Access LiveDocs locally with Doc v3.0.1

Although the code-insight features of FlashDevelop help a lot, you can’t beat a good AS3 reference – and I use Adobe LiveDocs almost exclusively for this. Although I have a Firefox search plugin that gives me quick access to it, I have still always wanted a decent local copy that offered the same benefits my browser does, but faster.

Thanks to the magic of Twitter (cheers @kode80) today I found such a beast in the shape of an AIR app called Doc?

Doc? allows you to view, search and bookmark all your favourite ASDocs. But the biggest feature for me is that on-line docs can be downloaded and stored locally too. This means that the docs for things like Away3D, Flint, Papervision, Adobe CoreLib, TweenMax or anything else that has ASDoc documentation can be added to your local books collection.

Adding a remote ASDoc

Adding new books couldn’t be more simple. Just start-up Doc?, click the settings icon in the top-right and select “”Add Remote ASDoc”. You’ll be asked for some details. Here they are for the Stardust Particles system:

Note: when adding URLs be sure to specify a directory, and don’t have the index.html on the end.

Doc? will then download and index the files, storing them locally.

Be advised that on large sets of documentation this can take a while. Indexing the AS3 Language Reference took nearly 10 minutes, and that’s on an Intel Quad Core Q9950 @ 2.83GHz with 8GB RAM. Doc? stores the indexes in a local SQLite database.

Once downloaded and indexed the docs are available from the Books menu, ready for easy and fast local searching!

Here you can see I searched for “Radius” specifically in the Stardust book, and am viewing the CollisionRadius page. You can search across all books, highlight results in the text, include title and/or content in the search and even bookmark sections you know you return to often.

The tree view display has icons depending on the style of result – the green “C” circle icon means it’s a Class, but it also shows packages, methods, constants, interface and others.

AS3 Language Reference

One of the first things I recommend you do is download the ActionScript3 Language Reference zip from the Adobe web site (5.8MB). Unzip it somewhere and use the “Add Local Book” Settings option to add it. It will still need to be indexed (and this takes a long time), but it’s better to grab the zip as it can often have more up to date docs vs. those installed with CS4.

I’m quite sure that this app will save me a lot of time vs. digging through browser bookmarks.

Visit the Doc? web site

All I’d like to see now is this built into FlashDevelop, so F1 searched within Doc? :)

Posted on January 6th 2010 at 6:26 pm by .
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9 Responses

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  • aaulia
    January 7th 2010 at 2:50 am

    Have you tried this ? http://flashdevelop.org/community/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2318 it’s pretty much the same as the above, minus the automatic downloading though.

  • January 7th 2010 at 4:26 am

    Excellent! Though they kind of stole my idea for this. I wanted to build pretty much exactly the same feature into a future version of Alcon, complete with option to add additional third-party docs etc., hehe. But I guess whoever comes first, got it rightfully. Off to download ….

  • January 7th 2010 at 4:45 am

    …. just why don’t people add a function to remember window pos/size to their app?!! that’s one of the defaults when I write an air app!! grmpf $^%#$#

  • PeterD
    January 7th 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Nice, thanks for this!

    @sascha/hdrs
    Too late indeed ;), it’s on the blog that they had a first release in january 2009
    You can request features at their site too.

  • January 8th 2010 at 8:46 am

    Thank you for blogging about Doc?

    After reading it (and your comments), there’s 2 new features I’ll be adding: Automatically removing index.html if present and remembering screensize/position on close :).

  • January 8th 2010 at 9:39 am

    Oh, and I forgot, but you can actually enter the .zip file as a remote doc. It will download the zip file, extract it and index it. It probably IS faster to do it yourself, but I thought I’d let you know.

    Both features have been added and will be available in the next minor update.

  • January 8th 2010 at 9:45 am

    @Jeroen that’s great! thanks for letting us know! :)

  • January 10th 2010 at 11:26 am

    @sasha we released the update ;). Thanks for the suggestion!

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