Archive for April, 2004

Colin Moock has announced that you can now preorder his new forthcoming book: Essential ActionScript 2.0 which will launch on June 1st just a few weeks away!

UPDATE: New release date – June 18th.

Following that link will drive proceeds directly to Colin via his Amazon Affiliate account and garner him a few extra beans on each sale. Read more about the book and info here in Colins latest entry. I always reach for his previous books lining my shelf when I’m in doubt on something. I actually had a chance to briefly chat with Colin via his kickass Unity2 system today – nice talking with you Colin, best of luck with the launch of the book!

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There is a note in the requirements for Macromedia Flex that it requires Tomcat 4.1.29 or higher. The version of Tomcat that comes on the Apple Xcode CD with OS X 10.3.3 is version 4.1.24 – so far it seems to work OK with Flex, but I figured I would go ahead and upgrade to avoid any potential problems. Rather than download the source and compile 4.1.29, I found an easy way to update to Tomcat 4.1.29 tonight with a prebuilt binary straight from Apple, no compiling neccessary. Apple released an Application Servers Update 2.0 for Mac OS X 10.3 server in late March, and lo and behold it contains updates for WebObjects, JBoss and Tomcat. Now the installer wont run unless its being installed on a copy of Mac OS X 10.3 Server, unless you tweak the install script, or in my case use a tool called Pacifist to extract the binaries right from the installer. Here are the steps I took:

1) Download and install Pacifist

2) Download the Application Servers Update 2.0 – its 95 megs, so start downloading now while you play around with Pacifist

3) Once you have grabbed the update and the disk image is mounted, open the package with Pacifist and extract the Tomcat folder.

4) Shutdown your existing copy of tomcat if its already running:

/Library/tomcat/bin/shutdown.sh

5) If you have any installations in the tomcat webapps folder, (in our case flex, flexsamples) or any customized configs for tomcat or other modifcations, move them out of the old tomcat folder located at:

/Library/tomcat/

and set them aside

6) Rename the old tomcat directory in case you need to restore it or grab anything from it.

7) Move the newly extracted tomcat folder from the Application Servers Update 2.0 package to the location of your original tomcat installation.

8) Drop your flex and flexsamples webapp folders into the new tomcat webapp folder

9) Start the new tomcat:

/Library/tomcat/bin/startup.sh

You should now be running Tomcat 4.1.29 – test this out by going to http://localhost:9006/ and look in the top left hand corner of the screen. Then try out your Flex apps to see if everything is working.

Your all set – now back to playing with Flex. See this previous entry if you are looking to get Flex installed on OS X 10.3.3

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So I have wanted to play with Macromedia Flex on my laptop for a while now. This afternoon I finally decided to spend a few minutes and get it going on OS X 10.3.3, and it was relatively painless. Here are the steps I took which should get you going in less than 30 minutes, less than 10 minutes if you have everything at your fingertips.

Here is a screenshot of the Flex Samples Explorer in Action running locally on my laptop.

Requirements:

1) Mac OS X 10.3.3 (This is what I tested and executed these steps on a 15 inch 1.25ghz Aluminum Powerbook) with the developers tools installed from the Xcode CD

2) Mac OS X 10.3.3 Xcode CD (Intall the developers tools and specifically install the ‘ApplicationsServerDev.pkg’ found on the Xcode CD. This will install Tomcat 4.1.24-LE-jdk14 (Caveat: Macromedias notes indicate Tomcat 4.1.29 as a requirement – I havent noticed anything yet, but I have only been running it since this afternoon, if I find any issues I’ll post here. Its easy enough to download and compile the source for Tomcat 4.1.30, but the package on the Xcode CD is simply one click installer)

3) Macromedia Flex 1.0 Trial Installer (PC, Linux or Solaris)

4) Access to a Linux box, a Solaris box or a Windows Server box (In order to get the flex.war and samples.war files and other support files)

UPDATE April 14: Thanks to some info I found at Robbish via a Google search for “macromedia flex on mac os x” which cover getting Flex to work with JBOSS on OS X, I learned about a command line option for unzip that I had never utilized before, -d. By using this argument it forces unzip to ignore the shell script portion of the first part of the self extracting Flex installer. Thus negating the requirement for access to a PC running Linux, Solaris or Windows. So you can skip steps 1-7 by issuing this command from a terminal prompt in Mac OS X:

unzip -d flex flex-10-lin.bin

This will extract all the files (particularly the flex.war and samples.war) needed to get things going. Youll find them in the “dist” folder as .zip files. Grab the flex.war.zip and the samples.war.zip and unzip them. No you can feel free to skip steps 1-7. Also check the NOTES at the bottom of this entry for some links to important technotes regarding using Flex on OS X.

Instructions:

1) Get access to a PC running either Linux, Solaris, or Windows and launch the appropriate Trial installer or see note above added April 14th to skip right to step 8.

2) Accept the License Agreement.

3) Skip the serial number information to go into trial mode (I dont own Flex, so I’m using this in Trial/Developer mode with no serial number)

4) The installer will ask if you already have an existing Java Application Server or if you would like to Intall Flex with JRUN. Skip the JRUN install and just do the Macromedia Flex without JRUN option. We just want the .war files from the Flex Installer.

5) Allow the installler to do its thing.

6) Once the install has been complete, locate the Flex folder or path where everything has been installed. We really only need the flex.war and the samples.war files in the root of the Flex folder, but for fun, just go ahead and .zip or or tar/gzip up everything in that folder.

7) Transfer this archive over to you Mac OS X 10.3.3 machine and extract the flex.war and samples.war

8) If you havent already installed Tomcat from the Xcode CD (see requirements above) go ahead and do so now.

9) Locate where Tomcat was installed, default for the Xcode installer is:

/Library/Tomcat/

10) Go ahead and startup Tomcat to make sure its working (Make sure you also have Personal Web sharing On (Preferences > Personal Web Sharing > START) Now startup Tomcat from a terminal command prompt:

cd /Library/Tomcat/bin/
./startup.sh

You should get something like this:

Using CATALINA_BASE: /Library/Tomcat
Using CATALINA_HOME: /Library/Tomcat
Using CATALINA_TMPDIR: /Library/Tomcat/temp
Using JAVA_HOME: /Library/Java/Home

11) By default Tomcat should answer on port 9006. Test it by firing up a browser and going to: http://localhost:9006

(You can check to see which port tomcat is really running on by issuing the following command from a terminal command promt:

cat /Library/Tomcat/logs/catalina.out | grep ‘on port’ | tail -1

Go ahead and browse to the default location substituting the correct port # your copy of Tomcat is running on. If you see the default Tomcat info your in luck, just a few more steps.

12) Go one level deeper in the Tomcat folder hierarchy to the webapps folder

cd /Library/Tomcat/webapps/

Now make two new folder in this structure:

mkdir flex
mkdir flexsamples

13) Move the flex.war into the new flex folder you just made:

/Library/Tomcat/webapps/flex/

14) Do the same with the samples.war by moving it into the flexsamples folder

/Library/Tomcat/webapps/flexsamples/

15) Now from a terminal prompt navigate to the new flex folder where you just moved the flex.war file and issue the following command:

cd /Library/Tomcat/webapps/flex/

jar -xvf flex.war

This will extract all the flex files and settings.

16) Do the same for the samples.war

cd /Library/Tomcat/webapps/flexsamples/

jar -xvf samples.war

This will extract all the sample files and settings.

17) Now restart Tomcat:

cd /Library/Tomcat/bin/
./startup.sh

18) Now that Tomcat has restarted try accessing the working sample files by going to:

http://localhost:9006/flexsamples/

and try out one of the example files like the XML Data Feed or the Flex Samples Explorer.

If they work, you are in luck and off to the races with Flex on OS X, congratulations! Sweet!

NOTES:

1) I don’t believe this is an officially supported platform for Flex, so your on your own as far as support is concerned, but here is a good reference page from Macromedia that has some tech notes and other info about installing Flex which I used as a reference when getting this going:

http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flex/1/install.html

2) I haven’t even played with this for very long yet, I wanted to share this info with others to see if there are any caveats and because I was curious to see wether it would work properly or not. So far so good! I am still fairly new to Flex as I haven’t had as much time to play with it as I would like, but now that its on my laptop, I plan on doing a lot more with it and digging in to it.

3) If you would like to run the command line Flex compiler on OS X, make sure you read this http://www.macromedia.com/support/flex/ts/documents/mac_cmd_compiler.htm to help you get things going.

I’d love to hear other comments about your experiences getting this going on your Mac OS X machines.

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