A heartbeat, some books, and an IDE

Ouch! My last post has almost been 5 months ago! Realizing this, I had two options: to feign my own death until the next update, or to give some sign of (what for me passes as) life. Let’s go with the second option and see if there’s anything useful I can pass on anyway.

Not having posted in such a long time doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking off, though. Quite the contrary; the past months have seen some of the most intense coding sessions I’ve went through in a long time. First a 3-month non-stop coding spree for Away3D, followed by continued development on Farbe. Hopefully, the result of both will be available in the (very?) near future, along with some other updates!

Now, instead of giving you demos or code, here’s some other things to help you develop.

(and no, I won’t be sharing any thoughts on the future of Flash)


Books form such an important part of my development process and knowledge, I’m a bit surprised myself that I haven’t really shared any titles here. Trying to ammend the situation, here’s some of the more influential ones I’ve read since I’ve started this blog (leaving out more general ones concerning design patterns etc):

  • The Pragmatic Programmer, by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas: it’s a classic, and you should already have read it. So why am I still listing it? Because it often seems many Flash platform programmers stick to ActionScript/Flex-related books. Here’s a book that changes the way you think about your code, be it in form of design principles, tools or workflow. It’s a rather short read, so no excuses!
  • Elements of Programming,  by Alexander Stepanov and Paul McJones: I found this one on a random trip to the bookstore. Approaching algorithms and data structures in a very formal and mathematical way, it forces you to – again – think differently about your code, but on a lower level (mainly concerning algorithms using data structures). What I love about this type of books is that you suddenly realize how differently you start tackling certain algorithmic problems. Perhaps not a book for everyone, but an interesting read nonetheless.
  • 3D Game Engine Design, by David H. Eberly: (Thanks to Ralph for suggesting it way back :) ). “The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive 3D Technology” has quite a few good books, but to me, this is the most valuable. Of all books I had at the time, this one taught me most about many 3D engine concepts. During the development of Wick3d, I couldn’t do without it.

IDE – IntelliJ

I’ve recently started using IntelliJ IDEA 9 for ActionScript and Flex development, after hearing Joa and the Flash Bum raving about it. Coming from Eclipse (Flex Builder and FDT), it took a while to get used to, but now I have I can’t imagine returning to Eclipse at all. I have been raving about it in real life, much to the annoyance of my co-workers, so it would be wrong of me not to mention it here.  The refactoring, template and code generation support is simply unmatched, there’s a very useful and clean UML diagram view, properly integrated Maven support, … AND I get to annoy the Java/back-end team directly inside the IDE ;-)

To think I was once had to code C in MS-Dos Edit, how times have changed… :)

Edit: The Flashbum just wrote an article on InsideRIA about how to get started. Read all about it!

That’s about it. I hope this sign of life is useful to anyone after all! If not, I promise there will be more real updates soon!

5 thoughts on “A heartbeat, some books, and an IDE

  1. Hi David,

    I just noticed you are on the Away3D team; and since I’ve been looking for a tutorial to get started with a tile based Away3D game… do you perhaps have an idea where I could find some info about this?
    I’ve already checked out Matthew Casperson’s game tutorials but they weren’t really tile based.

    And since I’m a Java/AS3 developer I will certainly give IntelliJ IDEA 9 a try, though I can’t imagine ever leaving Eclipse behind.


  2. Ricardo: They have some getting started guides on their official site: http://www.jetbrains.com/idea/training/demos.html#flex . (Just to clarify: the IDE refers to Flex as the SDK, which can be used for normal AS development as well)

    Jochen: I’d look into any tile-based documents and apply what you can to Away3D. Personally, I would create the world as a “normal” 3D scene, and have a tile-based data-structure underneath, indicating types of surfaces, boundaries, or such – depending on your project. Be sure to check out our group, I’m sure there’s plenty of people who can give you more input: http://groups.google.com/group/away3d-dev

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