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Alcon 3 Preview

Since so many of you (well, at least four people) are feverishly waiting for the release of Alcon 3 here’s a preview screenshot to comfort your waiting time. The shot shows Alcon’s trace output panel with some bogus Array being traced iteratively and as a hex dump. the top of the window displays Alcon’s new App Monitor which can be used to monitor framerate, frame render time and memory consumption. It also shows the version of the runtime that the monitored application is run in (clicking on the version text will list all System.capabilities properties in the Trace panel).

Then there’s the Options dialog with Trace options opened where you will be able to set font, colors etc. On the File Loggers Options you will be able to optionally enable up to two File Loggers that can be used for example to log the flashlog.txt to see output made by ActionScript’s own trace method.
There’s of course the new Object Inspector and a new Help panel for Quickstart Help and API Docs. Alcon 3 is being written 99% in ActionScript 3 using FDT (the 1% left being the Main.mxml that is necessary to compile a Flex application). It’s only a matter of a few days now until release, some bug fixing, finishing touches and a few more documentation to write and it will be out so please endure!

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  1. freddy
    August 21st, 2008 at 18:36 | #1

    looks great… good job

  2. August 21st, 2008 at 19:59 | #2

    Looking really nice. I used Alcon 2 extensively while debugging my last (very huge) game project, and here are some things that were definitely on my wish list for it:

    1) Being able to assign a trace to a section / category (for example traces coming from the main player character could be assigned to section 1, traces coming from the baddies section 2, etc) – and then being able to filter the output to only show specific sections, that would be great.

    2) Being able to inject colour values into the output traces (so you can colour the text to highlight important traces, or maybe just set the background colour). I was having to use the different trace levels (warning, etc) to simulate this!

    3) The new graph looks lovely – how about being able to add a marker into it? (so when you call a marker function it just adds a vertical coloured line to the graph). That way you could set a marker for each significant area of your SWF (obviously not something you’d want to do in an enter frame loop, but certainly would be useful after/before large processing events).

  3. August 21st, 2008 at 20:18 | #3

    Hi Richard,
    You could use the different filter levels/colors and keywords (which are now configurable in v3) to do what you described in point 1, at least simulating it to some degree. But I see your point about having dedicated definable categories for this. I’ll put that on my back list.
    About point 2, I’m not sure if that would be desirable because the output you see in Alcon is basically HTML text and Alcon makes sure to convert any HTML tags that you might have in your output text back so they display as raw HTML tags. This is so that Alcon doesn’t falsify the output result. It might be overkill to add a feature to even detect color-coded parts of an output string. But I will give more thought to this later.
    Point 3 sounds definitely useful and I’m going to add that to the App Monitor (if not in v3 then in a soon following update). Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. August 21st, 2008 at 20:38 | #4

    same request as richard davey : possibility to set color and background color for each different lines.
    Alcon si great, i use it every day at work and for my personnal project.
    thanks again

  5. Dimitar G.
    August 21st, 2008 at 22:00 | #5

    Looks good!

    Are you going to post the source code whenever it is ready?

    And do you need testers?

  6. August 22nd, 2008 at 12:27 | #6

    @aestheticsData (and Richard): Could you give me more detail on how you imagine the requested feature to look and how it should work? I can think of a custom tag to highlight parts of a string that are being color-coded but simply doing this with Debug.trace() means that these tags are always processed by Alcon, even if you want to have the raw output, e.g. …

    Debug.trace(“Some [%0xFF00FF%]Fancy[%0x%] String.”);

    @Dimitar: sorry so far no plans are made to make it Open Source again. Maybe at a later time.
    There will be no closed or open beta period. But if you find any bugs it’ll be great to submit them.

  7. August 22nd, 2008 at 19:17 | #7

    Hi – here is how I imagined it’d work:

    Debug.createCategory(1, 0x000000, 0xffff00);

    (1 = category ID, 0 = text colour, ffff00 = bg colour)

    Then you simply do:

    Debug.trace(“your trace string”, 1);

    1 being the category (and optional). I had imagined it’d work like this rather than you passing colour values in the trace itself (that would get messy). If you didn’t create a category then it’d ignore that value.

    This way Alcon can easily filter incoming trace requests too.

  8. JG
    August 26th, 2008 at 02:44 | #8

    beautiful beast

  9. August 27th, 2008 at 15:31 | #9

    Richard, thanks for explanation! That looks much more logical than convoluting strings with custom tags! I’ve added that to the list of future planned features. I’m wondering if we should call it ‘Categories’ or if ‘Channels’ is a better term for that.

  10. August 27th, 2008 at 17:46 | #10

    I think calling it a “Filter” makes the most sense to me (or a “Custom Filter”). Glad you liked the idea though! It was the only thing that made me remove Alcon2 from my last project when it got too big (because it was a nightmare seeing all the trace output I had going on with no means to filter it!)

  11. Tomasz Lisiewicz
    August 12th, 2010 at 06:37 | #11

    Great job! App is awesome!

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