I've been collecting a summary of Flash Builder 4 tips I find useful to help me be more productive as a developer and thought I would share them here. I'm including the shortcut for the feature where possible (based on Mac OS, for Windows use Ctrl in place of Cmd). Please feel free to comment on other features or tips you find useful that I may not have covered!
- Conditional Breakpoints – you can now set a condition on a breakpoint that will cause it to only fire a certain number of times, or based on a certain expression or boolean (for instance it will only halt at that breakpoint when a given variable is a certain value). To set a conditional breakpoint, first set a breakpoint on a line (Shift-Cmd-B), then right click and select ‘Breakpoint Properties'. You can set multiple expressions and just separate them with a comma or even modify a line of code from here without recompiling. See the Adobe TV video link I included at the bottom of this post for some interesting things you can do with this feature.
- Watchpoints – new to Flash Builder 4 and allows you to monitor a variable instance during a debugging session. To use a watchpoint you need to set a breakpoint and when it stops at the breakpoint, go to the variables view and right click on the variable instance to toggle a watchpoint. More information about how to debug with watchpoints can be found in this article.
- Expressions – you can actually drag any expression into this dialog directly from your code to quickly monitor that expression. Note: if you are in the editor dialog for the Expression you can type Shift-Enter to close it quickly rather than go to a newline.
- Run to Line – Cmd-R – while in a debug session and stopped at a breakpoint, you can choose a line further in the code to run to by going to it and doing Cmd-R or right click and find ‘Run to Line' in the context menu to continue to run to that specific line of code.
- Network Monitoring – new to Flash Builder 4 and allows you to inspect and monitor network traffic from your Flex/AIR apps that use HTTPService, WebService, RemoteObject, URLRequest etc. It can be used to examine XML, AMF, and JSON data sent using SOAP, AMF, HTTP, and HTTPS protocols. Note: this feature requires Flash Builder Premium and does not work with SSL or Data Management services provided by LiveCycle Data Services.
Ok, so I realize that I've mentioned a lot of key mappings here that may be hard to remember at first, but fortunately there's a key mapping to show the current list of key bindings quickly that you can refer to anytime in your source using Cmd-Shift-L!
Also, to find out even more tips and tricks you can do with Flash Builder, check out this Flash Builder 4 Advanced Tips and Tricks video on AdobeTV by Scott Evans from the Flash Builder team. There's also an article on Adobe Devnet to take a look at called Flash Builder 4 Developer Productivity Improvements by Jason San Jose. He also shares tips on his blog which can be found here.