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Opensource ActionScript Debugger - De Monster

by Moxie Zhang on Oct 02, 2009 |

InfoQ reported a Flash and AIR debugger Arthropod earlier this year. De MonsterDebugger is another debugger launched this year for Flash, Flex and AIR application development. InfoQ spoke with the lead developer of De MonsterDebugger,  Ferdi Koomen, to learn more about this tool.

Koomen started with an introduction of De Monsters:

De MonsterDebugger is a lightweight but fully-fledged debugger for Adobe Flash, Flex and AIR projects. It’s completely made in Adobe AIR and released under an open source license. The two most important features are the inspector and trace functionality. With the inspector you can dive into your application on runtime, allowing you to change properties or even execute functions straight from our debugger. The advanced trace allows users to see a detailed output from anything they send to our debugger. For instance a user can trace an XML document to see all the nodes and attributes, or trace a custom class to see its structure and properties.

On the comparison with other similar debuggers, Koomen described:

The debugger in Flex Builder is aimed at MXML development and Actionscript development within the Flex Builder IDE. However at De Monsters we prefer to create pure Actionscript 3 projects with a lot of custom components, so the Adobe Flash IDE is our weapon of choice and sadly there were no good debuggers for that environment. We try to keep De MonsterDebugger as easy to use as possible. And because De MonsterDebugger doesn’t need a development environment to run you can debug live applications or sites without changing configuration or using debug players.

The most unique points are our clean interface and active community. We try to listen to our users and implement new features on popular demand. An example of this is our recent addition called the memory and frame rate monitor. We use De MonsterDebugger on a daily base it needs to be stable enough to cope with our development demands, because nobody wants to debug their debugger.

Koomen also pointed to the post on De Monsters’ blog that made comparison with other tools such as X-Ray, Arthopd, Das Bugger, Whitefly and Alcon.

On the open source nature of De MonsterDebugger, Koomen shared:

The complete source code for the application can be downloaded straight from our Google code repository. This makes it interesting for developers to download the MonsterDebugger source code and alter it to match their specific wishes. To make this process of customization even easier we’re working on a modular system for De MonsterDebugger, so developers can create custom modules that extend the functionality of De MonsterDebugger. We will facilitate a way to share these modules with the community.

Koomen and his team are working on the AIR 2.0 version with the goal to be faster, modular and remote. InfoQ will continue reporting their progress.

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