Archive for April, 2007

SharpStyle Neutron uses excellent open source ActionScript compiler called MTASC developed by Nicolas Cannasse. Click here to read Comparison with Macromedia ActionScript compiler. But if you are an advanced ActionScript developer, you might also be familiar with HAMTASC. SharpStyle Neutron makes it very easy to substitute one compiler with another.

This tutorial will demonstrate how to substitute MTASC with HAMTASC.

Actually, it is very easy in Neutron. There are a few steps to do:

1. Open Hello World sample in Visual Studio 2005 and compile it. As you can see in Output window screenshot below, HelloWorld project has been successfully built with MTASC:

Compilation result in Visual Studio Output window

2. Now let’s substitute MTASC with HAMTASC compiler. You can set the path to the compiler in Visual Studio under Tools -> Options -> Projects and Solutions -> ActionScript Project Settings -> MTASC path. Browse the HAMTASC executable file mtasc.exe and then press OK to apply the changes. 

Tools -> Options -> Projects and Solutions -> ActionScript Project Settings -> MTASC path 

3. Build the project again, but this time with HAMTASC compiler:

Compilation result in Visual Studio Output window

4. As you might know HAMTASC uses some additional compilation options, which can be added to compilation command thanks to Neutron Project Properties:

HelloWorld project Project Properties in Visual Studio 



~ Dmitry

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If you are interested in joining Neutron Beta group, please email us: neutron@sharpstyle.com


This release includes the following fixes/enhancements:

  • Fixed: Visual Studio would freeze when compiling a large project
  • Fixed: Go to Definition for functions with parameters didn’t make correct selection
  • Fixed: multiple Zip files with same name will cause issues
    • Neutron supports Zip reference features that allows you to link an external library as a zip file and Neutron automatically unzips and references classes within. If you had multiple projects referencing zip file with the same name, AS classes would be unzipped into the same folder. This release resolves this issue
  • Fixed: HTML template file validation in Project Properties->Run for ‘Run in default application … ’ option
  • Compilation process now shows output line by line
  • Parsing performance optimization — significant improvements when parsing large libraries to display IntelliSense 
  • Added checkbox to enable/disable IntelliSense
  • Added default empty class to ActionScript Library template
  • Added UI for changing the Zip reference cache path and clearing cached libraries (under Tools->Options->Projects’n’Solutions->ActionScript Project Settings->Reference Cache)
  • Added browse button for “main class” in Project Properties
  • Other minor bug fixes and changes



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I didn’t watch all of them, but those few that I watched are done very well.



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Working on SharpStyle Neutron I very often need to open the Visual Studio IDE under as named experimental hive. MSDN describes the concept of Visual Studio Experimental Build in following way:

To safeguard Visual Studio from applications you develop that might change it, the Visual Studio SDK provides an experimental build of Visual Studio. You develop new applications by using Visual Studio as usual, but run them with the experimental build.

The experimental build is nothing more than Visual Studio with another registry hive called the experimental hive. Having two side-by-side registrations of Visual Studio helps protect your Visual Studio installation from any harm that the experimental software could cause.

To start Visual Studio by using the experimental registry hive, run the following command from the Visual Studio command prompt:

“<Visual_Studio_Install_Path>\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe” /RootSuffix Exp

As you can see every time I need to run the Visual Studio in experimental hive I have to execute the command above or use the shortcut located in Start -> Programs -> Visual Studio 2005 SDK -> 2007.02 -> Tools -> Start Visual Studio 2005 under Experimental hive.

One day I spent a lot of time to do such procedure many and many times. And the first improvement was an assigning the shortcut key for the shortcut.

Well, it works much better that going through the Start->Programs… every time. I used this solution but problem was not solved.

To open the solution in normal registry hive you can just double click on .sln file or select from context menu item ‘Open’ or item ‘Open With’ and then select the program you want the file be opened with. I prefer the last way because I often edit the files in different editors.

So the common case is following. I navigate to the folder where .sln file located, right click on it to open in… yes … in experimental build of Visual Studio! So now I have to press the CTRL+SHIFT+E to run the experimental build of Visual Studio and then I have to use File->Open and navigate to the folder I was again. Not very comfortable scenario.

I start thinking and have found the simple and going solution – add a new subitem  to ‘Send To’ context menu item. To add new command in ‘SendTo’ menu all of you need is to create the shortcut to command you want in this path:

C:\Documents and Settings\<Your_Account>\SendTo\

I just copied the shortcut from “Start -> Programs -> Visual Studio 2005 SDK -> <VSSDK_Version> -> Tools -> Start Visual Studio 2005 under Experimental hive” and renamed it to “Devenv Exp”. Now to open the solution in experimental hive I just right click on .sln file and select Send To -> Devenv Exp.




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