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
  1. Adobe Flash Player 10 (Debugger Version)
  2. 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
  1. 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.
  • 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)

8 responses

  1. very very useful, great thanks

    dewen – February 16th, 2009
  2. 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) Thanks

    dewen – February 16th, 2009
  3. I get the same error as dewen. please help, using Flash develop 3.0 and flex_sdk_3.3.0.4852

    Mark – February 22nd, 2009
  4. 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).

    Laurence Muller February 27th, 2009
  5. 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. Ronald

    Ronald April 23rd, 2009
  6. Sorry, I forgot to mention this is fdbPlugin0.4.6.1

    Ronald April 23rd, 2009
  7. 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)

    Ian – April 30th, 2009
  8. 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

    alfonso pilato – December 13th, 2009