Posted on 2009-09-14
I’ve been thinking of what to write for my first post, other than “Welcome to this blog”. I realized that since I intend to share my work habits and to make some tutorials out of what I have learned the past few years, I might as well present how I work.
I have tried different ways of writing ActionScript over the last years: the Flash IDE (not really efficient), FlashDevelop (is a good start), Flex Builder and finally Eclipse. Ok, the last two are actually the same. Here is why I am now using Eclipse to write my ActionScript projects, and sometimes even other projets.
The Flash IDE is a great visual tool as it merges some parts of Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and a code editor. However, try as you might, you can be good at a lot of things, but rarely can you master them all. The code completion in the Flash IDE is less than optimal, I haven’t found a way to create snippets and honestly, it’s missing many customization options.
FlashDevelop is great. Honestly. But you have to have a Windows system. Ever since I bought my MacBook Pro, I don’t have that anymore. Sure I could install Parallels, but I think it’s a lot of time wasted in an efficient workflow.
When I started at Sid Lee, I switched to Flex Builder since this is the tool used there. At iCongo, where I worked previously, we were using Eclipse, so I kind of got used to that workflow. After Flash Builder’s (or Gumbo’s) release, I struggled with some bugs and decided to move back to Eclipse.
I now use Eclipse 3.4 with the Flash Builder 4 plugin. I prefer Eclipse to Flash Builder as the base IDE since Eclipse already includes an XML and HTML editor. Another huge… ok, let me rephrase… HUGE advantage that Eclipse has over FlashDevelop is the fact that Eclipse has a plugin for dealing with SVN, which I think is crucial for teamwork. Oh yea, you can install TortoiseSVN on your machine and deal with SVN separately from your code, but let’s face it, that offers more chances for your team to mess the SVN flow.
So, to sum it up, I added the Subclipse plugin to my Eclipse setup.
I also added the FlexFormatter plugin, which allows me to format my code automatically the way i want. Quite useful when you are a neat freak like me.
When working with Java developpers at iCongo, I have seen that they had a tab for tasks, which I found useful. When I code, I may not want to write all the code at once, so I need to sprinkle some reminders along the way. The TODO and FIXME tags are quite useful in that sense. The Flex Builder 2 task extension does just the thing!
Finally, since I started to edit my WordPress blog, I added a PHP extension to my Eclipse.
If I was only work oriented, that would be sufficient. But I like my work environment to look great. I remembered three articles that Lee Brimelow wrote about making your Eclipse look better (Pimp my Eclipse part 1, part 2, part 3). There is a lot of stuff from his articles I did not use, but that could be useful nevertheless.