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Monday Apr 05, 2010

Flash builder Eclipse plug-in on Linux

For my new project, I was allowed to use my Linux laptop as development environment. The new project being an Adobe Flex project almost forced me back to the Windows platform, as Adobe does not make an Eclipse Flash Builder plug-in available for Linux. This post describes a successful effort to make Adobe's Flash builder available for Eclipse (Ganymede and Galileo) on the Linux platform.

First of all, I followed the instructions of Running Flash Builder 4 on Linux. However, as the link to the flash builder 4 plugin contained therein is so slow, it took me 5 times to download it successfully. Moreover, you also need the Flex and AIR SDKs (version 4) for Linux. I have collected these files and they can now be downloaded from a single location on my server. Unpack these files once you obtained them in a suitable location.

The Eclipse plug-in can readily be incorporated into Eclipse as indicated in the aforementioned post:

  1. Go to ‘Windows -> Preferences -> Generals -> Capabilities’ and enable Classic update, then open the 'Help -> Software Updates -> Manage configuration’ window and add -> Extension Location. Point it to the 'eclipse' directory in the unpacked Adobe Flash Builder 4 plugin directory.
  2. Go to ‘Windows -> Preferences -> Flash Builder -> Installed Flex SDK’ and point the Flex 4 SDK configuration to the directory in which you unpacked the Flex 4 SDK. Eclipse will automatically recognize this as an Adobe Flex SDK.

In order to test your set-up, create a new Flex Project and stick to all the default settings in the Wizard. In the MXML file editor, paste the following code:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<s:Application xmlns:fx="http://ns.adobe.com/mxml/2009"
xmlns:s="library://ns.adobe.com/flex/spark">
<fx:Script>
<![CDATA[
[Bindable]private var username:String;
private function onClick():void{
username=usernameInput.text;
usernameLabel.visible=true;
}
]]>
</fx:Script>
<s:Label x="44" y="36" text="Enter your name:"/>
<s:TextInput id="usernameInput" x="147" y="32"/>
<s:Button x="294" y="33" label="Submit" click="onClick()"/>
<s:Label id="usernameLabel" text="Hello {username}"
x="44" y="79" visible="false"/>
</s:Application>

You can now run this application by right clicking on the project and select 'Run as -> Web application'. At first the resulting page in my browser stayed blank, but following the warning from Eclipse, everything was fine after I restarted the browser.

The only thing left to do is enable the debug tools voor AIR desktop applications, as the Linux Flex SDK lacks these tools:

  1. Fill in the location to the AIR adl file. It’s in the bin directory where you unpacked the AIR sdk, for example /airsdk/bin/adl.
  2. Working directory: ${workspace_loc}/${project_name}/bin-debug/
  3. Arguments: ${project_name}-app.xml

Give the external tool a name ‘AIR launch’ or something and hit 'Apply'.

This should finish your set-up and you should be able to start developing Flash application with Flash Builder 4 under Linux!

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