Xray by Blitz Labs: Why wasn't I using this sooner?!?

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I may be a little late to the table on this one but, in my own defense, I’ve downloaded it two or three times in the past but have always been too busy to take a look at it. Well, I took a quick look today and all I can say is ‘Holy Crap, I wish I had made time to look into this earlier.’

According to its project page on OSFlash, Xray (previously known as The Admin Tool) by Blitz Labs, is “a snapshot viewer of the current state of your Flash application without impacting the performance or the file size of your application. Xray’s true nature is to look into the very guts of the Flash application and disolve the 2d myth you see on screen to a 3D tangible entity you can truly crawl through.”

Doesn’t sound too interesting? You can just use the debugger or trace output to troubleshoot? You’re a fool! This app is the be-all-end-all of debugging tools.

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Producing Flash trace output from a browser

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The source of this fine nugget is g.wygonik’s flash experiments who found the info in Flex documentation. I’ve visited or pointed people to that page so often I decided to post it here in case anything ever happened to the original. This really is convenient.

  1. Right-click on the “My Computer” icon on the Windows XP desktop and select Properties to open the “System Properties” dialog
  2. Click the Advanced tab
  3. Click the Environment Variables button
  4. Add the following environment variables to the User Variables (not the System ones)
    – HOMEDRIVE with a value of “C:” (no quotes)
    – HOMEPATH with a value of “%USERPROFILE%” (again no quotes)
  5. Navigate to the C:\Documents and Settings\[i]username[/i] folder and create a new text file named “mm.cfg”
  6. Open the text file and add the following:
    ErrorReportingEnable=1
    TraceOutputFileEnable=1
    TraceOutputFileName=C:\flashlog.txt
  7. Download and install the Flash program debug player from Adobe.
  8. Install the version of your choice (ActiveX for IE / Netscape-compatible for FF)
  9. Open a web page with a SWF in it. If there is now a “Debugger” option in the context-menu, you have the Debug player installed. if not, try again, or try the uninstaller as mentioned above.
  10. Open Flash and make a new FLA with the following AS in the Actions panel:
    trace(“I am alive”); // or some other goofy test thing
  11. Publish your movie and open the HTML page
  12. Open Windows Explorer and look in the root of C:\ – there should be a flashlog.txt file (if not, check all the settings above and perhaps log-out and log back in, or reboot and try it again)
  13. Open the flashlog.txt file and you should see your trace output.

-rG