Google analytics code

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flex / ActionScript: Debugging

I ran into an issue while working on a project in flex. I was trying to figure out why something wasn't working and had a large amount of trace calls in my code. It was a complete pain to remove them all. This lead me to develop a debug class that I can turn off at a page level or you can turn if off in the class. It's a first draft. I'd like to make it a Singlton so I can turn it off for the whole project at a page level, but that's for later.

public class Debug
private var _displayDebug:Boolean = false;
private var _incomingClass:String = "";
private var _logArray:Array = [];

//to stop all debugging set this to false
private var _turnOffDebug:Boolean = false;

* Create the debug object 
* @param display
* @param fileName
public function Debug(display:Boolean, fileName:String): void {
_displayDebug = display;
_incomingClass = fileName;

* Display a trace message 
* @param msg
public function log(msg:String) : void {
//override anything a debug passes in
if(_turnOffDebug) {

if(!_displayDebug) {

var logMessage:String = "["+ new Date() +"]" + _incomingClass + ": " + msg; 


Using the class is simple. First create an instance of the class and tell if wither you want it on and what the name of the script you're calling it from is named.
var debugObj:Debug = new Debug(true, 'main.mxml');

To turn off debugging for the script just set the first parameter to false. To turn it off for the whole project change the class variable _turnOffDebug to true;

Use the log method to display your statement in the debug area of flash or flex.
debugObj.log('debug statement');

This is a what the trace statement should look like.
[Fri Sep 25 15:03:21 GMT-0700 2009]main.mxml: debug statement

If you have any feedback please send me a message.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Snow Leopard (10.6): Show the month and day in the menu bar

Snow Leopard(10.6) has a new option for Date & Time in System Preferences. You can now have the day, month and day of the month show in the menu bar. You could do this before, but it required a bit of hacking in the International section.

Goto System Preferences and select Date & Time. Click the Clock tab and check "Show the day of the week".

Your menu bar should look something like this now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

PHP: Simple register_globals workaround

Working with an old php4 project in php5 can expose some bad programming practices and create bugs. The first problem is relying on register_globals. I don't want to turn this on because it injects variables into the page scope. I also don't want to update the whole project to not rely on it.

The simple way around this is to write something that injects the variables into the project scope. This function will read all the variables from the url and inject them into the project scope. You should never rely on register_globals, but if you don't want to update old code this is an easy workaround.

function register_globals()
  //if register_globals is on then return
  if(ini_get("register_globals")) return;

  //inject URL vars into scope
  foreach($_REQUEST as $key=>$item)
    $GLOBALS[$key] = $item;

MAMP (Pro): Making changes to php.ini

I'm using MAMP Pro and trying to get an old project built in PHP4 up and running. The project depends on register_globals to be turned on. I tried to update the php.ini file located in MAMP/conf/php4/php.ini, but nothing would change when I looked at the phpinfo() output.

After banging my head against the wall for awhile I turned to the forums at There is an importance difference between MAMP and MAMP PRO. If you want to update any of the ini file settings while using MAMP PRO goto File => Edit Template and select the ini you want to update.

The full forum post can be found here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flash / ActionScript: String padding (leading zero)

I was working on a date/time format in Flash and needed a way to pad values out so they always took up the same amount of space. For example making sure a month always has two digits. Making sure it displays a "05" instead of "5". I couldn't find anything built into AS2 or AS3 to do this so I wrote something that would. It allows you to pass in a value and pad either the left or right side up to a given amount of characters.

* This function will pad the left or right side of any variable passed in
* elem [AS object]
* padChar: String
* finalLength: Number
* dir: String
* return String
function padValue(elem, padChar, finalLength, dir)
  //make sure the direction is in lowercase
  dir = dir.toLowerCase();

  //store the elem length
  var elemLen = elem.toString().length;

  //check the length for escape clause
  if(elemLen >= finalLength)
    return elem;

  //pad the value
    case 'l':
      return padValue(padChar + elem, padChar, finalLength, dir);
    case 'r':
      return padValue(elem + padChar, padChar, finalLength, dir);

This function accepts an object that can be converted to a string with the toString method, the character you want to use for padding, the final length of the string and wither you want it padded on the left or right side using the character "l" or "r".

For example if you have a number you want padded with three 0 so the final outcome will look like "0005" you would call the function like this.
var exampleNumber:Number = 5;
padValue(exampleNumber, "0", 4, 'l');

If you want to use this in FLEX you might want to type the parameters on the function and give it a return value.