Have you ever used
trace(...) to debug your Flash files? Somewhat it might be very limiting (comparing to some professional debugging tools around) and you'd get condemned by many Flash devs in your town. Well, they'd be right there – there's a few cons not to use
trace(...) method at all, i.e., it only allows to view logs in Flash IDE (slowing down the performance of your SWF when loads of traces are dumped out), but hey! - it may become your racing horse as well. Here's how.
If you develop on Mac (and I hope you do so), there's a neat free app called GeekTool – all what it does is displaying contents of a file (files) directly onto your desktop wallpaper – check out example screenshots. As you already might know (especially if you were using Firefox FlashTracer plugin by Sepiroth before), all
trace(...) messages are added to a global log file which (on Mac) is stored in the following location:
Check it out, if it's not there, you might need to create a mm.cfg file in your home directory (
/Users/<your_username>/mm.cfg) containing the following:
Geektool itself is trivial to configure, just add a group (by clicking the New Entry button), rename it to Flash (or whatever name it feels appropriate for you) and paste the Flash log path into the Path field. Make sure the Enable GeekTool option is checked and there you go, contents of your Flash log should appear directly on your desktop wallpaper.
Play around with fonts and colours, be careful with shadows though – that's somehow not perfectly working (at least with GeekTool 2.1.2). You may also want your log to be displayed always on top of everything (i.e., when you're using additional monitor).
In order to view your logs generated by Flash Player in a browser, you need a debug version of Flash Player.
And finally – make sure you only use
trace(...) in production/development mode and disable it for release builds (by unchecking Omit trace actions in Flash IDE: Publish settings... > Flash tab), unless you want to entertain other Flash developers.
If you are having problems with getting your logs out, Mark Walters describes ways of outputting Flash trace logs on various operating systems. Actually, I've found a comment there by Marc-André Lavoie pointing to the geek tool as well.
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