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FlexSpy: Component Inspection for Adobe Flex

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Brian Deitte recently described on his blog the time-consuming process of fine-tuning Adobe Flex application layouts, and referenced the open-source project FlexSpy, which provides a tool-set for browsing as well as making live changes to the components of a running Flex application:
Before FlexSpy, when I got handed a design, I'd make a few changes, recompile, navigate to a component (or change code to navigate to it), see the design (which sometimes didn't look the way I expected), and start the process over. This gets very tedious very quickly. Now I can make a change with FlexSpy and see it immediately in the application.
Deitte directly compares the functionality of FlexSpy to the DOM inspection tool for Firefox, Firebug:
When I took a trip into HTML/Javascript work last year, I had to make some pages look like a given design. I asked a co-worker at Brightcove, Leonard Sutton, to check over what I was doing. He took one look at my computer and installed Firebug. My CSS work changed completely after this. The Firebug extension has a few purposes, but the most useful function is the dynamic setting of CSS. If you hadn't tried it, it may not seem like a big deal to reload a page on every CSS change... until you've made a few hundred of them. And half of them don't look the way you expect. I ended up making almost all my CSS changes in Firebug. Now Flex has a similar tool in FlexSpy.
FlexSpy is licensed under the new BSD License, and is available at Google Code. Features of FlexSpy include:
  • Browse the component hierarchy.
  • Make property changes to each component.
  • Change style settings of each component.
  • Find components by highlighting.
You can read more about FlexSpy at the project homepage, and there is also a demo application available on the developer's blog (French).

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