Flex - Debug Application

Flex provides excellent capability of debugging flex code and Flash Builder 4 has an excellent built-in debugger and debugging perspective support.

  • During debug mode, Flex Application runs on Flash Player Debugger version built in Flash Builder 4 which supports debugging capability.

  • So developers get an easy and inbuilt debugging configuration in Flash Builder

In this article, we'll demonstrate usage of debugging Flex Client code using Flash Builder. We'll do the following tasks

  • Set break points in the code and see them in Breakpoint Explorer.
  • Step through the code line by line during debugging.
  • View the values of variable.
  • Inspect the values of all the variables.
  • Inspect the value of an expression.
  • Display the stack frame for suspended threads.

Debugging Example

Step Description
1 Create a project with a name HelloWorld under a package com.tutorialspoint.client as explained in the Flex - Create Application chapter.
2 Modify HelloWorld.mxml as explained below. Keep rest of the files unchanged.
3 Compile and run the application to make sure business logic is working as per the requirements.

Following is the content of the modified mxml file src/com.tutorialspoint/HelloWorld.mxml.

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "utf-8"?>
<s:Application xmlns:fx = "http://ns.adobe.com/mxml/2009" 
   xmlns:s = "library://ns.adobe.com/flex/spark" 
   xmlns:mx = "library://ns.adobe.com/flex/mx"
   width = "100%" height = "100%"
   minWidth = "500" minHeight = "500" 
   initialize = "application_initializeHandler(event)">
   <fx:Style source = "/com/tutorialspoint/client/Style.css" />
         import mx.controls.Alert;
         import mx.events.FlexEvent;
         protected function btnClickMe_clickHandler(event:MouseEvent):void {
            Alert.show("Hello World!");

         protected function application_initializeHandler(event:FlexEvent):void {
            lblHeader.text = "My Hello World Application";

   <s:BorderContainer width = "500" height = "500" id = "mainContainer"
      styleName = "container">
      <s:VGroup width = "100%" height = "100%" gap = "50" horizontalAlign = "center"
         verticalAlign = "middle">
         <s:Label id = "lblHeader" fontSize = "40" color = "0x777777"
            styleName = "heading" />
         <s:Button label = "Click Me!" id = "btnClickMe"
            click = "btnClickMe_clickHandler(event)" styleName = "button" />

Once you are ready with all the changes done, let us compile in normal mode as we did in Flex - Create Application chapter.

Step 1 - Place Breakpoints

Place a breakpoint on the first line of application initialize Handler of HelloWorld.mxml

Flex Applying Breakpoint

Step 2 - Debug Application

Now click on Debug applicationDebug application menu and select HelloWorld application to debug the application.

flex Debug Button

If everything is fine, application will launch in the browser and you will see following debug logs in Flash Builder console.

[SWF] \HelloWorld\bin-debug\HelloWorld.swf 
- 181,509 bytes after decompression
[SWF] \HelloWorld\bin-debug\HelloWorld.swf\[[DYNAMIC]]\1 
- 763,122 bytes after decompression
[SWF] \HelloWorld\bin-debug\HelloWorld.swf\[[DYNAMIC]]\2 
- 1,221,837 bytes after decompression
[SWF] \HelloWorld\bin-debug\HelloWorld.swf\[[DYNAMIC]]\3 
- 1,136,788 bytes after decompression
[SWF] \HelloWorld\bin-debug\HelloWorld.swf\[[DYNAMIC]]\4 
- 2,019,570 bytes after decompression
[SWF] \HelloWorld\bin-debug\HelloWorld.swf\[[DYNAMIC]]\5 
- 318,334 bytes after decompression

As soon as Application launches,you will see the focus on Flash Builder breakpoint as we've placed the breakpoint on first line of application_initialize Handler method.

Flex Debug Application

You can see the stacktrace for suspended threads.

Flex Debug Stacktrace

You can see the values for expressions.

Flex Debug Expressions

You can see the list of breakpoints placed.

Flex Debug Breakpoints

Now keep pressing F6 until you reach the last line of application_initializeHandler() method. As reference for function keys, F6 inspects code line by line, F5 steps inside further and F8 will resume the application. Now you can see the list of values of all variables of application_initializeHandler() method.

Flex Debug Variables

Now you can see the flex code can be debugged in the same way as a Java Application can be debugged. Place breakpoints to any line and play with debugging capabilities of flex.

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