Monitor applications that access data services

The Network Monitor is a useful tool for monitoring and debugging applications that access data services. The Network Monitor allows you to examine the data that flows between an application and a data service. It also examines XML, AMF, and JSON data, which are sent using SOAP, AMF, HTTP, and HTTPS protocols.

The Network Monitor is active in the Flash Development and Flash Debug perspectives.

Enable network monitoring

You enable the Network Monitor for individual Flex projects. The monitor state (enabled or disabled) applies to all applications within that project. You cannot enable or disable the Network Monitor on an individual application basis.

By default the Network Monitor is not enabled. You enable the Network Monitor by selecting the Enable Monitor icon in the Network Monitor toolbar.

This procedure assumes that you are in the Flex Development or Flex Debug perspective.

  1. If the Network Monitor view is not open, from the Flash Builder menu select Window > Show View > Other > Flash Builder > Network Monitor.

  2. If the Network Monitor is not enabled, in the Network Monitor toolbar click the Enable Network Monitor button. This button is a toggle for enabling or disabling the Network Monitor.

Monitor remote services

To monitor your application, run either the development or debug version of the application with the Network Monitor enabled.

In general, the Network Monitor captures and stores all event data until you either quit the application or explicitly clear the data. The events are displayed in chronological order.

Start a monitoring session

  1. Run either a development or debug version of the application that accesses remote services.

  2. For each access to a remote service, the Network Monitor lists the following:

    • Time of the request

    • Requesting service

    • The operation and URL if applicable

    • The time of the response

    • Elapsed time

  3. Select a column header to sort the returned data according to the values in that column.

    Click the column again to invert the order of the data.

  4. Select the request and parameter tabs at the bottom of the monitor to view the details about the request operation.

    The actual data sent in the request, as well as other information about the request, can be viewed from these tabs.

  5. Select the response and result tabs at the bottom of the monitor to view the details about the response.

    The actual data sent in the response, as well as other information about the response, can be viewed from these tabs.

  6. Double-click an entry to go to the source code for that operation.

    The Flash Builder source editor opens with the relevant line of source code highlighted.

    Note: For most events, the Network Monitor can correlate an event with the Flex source code. For some events that are triggered outside the scope of the Network Monitor, the monitor cannot find the Flex source code.
  7. Click the Save button on the Network Monitor toolbar to write all captured information to an XML file.

    Note: Use the generated XML file to study the data offline. You cannot import the data from this file back into the Network Monitor.
  8. Click the Clear icon in the Network Monitor toolbar to remove all captured information from the monitor.

Suspend a monitoring session

You can suspend and resume network monitoring. Suspending and resuming a session applies to all applications in the Flex project. For example, you cannot suspend one application in the project and continue monitoring another.

  1. Click the Suspend button in the Network Monitor toolbar to suspend the monitoring of a session.

  2. Click the Resume button in the toolbar to continue monitoring the session.

Stop a monitoring session

To stop monitoring a session, you disable the Network Monitor.

  1. (Optional) Close the Network Monitor.

    Note: Simply closing the Network Monitor does not stop the monitoring session. Monitoring is still active, even if the Network Monitor is closed.
  2. Click the Enable Network Monitor button.

    This button is a toggle for enabling or disabling the Network Monitor.

    Note: Disabling the Network Monitor applies to all applications in the Flex project.

Support for HTTPS protocol

The Network Monitor supports monitoring HTTPS calls to a server certified by a certificate authority (CA) or that has a self-signed certificate.

To monitor calls over the HTTPS protocol, modify the default preference for the Network Monitor to ignore SSL security checks. Open the Preferences dialog and navigate to Flash Builder > Network Monitor.

View Network Monitor data

The leftmost panel of the Network Monitor provides information about the source of the data. It displays the following information:

  • Source URL for the data service

  • The type of service displayed

    For example RemoteService, HTTPService, or WebService.

  • The request time, response time, and elapsed time for the data request

  • The name of the operation called from the data service.

The Network Monitor has two tabs for viewing data, allowing you to view the request data and response data.

For each request and response, you can view the data in Tree View, Raw View, or Hex view. Select the corresponding icon for each view to change how the Network Monitor displays the data.

  • Tree View

    Shows the XML, JSON, and AMF data in a tree structure format. This is the default view for data.

  • Raw View

    Shows the actual data that is transferred.

  • Hex View

    Shows the data in hexadecimal format. Hex view is useful when debugging binary data sent over a network.

By default, the Network Monitor clears all recorded data with every launch of an application. However, you can change the default behavior and retain all monitor data. Retained monitor data includes the data from all applications in all projects. Open the Preference dialog and navigate to Flash Builder > Network Monitor. Deselect Clear Entries on Start.

Save Network Monitor data

You can save Network Monitor data to an XML. Click the Save button in the Network Monitor view to save Network Monitor data.

Monitor multiple applications

You can monitor multiple applications simultaneously. There are two scenarios for monitoring multiple applications:

  • Monitoring multiple applications in the same project

    You can only have one Network Monitor per Flex project. When monitoring multiple applications in the same project, events from all applications appear in the monitor according to the time the event occurred.

    You cannot filter events in the monitor according to specific applications.

  • Monitoring multiple applications in different projects

    You can open a Network Monitor for each active Flex project. Each Network Monitor is independent of the other monitor, displaying only the events for its specific project.

    Suspending or disabling a Network Monitor in one project does not apply to monitors in other projects.

Monitor mobile applications

The Network Monitor lets you examine the data that flows between a mobile application and a data service.

You can enable the Network Monitor to monitor mobile applications by following these steps:

  1. Run the debug configuration of the application with the Network Monitor enabled.

  2. Specify a launch method.

    • On Desktop Select this launch method if you don’t have a mobile device and you want to monitor the application on your desktop.

      Select On AIR Simulator to monitor the application on a simulated device that is created using the AIR Debug Launcher (ADL). The device is simulated according to the device configuration that you select.

    • On Device Select this launch method to monitor the application on a mobile device.

      Typically, you use the On Device launch method to monitor applications that access the device’s native code. Flash Builder can access the device either by connecting to your computer’s USB port or over the network via Wi-Fi.

      Whether you connect your device over USB or over Wi-Fi, the Network Monitor records calls only if the device and the host machine are connected to the same network via Wi-Fi.

      If the Network Monitor cannot establish a connection via Wi-Fi, Flash Builder displays a dialog requesting the IP address of the host machine. Once the connection is established, the network calls from the application are rerouted to Flash Builder via the device’s Wi-Fi network.

  3. Monitor the mobile application as you would monitor a web or desktop application that accesses data services. For more information, see Monitor applications that access data services.

Limitations of the Network Monitor

Be aware of the following limitations when monitoring network data:

  • The Network Monitor does not support applications that were created using pure ActionScript and Library projects.

  • The Network Monitor does not support the Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP). For example, you cannot monitor streaming video.