Improved Flex Debugger

Alexander Doroshko

It’s not a secret that IntelliJ IDEA has a fully functional interactive debugger for Flex and AIR applications. Here’s a list of features added or improved in upcoming IntelliJ IDEA 9.0.3 release:

  • XML and XMLList runtime value view
  • Smart Step Into: select a function to step into if more than one available (Shift+F7)

  • Conditional breakpoints: hit only when specified expression (which is evaluated in runtime [*]) is true
  • Log message (or evaluated expression [*]) to console when breakpoint is hit, with or without stopping at breakpoint
  • Dependent breakpoints: automatically enable breakpoint A only when breakpoint B is reached

  • Evaluate expression [*] (Alt+F8)

[*] Note: complex expression evaluation works only with Flex SDK 4

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10 Responses to Improved Flex Debugger

  1. Dmitriy says:

    May 8, 2010

    It is verry cool!! Thanx!

  2. Jeroen says:

    May 8, 2010

    Amazingly helpful improvements, thank you.

    JetBrains’ IntelliJ9 team just keeps one-upping Flex/Flash Builder time and time again with an IDE that is cheaper, integrates better, improves faster, is more performant and not tied to only one language.

    You rock.

  3. Sam says:

    June 15, 2010

    These are wonderful enhancements. We just started evaluating IntelliJ and are very happy with it so far.

  4. Florian says:

    June 21, 2010

    Again: two thumbs up!

  5. Boris Byk says:

    July 24, 2010

    You wrote that complex expression evaluation worked only with Flex SDK 4. Any chance we can use debugger from SDK 4 with applications built with SDK 3 (Eclipse does it)?

  6. Alexander Doroshko says:

    July 28, 2010

    Boris, yes, it is possible but only in a hacky way (and makes sense only when using Flash Player 10.x). You can manually substitute [Flex SDK 3]/lib/fdb.jar to the one from [Flex SDK 4]/lib. And also substitute all its dependencies mentioned in MANIFEST.MF inside this jar (swfutils.jar, mxmlc.jar, asc.jar). But these jars are also used for compiler, so not to break compilation you should give them some different name (like swfutils_4.jar etc.) and fix MANIFEST.MF in fdb.jar accordingly.

  7. trying Intelli J says:

    August 1, 2010

    Debugging network Flash/Flex application can freeze browsers, I tried browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, all frozen. … ….

  8. Rodislav Moldovan says:

    October 1, 2010

    “Debugging network Flash/Flex application can freeze browsers, I tried browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, all frozen”

    This is something normal, the process is paused and controlled by debugger – browser owns flashplayer process and debugger owns browser.. so freezing is normal.

  9. pmac says:

    November 23, 2010

    Nope, there is a bug that causes the browser to freeze when intelli has remote-debug connected to it. Any network operations (blaze DS, for example) take a long, long time. I opened a bug for this… but no-one believes me 🙂 Reproduced on OS X and Ubuntu.

  10. Rodislav Moldovan says:

    December 3, 2010

    Hi, what about support Object attributes while debugging !?
    and i think it would be nice to make an (eclipse-like) debug perspective which is auto closed / launched
    i`m not an eclipse-adicted user, but feature is handy

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