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Probably the best Flash development helper application I’ve found. XTrace is a floating window that displays log messages from your Flash applications. It’s based on the clever idea of using a socket to send messages to an external program, which gets around the fact that you can’t create new windows in Flash, but have to have your log view on top of everything else.

It’s also quite well made, the floating window fades away a minute or so after the last message was printed, so it’s almost never in the way of anything else.

But, as usual, there is something that annoys me. This time it’s the ActionScript interface, which I find ugly and badly written (static methods galore). Luckily, the concept is so simple that writing an adapter for your favourite logging system shouldn’t be a problem. I quickly wrote an appender for mine, and have it all up and running beautifully, without changing a line of code in either my logger or my classes.

Since the source code for XTrace is open, I’m thinking of writing a headless server that logs to a file, which would be handy sometimes. We’ll see what happens. Edit: Looking closer at the source, the actual server is headless and works more or less as I would like it to. Just start it and redirect it’s output to a file.

Don’t forget to remove the appender/logger/whatever before shipping, you don’t want your applications trying to open sockets just like that.

More info about XTrace, and download link.

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