scripts>
</report>

The most interesting items are the size and optimizedsize attributes.

Using an XSLT File to Improve Readability

The link report file can be pretty large and hard to read, so I put together a really crude XSLT file to transform the report into HTML. You can then easily drop the HTML file on Excel to sort by the size and see which classes might be good candidates to optimize.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform" xmlns:msxsl="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xslt" exclude-result-prefixes="msxsl">
  <xsl:output method="html" indent="yes"/>     <xsl:template match="@* | node()">
    <xsl:copy>
     <xsl:apply-templates select="@* | node()"/>
    </xsl:copy>

    </
xsl:template>
    <xsl:template match="/">
       <html>
        <body>
          <h2>ActionScript Link Report</h2>
          <table border="1">
             <
tr>
               <th align="left">Name</th>
               <th align="left">Size</th>
               <th align="left">Optimized Size</th>
             </
tr>
            <xsl:for-each select="report/scripts/script">
             <
tr>
               <td><xsl:value-of select="@name"/></td>
               <td><xsl:value-of select="@size"/></td>
               <td><xsl:value-of select="@optimizedsize"/></td>
            </
tr>
         </xsl:for-each>
         </
table>
      </body>
    </html>
 
  </xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>