Adobe Sneak Previews: Really Impressive!

I want to congratulate Adobe on the very impressive show they put tonight called “Adobe Sneaks”. The message they conveyed was that these outstanding pieces of technology were actually “play code” written by Adobe engineers either in spare time or as proof of concept. And the audience was very clear on both power of Adobe Platform and ability of Adobe engineering to deliver extraordinary results.

Couple of smaller sneaks really puzzled me. I am sucker for development productivity and the teaser that allowed you to do code editing while still in debugger session seemed like the greatest productivity boost while providing better developer experience then (my previous benchmark) VisualBasic 6 in-place debugging. For large projects it SAVES HOURS EVERY DAY and allow developer to stay focused on the code writing and debugging instead of going through lengthly mindless process. This is the top feature I want in the next Flash Builder. It took me 3 beers during bash to figure it out – was not trivial (I hope – can’t be sure till tomorrow morning;)) :

The replacement unit is the modified function and not the statement itself or class. Adobe would have to modify compiler/debugger to do MIR or LLVM of the AS3 code and in-place JIT, but once it is done you can do the magic. In case of the modified function being on execution stack, revert the function context to the last entrance point in the modified function and fast forward to the breakpoint – you have in-place editing while debugging. MIR/JIT integration is coming to the FlashBuilder as a part of Mobile Kit integration, and can be incorporated as a layer of compiler callbacks in debugger context. Depending on the integration of native compiler into tool chain it can be feasible enough to do it to the code in constructors or code that gets into _init sections but even pure function replacements will get 99% of the expected functionality.

The best side effect is that in debugging you really need to re-run the last executed statements and scoping to function does just that. Great job, Adobe.

There is no doubt in my mind that Adobe is very close of turning this platform into software revolution over the next few years. I am certain enough that I bought Adobe stock today regardless of the current economic situation as long term impact of their platform is so great.

Anatole Tartakovsky