Logging Information From Adobe Flash Based Applications

16 Jun

Testing for the Flash Application is bit a challenge when we are testing it from the Front End Browser. Adobe Flash solution can be implemented in many ways.Most of the Flash based applications involves playing around with Action script which could be in form Flash Videos(FLV)/Graphics or Rich desktop applications.In some cases the content needs to streamed and viewed via flash player installed on the client browser.Streaming of the videos/Content can take place via various algorithms like progressive download,embedded FLV file in the HTML or streaming directly from Flash Media Servers.

Sometimes it so happens that when we are testing from the front end we might not be aware of as which technical solution has been implemented.Flash players installed at the client browser may not give your sufficient information as what exactly is happening behind the screen. All we see that for some reasons we are not able to view content,but client in most of the cases will never be able to pin point the exact reasons as why content has suddenly stopped playing.

Now wait a second, there exists a way where in we can really see as what is happening behind the scenes when we are testing Flash Based application.Below is exactly what I did,

  • Uninstall the existing Flash Player from the System.This can done by going to Uninstall Programs in control setting of the your computer.
  • Then verify that you do not have Flash Player in your Browser Plugin List.For this you need to go to Browser >Tools>Manage Add-On. The Location of Add-On varies depending on the make/version of your browser. I assume that you know where to locate browser add on.
  • Once you have confirmed that you don’t have Flash Player installed in your Browser,go the this link. and download this Flash Debug Player for IE.This is latest version of player as of now.The adobe site has debug version for Mozilla and Chrome Browser as well in the site.
  • Once you have downloaded and installed the Flash Debug Player.Reboot the System.Open the Browser and go to browser Add-On and check if the Flash Debug Player is enabled over there. I should be enabled.
  • Now create a mm.cfg files in your C:\\Documents and Setting\<username>\mm.cfg
  • Now open that mm.cfg file and enter the below lines to the file,

ErrorReportingEnable=1

TraceOutputFileEnable=1

  • Once you have written those lines,save the file and close it.Reboot the system now.
  • Start testing your Adobe Flash/AIR/Flex based application now, you should be able to see the Pop up window coming out of your browser every now and then whenever your flash code generates an error or exceptions or uses any undeclared variables etc. in their code. This is what is actually going on at the client side and is what exactly client seeing whenever streaming hangs.With this information I am sure, we can pinpoint the scope and know exactly where the issue lies in the code.

Complete details of various parameter that can be set in mm.cfg file and along with various options and their meaning  can be found here at this link. 

However I would to like to highlight that starting from Flash Player 10.0 version, adobe has removed many of those option given in the above link.If you want to use all these options then probably you want to install and check with Older version of the Debug Flash Player.The Older version of the Flash Debug Player can be found here. If you are using older version of Debug Flash Player, then probably you might not see the Pop Up window and all the events might be getting written in flash player log file which is located in your Application Setting folder.If you are not sure about the location, then you can do the quick desktop search for flashlogs.txt file in your desktop.

Hope this helps in your efforts for testing flash based application.

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