$300 prize offered for best plugin to support ActionScript coding

OK, ask I’m tired of waiting: It’s time to buy everyone a good ActionScript editor, and I’ve decided to foot the bill just to get things done already.

As you may have noticed during the last few months, I’ve spent a great deal of time customizing, expanding and generally bending the will of the jEdit text editor to make it do things my way (which, coincidentally, is a lot like the FlashDevelop and SEPY ways I learned in the Windows world). For the most part, I enjoy coding with jEdit, and it’s almost the perfect cross-platform, multi-language editor. Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the Java experience to attain the one feature that I miss most from my days with FlashDevelop: Code completion.

It’s a simple feature I thought was silly when I first used it, but man, has it saved me time over the years (preventing typos, providing quick hints of little-used function parameters, etc). Thus, jEdit — along with every other Macintosh and cross-platform AS editor outside of Eclipse — remains a second-class ActionScript editor for me today.

So as of tonight, I’ve decided to remove my developer’s cap and instead take on the role of small-time benefactor: Thus, I will personally award $300 to the developer (or team of developers) who creates the best cross-platform ActionScript coding plug-in for one of two editors by April 15.
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Trap Flash CS3 compiler errors and line numbers… in jEdit!

Love editing your Flash ActionScript files in jEdit, this site but want better debugging tools within the editor itself? Maybe you’d like to jump directly to errors indicated within your code without resorting to the Flash IDE?

Today’s tip just makes me plain happy.

placeLogo(‘jedit’); The result of today’s exercise promises to increase productivity dramatically when editing ActionScript using jEdit: Assuming Flash is running alongside the editor, stuff we’ll not only be able to test our current movie with CMD-ENTER (just as we did two months ago), but we’ll also be able to get a list of compiler errors and warnings to appear within jEdit’s errorList panel, and we’ll be able to click those errors to jump to the offending code — without ever having to edit any code within the Flash IDE itself!

It may take a few minutes to set up, but it definitely shows off the power and expandability of jEdit — while also providing a heckuva nice (and long awaited) feature for us cross-platform Flashers.

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AutoStacks Redux: Making Leopard work another way…

Several people have been asking for a slightly modified version of AutoStacks since we released the little utility this month, health so I figured I’d revisit the tool today.

In its original incarnation, AutoStacks moved selected files to a new folder and created a new Leopard “Stack” by adding the folder to the right-hand side of the dock. This is the way I expected Apple’s Stacks functionality to work out-of-the-box, but apparently, others have their own ideas as to how Stacks should act: In particular, many people seem to want their Stacks to contain aliases to existing files, rather than the files themselves.

Not to begrudge these people, I’ve made some changes to AutoStacks that should appease both camps: Starting with version 0.2, AutoStacks will now prompt the user upon first use as to which way they would like to have it behave from then on (move the files, or create aliases to them).

After the first use, it will assume you always want it to behave the same way, and it will refrain from asking again until you decide it’s time for a change; On the off chance you change your mind, you can always double-click the AutoStacks application icon (i.e., launch it without dragging files to it), and it will be happy to ask you again.

Oh! And I almost forgot… Thanks to the the original creator of a nice set of overlay icons and information provided by these fine folks, I’ve also added an extra icon to each new AutoStack to help restore some order to your AutoStacked dock. Hope you enjoy the extra touch!

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Cheating at Leopard: Make Stacks work the way you thought it would

Thanks to the great feedback I’ve received here, pharmacist I released AutoStacks 0.2 on Nov. 21, salve 2007. The source code below is still that of version 0.1, help but all download links in this article have been updated to the new version. The original 0.1 version can still be downloaded here.

Remember how cool you once thought OS X Leopard’s new Stacks feature was going to be? And remember how disappointed you were when you discovered it didn’t actually do what you thought it would: i.e., create a new stack any time you dragged a collection of unrelated files onto the dock?

For some reason, I was heartbroken when I discovered a Stack was nothing more than a spiffed-down image of an existing folder, and I was even more irritated when I discovered you couldn’t just drag a bunch of files to make a new one. I couldn’t do much about the look, but I could at least make something that acted as I wanted it to: A convenient dock icon that sits patiently waiting for a collection of files, and then magically turns them into a new stack.

It’s a simple AppleScript application, and it seems to work. Unzip the application file, place it in your dock, then select a few files in your finder and drag them to the icon. It will ask you for a label (a default label is generated according to the current date and time), and then it will magically add the new Stack and (perhaps annoyingly) reload the Dock.


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A place to store our stuff

Now that we have context-sensitive help files, information pills a sporty new look and the ability to communicate with the Flash IDE, I figure it’s time to start keeping track of all the goodies we’re adding to our new ActionScript editor.

Thus, I’ve added a permanent page to Turdhead.com to provide direct links to the growing list of enhancements we’ve been making to jEdit lately (otherwise, these entries are likely to just disappear into the archives and remain pretty hard to find later). The “Make jEdit yours” logo at left provides the link from anywhere on Turdhead.com.

Thanks again for all the kind comments and emails, and please let us know if you’ve discovered something you think is worth sharing. Thanks!