ActionScript Compiler 2.0 Shell (ascsh is to AIR SDK as fcsh is to Flex SDK)
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ActionScript Compiler 2.0 Shell

ascsh and ascshd* are wrappers for the new ActionScript Compiler 2.0, modelled to be roughly equivalent to the older Flex Compiler's fcsh and fcshd. They improve AS3/AIR/SWF/SWC project compilation performance by maintaining a persistent JVM compiler process. See my blog post for more info and a little backstory.


FlashDevelop users don't need to do any setup, as ascsh.jar is included in version 4.6.1 and later. Command-line users should follow these instructions:

Clone (or download) the repo and run ant install. This will install ascsh and acsshd into the AIR SDK bin and lib directories. You must have the AIR_HOME environment variable configured to point to your AIR SDK.

>ant install
Buildfile: /home/admin/dev/ascsh/build.xml


     [echo] ----------------------------------------------------------------
     [echo] Installing ascsh to AIR_HOME at /opt/air_sdk_3.9
     [echo] ----------------------------------------------------------------
     [copy] Copying 2 files to /opt/air_sdk_3.9/lib
     [copy] Copying 3 files to /opt/air_sdk_3.9/bin
     [echo] ----------------------------------------------------------------

Total time: 0 seconds

You may also run ant uninstall to remove files from your AIR SDK.


You can use this project from FlashDevelop, or from the command-line like fcsh or fcshd.

Using ASCSH with FlashDevelop

FlashDevelop 4.6.1 and newer include this ascsh jarfile, so building with the AIR SDK should result in fast compile times. In the output panel for the first build you should see INITIALIZING: ascsh v0.3 by Jeff Ward and on subsequent builds Incremental compile of 1. If you have problems, you might check the FlashDevelop forums for help with asc2 incremental compilation.

Developers may wish to modify ascsh, rebuild with ant jar, and re-install the resultant dist/ascsh.jar file into your FlashDevelop installation.

Using ASCSHD from the command-line

ascshd is a convenience wrapper around ascsh and is the most common way of invoking ascsh from the command-line. It operates just like fcshd - it starts a background server thread to maintain the ascsh process and sends commands to it for builds. This way, your build can simply call ascshd by prefixing it to your mxmlc command, and it just gets faster over time:

> $AIR_HOME/bin/ascshd mxmlc -source-path+=. -optimize -o main.swf
  ... 10 second build (initial compile)
> $AIR_HOME/bin/ascshd mxmlc -source-path+=. -optimize -o main.swf
  ... 2 second build (subsequent compiles)

Stop the server process by calling $AIR_HOME/bin/ascshd kill

Multiple instances of ascshd

To run multiple instances of ascshd, specify a port number before the mxmlc or kill commands:

> $AIR_HOME/bin/ascshd -p 11123 mxmlc -source-path+=. -optimize -o app1.swf
> $AIR_HOME/bin/ascshd -p 11124 mxmlc -source-path+=. -optimize -o app2.swf
> $AIR_HOME/bin/ascshd -p 11123 kill
> $AIR_HOME/bin/ascshd -p 11124 kill

To kill all instances at once, use:

> $AIR_HOME/bin/ascshd killall

ascshd + Windows = :(

Note that the ascshd server may not work under Windows. It's currently a Ruby script that uses processes, sockets, and process I/O to operate, and it seems to hang on Windows. I'd like to hear others' feedback - feel free to contribute a Windows-compatible ascshd (in any language you like - perl, python, Java, etc.) The ruby script should be fairly straight-forward to replicate.

Using ASCSH from the command-line

ascsh itself is a shell (like fcsh) and requires text input to kick off initial and subsequent builds. It is invoked under-the-hood when you use ascshd or FlashDevelop. But you can use it from the command-line, should you want to. Simply enter your compile command at the prompt:

> $AIR_HOME/bin/ascsh
ascsh v0.2 by Jeff Ward,
mxmlc -o
  ... 10 second build
mxmlc -o
  ... 2 second build

Version History

  • version 0.5 - Updated README, build.xml uses Java target 1.6 compatibility, ascshd support for specifying port (multiple instances), created (see below)
  • version 0.4 - Fixes for FlashDevelop (thanks to Philippe Elsass)
  • version 0.3 - ascsh mimics fcsh prompts (for FlashDevelop), but only one target supported for now
  • version 0.2 - working ascsh, ascshd in Ruby (Windows support iffy)
  • version 0.1 - proof of concept vs

Unfortunately, the FlashDevelop-compatible no longer works correctly from the command-line, and I can't figure out why. I spent a long time commenting/uncommenting code that just shouldn't make a difference. If is used in the command-line flow, it seems to ignore configuration settings that should be setting the Flash target version to 11.9, and trying to load 11.1 instead:

> cd test; $AIR_HOME/bin/ascsh
ascsh v0.4 by Jeff Ward,
(fcsh) mxmlc
fcsh: Assigned 1 as the compile target id
Loading configuration: /opt/air_sdk_3.9/frameworks/flex-config.xml

/opt/air_sdk_3.9/frameworks/flex-config.xml:47: Error: unable to open '/opt/air_sdk_3.9/frameworks/libs/player/11.1/playerglobal.swc'.
/opt/air_sdk_3.9/frameworks/flex-config.xml (line: 47)
Compile status: 4
(fcsh) ^C

The upshot is, I had to introduce that works for the command-line, and leave that works with FlashDevelop. I'm also not going to commit a dist/ascsh.jar as I'll assume Philippe's last version (0.4) is good.