Ive had the gProject panel for a while now and ive been meaning to post something about it since day one and now ive finally gotten around to it, so here goes.
The first thing i would like to say is that i believe this to be the first commercially developed WindowSWF Panel i have seen for Flash. This in itself is ashame, because it appears that there arent that many people out there taking advantage of the extensibility capabilities of the authoring tool. If you look into it, .you can create some really cool, useful extensions that will quickly fit into your workflow and save you time when working with Flash.
Anways, moving swiftly onwards.
When people have to spend some of their hard earned money on a piece of software, they expect a certain level of quality, which means that it needs to be consistent, look professional, work well and serve its purpose without fault. You can tell immediatley when you open the gProject panel that Grant and his team have put alot of effort into polishing the panel to meet these expectations. It looks and feels like a commercial piece of software, clean, tidy and organised. To be honest i didnt expect anything less, after all, Grant is renowned for creating great applications. You have context menu’s, proper documentation, little icons, tooltips, preferences and an About box, plus everything else you would simply expect to find in a typical application.
Besides how it looks and feels, the gProject panel actually serves its purpose very well. It’s purpose, for me atleast, is to make it easier for me to work inside of the Flash Authoring Tool on projects that involve multiple files; classes, flash movies etc…
From inside Flash you can now browse the entire directory structure of a project and all the files that Flash supports (Actionscript Files, Flash Documents, Flash Movies). You can create new folders and new Flash files, delete files, clicking on a supported Flash file will open it up for you straight inside the IDE. You can even import Flash Movies (.swf) into the library straight from the panel. These things alone are worth their weight in gold, they saves me tonnes of time, not having to keep switching between Flash and Windows explorer.
Wait, theres more to gProject than just file browsing, it can also compile multiple Flash Movies for you, which saves you jumping through the list of tabs at the top of Flash and publishing each one individually and probably my favourite little feature of the panel is the ‘Open Bound Class’ feature, you can select a symbol in the library or an instance of a symbol on the stage and if that symbol has an associated class, this little utility will open it up inside the IDE for editing.
Another nifty little feature is the ability to create a class straight from the panel, you enter the full path to the class and gProject will build the directory structure for you if it doesnt already exist on the local filesystem, it also creates the actionscript file complete with the correct class definition inside it and if you tell it to, it can also create a movie clip in the library and associate that movie clip with the class and set up the movie clips Linkage Settings.
All in all, if you are a developer that uses Flash day in, day out i recommend that you pay the small price tag of $35 and get yourself a copy of this Flash Extension, it will save you tonnes of time, quickly fit into your development process/workflow and reduce the amount of tedious tasks that you perform in your day to day work.
For more information checkout the gProject panel product page.