a stroke of luck

Logging from FAME


This is a very old page imported from my previous blog. If there is missing content below or anything that doesn’t make sense then please check the page on my old blog.

I’ve recently started playing with FAME (or more properly FME - FDT, MTASC and Eclipse) and found it frustrating not having a trace window in Eclipse which I could use to debug my code…

Then I discovered Powerflasher SOS which is a handy standalone console which you can connect to via an XMLSocket from Flash. SOS has some incredible handy features for use along with FME. For example you can set it to “Console > Bring to Front > During Connection”. This means that the logging console will stay at the front of your screen while there is a socket connection open to it. I found it fiddly with other logging solutions which had a console opening within a panel in Eclipse (maybe because of the lack of screen real estate on my laptop). So I like this feature a lot. You could even run the SOS console on a different machine to make maximum use of screen space!

I thought what if I could combine the power of SOS with the convenient object introspection of the LuminicBox logger and colour coding etc.. And while I was at it I decided to also add support for the MTASC TRACE directive. So I did. Building on the TracePublisher from LuminicBox and adjusting a little code I came up with something which turns this:

* example code for using a com.kelvinluck.util.SOSLogPublisher

import com.kelvinluck.util.SOSLogPublisher;
import com.kelvinluck.util.LogWrapper;

LogWrapper.getLog().addPublisher(new SOSLogPublisher("myAppsName"));
// log messages at different levels
LogWrapper.getLog().fatal("This is a fatal error :'(");
LogWrapper.getLog().error("This is an error :(");
LogWrapper.getLog().warn("This is a warning, warning, warning");
LogWrapper.getLog().info("This is information");
LogWrapper.getLog().debug("This is debugging info");
// an Array (folded by default in SOS)
LogWrapper.getLog().debug([1,2,3,{a:"Part A", b:"Part B"}, "Some text", 99]);
// an anoynomous object (also folded by default)
LogWrapper.getLog().error({a:"this is a", b:"and this is b"});
// an object with a toString method (folded by default with the name from the toString method shown)...
var testObj:Foo = new Foo("bar", 2000, ["A", "B", "C", "DDDDDD"]);
// and using TRACE - add "-trace com.kelvinluck.util.LogWrapper.mtascTrace" to the commandline and compile using MTASC
trace("Check out the class and line number info above!");
trace({error:"something is wrong"}, LogWrapper.ERROR);

Into this (showing the horizontal scrollbar and four objects – three in their default folded states and one which I have “unfolded”):

SOS in action

If you want to play with this code please feel free to download it here.

The zip file includes an example class with a static main method that can be used to test the installation.

To use these classes successfully you will need a couple of things:

Powerflasher SOS – install it and run it. Select “Console > Bring to Front > During Connection” from the menu.

LuminicBox logger – install the extension. I have also included the LuminicBox classes in my zip just because I had to make a few tiny changes to get them to play nice with MTASC which is stricter than the MMC.

Unfortunately SOS only runs on windows so at least the machine that you view the logs on must be a windows machine.

You can use it pretty much as demonstrated by the code above… Also check in the comments to the SOSLogPublisher code to see the arguments you can pass to the constructor etc… Just make sure that the relevant files are in your classpath.

If you are using these files along with MTASC’s trace functionality then you will need to add the following argument to your command line to MTASC:

-trace com.kelvinluck.util.LogWrapper.mtascTrace

Also note that you can do the following to toggle the display of line numbers:

LogWrapper.logCallingFile = false; // stops class / file / line number information from being logged
LogWrapper.logCallingFile = true; // starts class / file / line number information getting logged.

If you are using in with FDT then I found it really useful to create 4 Templates (“Window > Preferences > FDT > Templates > Templates”) to speed up entering debug code. For example, I have the “ze” (without the quotes) mapped to:


or if you are using MTASC and trace you may find this more useful:

trace(${cursor}, LogWrapper.ERROR);

And similarly for the other log levels.

When you publish your finished file for production you can simply comment out the relevant addPublisher line to you don’t need to worry about the innards of your program being visible to others. Or if you use MTASC and trace then even better – just change the trace argument to be “-trace no” and the traces won’t even be compiled into your final swf!

2005-08-30: First release
2005-08-31: Added folding so that Objects, Arrays etc which are logged are folded by default and can be opened inside SOS if you desire.
2005-09-01: Bug fix so XML and other objects containing < and > can be debugged.
2005-09-01: Added support for MTASC’s TRACE command
2005-09-10: Wrapped traced data in CDATA block so that ampersands, < ‘sand >’s can be successfully debugged.
2005-09-14: Added Natural Docs to the download zip.

If you find this useful or can think of a way that it can be more useful then please let me know below by leaving a comment below or via the OSFlash mailing list.

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