AS3 – Getting started with Adobe Flash using the free Flash Develop IDE

Instead of using Flash CS3 or Flex 3, Flash Development provides a free alternative for building flash applications.

Install instructions:

  1. Flex 3 SDK (free)
    • Download the Flex SDK (I used version from Fri Aug 15 2008)
    • Unzip the files to a folder, for example: C:\_libraries\flex_sdk_3.1.0.2710
  2. Adobe Flash Player 10 (Debugger Version)
  3. FlashDevelop 3.x
    • Download the latest FlashDevelop.
    • Start FD after the install.
    • Click Tools -> Program settings (F10)
    • Click AS3Context
    • Set the Flex SDK Location to C:\_libraries\flex_sdk_3.1.0.2710

Optional debugger

  1. Installing a debugger
    • Original post on FD forums.
    • Download the latest version here (currently, this version is only compatible with FlashDevelop 3.0.0 Beta9)
    • Unzip it to a temp folder but don’t follow the instructions in the readme.txt
    • Locate your FD plugins directory in your user files:
    • From FD main menu: Tools > Application Files… (it will open up a new explorer dialog)
    • Copy all the files Aga.Controls.dll and fdbPlugin.dll (its in the bin directory of the zipfile) to the plugin directory
      (Example: C:\Documents and Settings\Falcon4ever\Local Settings\Application Data\FlashDevelop\Plugins).
    • Do not use FlashDevelop.exe from the zipfile (for some odd reason the exe seems to be corrupted here).
    • Start FD.
    • Click Tools -> Program settings (F10)
    • Click FdbPlugin
    • Set the DebugFlashPlayerPath to C:\_libraries\flex_sdk_3.1.0.2710\flashplayer_10_sa_debug.exe
  2. Using the debugger
    • Start FD.
    • It should show 2 new dialogs, which you can drag into the main GUI.
    • To set breakpoints do a shift-click on the left.
    • mouseclickpoint

    • To start a debug session press the new play button (if you check the gui, you will see a few new icons, play, pause, stop, fastforward etc)
    • When the program hits a breakpoint you can hoover on the variable to view its contents/value. (Just like in visual studio)
    • 00

8 Comment


    very very useful, great thanks

    16 Feb 2009 | Reply

  1. dewen

    I set up the develop enviroment step by step according to your instructions. However, there is an error occurs when i try to run the as file, here are the details of the error

    Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

    at FdbPlugin.PluginMain.CheckCurrent()
    at FdbPlugin.PluginMain.Start_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)


    16 Feb 2009 | Reply

  2. Mark

    I get the same error as dewen. please help, using Flash develop 3.0 and flex_sdk_3.3.0.4852

    22 Feb 2009 | Reply

  3. The error is probably related to the Fdbplugin.

    It seems like the author of the Fdbplugin creates builds that only work with a specific version of flash develop. (Using it on an older or newer version than the one intended wont work).

    27 Feb 2009 | Reply

  4. While trying with FD 3.0 RC2, I can set the DebugFlashPlayerPath but after restarting I can’t see the new debugger icons and moreover, I get this error:

    Type ‘FdbPlugin.PluginMain’ in Assembly ‘FdbPlugin, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null’ is not marked as serializable.

    at System.Runtime.Serialization.FormatterServices.InternalGetSerializableMembers(RuntimeType type)
    at System.Runtime.Serialization.FormatterServices.GetSerializableMembers(Type type, StreamingContext context)
    at System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatters.Binary.WriteObjectInfo.InitMemberInfo()
    at System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatters.Binary.WriteObjectInfo.InitSerialize(Object obj, ISurrogateSelector surrogateSelector, StreamingContext context, SerObjectInfoInit serObjectInfoInit, IFormatterConverter converter, ObjectWriter objectWriter)
    at System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatters.Binary.WriteObjectInfo.Serialize(Object obj, ISurrogateSelector surrogateSelector, StreamingContext context, SerObjectInfoInit serObjectInfoInit, IFormatterConverter converter, ObjectWriter objectWriter)
    at System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatters.Binary.ObjectWriter.Write(WriteObjectInfo objectInfo, NameInfo memberNameInfo, NameInfo typeNameInfo)
    at System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatters.Binary.ObjectWriter.Serialize(Object graph, Header[] inHeaders, __BinaryWriter serWriter, Boolean fCheck)
    at System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatters.Binary.BinaryFormatter.Serialize(Stream serializationStream, Object graph, Header[] headers, Boolean fCheck)
    at PluginCore.Utilities.ObjectSerializer.Serialize(String file, Object obj)

    Pity, cause debugging is certainly very, very usefull.


    23 Apr 2009 | Reply

  5. Sorry, I forgot to mention this is fdbPlugin0.4.6.1

    23 Apr 2009 | Reply

  6. Ian

    fdbPlugin0.4.6.1 is not working with FlashDevelop 3.0.0 RC2. When I use “Start” from the “Debug” menu:

    Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

    at AS3Context.PluginMain.HandleEvent(Object sender, NotifyEvent e, HandlingPriority priority)
    at PluginCore.Managers.EventManager.DispatchEvent(Object sender, NotifyEvent e)

    30 Apr 2009 | Reply

  7. alfonso pilato

    error does not happen when you debug a project, not a stand alone .as file. this works for both fdbplugin0.4.6.1 and 4.5.0

    13 Dec 2009 | Reply

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