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Monthly Archives: March 2008

Northcode iconThe release of AIR along with Flex 3 last month (as well as an update to Flash CS3) gave us the possibility of creating intermittent internet connected desktop apps instead of being bound to the browser. (Can anyone say. “Click here to activate this ActiveX control?” in their IE explorer? Yeech!) Well, I’ve been developing such applications waaaaay before AIR caused a stir in the Flash community. These SWF2EXE applications converted your Flash .swf movies and pretty much added more functionality with additional commands. (It would be a good idea to do a feature by feature comparison between Adobe AIR and these SWF2EXEs.) Some of them created screen savers, and others became full-fledged applications. To see a list, check out the wikipedia definition at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWF2EXE_Software

I just browsed over to Northcode and discovered that they recently released Version 3.5 with AS3 and Flex support. I’ve been working with their SWF2EXE converter since version 2.5. (I got to know them better when I had visited their office when MX2004 came out and are involved in supporting the Ottawa Flash based community.) Northcode have a good support system and reply to your inquiries on their bulletin board system efficiently and were helpful when I was stuck troubleshooting my apps. Most of the comments that I have perused indicated better OS stability — even when Vista came out when compared to other SWF2EXE applications. (I am not sure about this now since most of the companies have upgraded their products.)

You can checkout their website at: http://www.northcode.com and start out with their trial version. (It’s an unlimited trial so that you can have lots of time playing around with it before you need to buy it.)

If you are creating executables exclusively on a Windows environment, it is a good option to check SWFStudio out.

MDM is probably the other alternative if your target OS is on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.

DJ

While looking over some source code that I had downloaded from Adobe, I tested my movie and was wondering, “Where did my bandwidth profiler go?” It turns out that my publish settings had been set to “AIR 1.0”. Just a recommendation that if you publish something, it might default to AIR. So if things don’t seem right, just check your publish settings.

DJ

I have been looking here and there through some AS3 articles. Particularly about creating a preloader. I had quite an experience.

Normally in AS2, I have a three step process in creating flash movies.

1) Preload the main movie (using this.getBytesLoaded and this.getBytesTotal) and then us onEnterFrame to monitor its progress with some kind of progress bar

2) In main movie, preload some other external assets (using movieClipLoaderInstance_mcl.load(“some_swf.swf”, mc_instance_mc); with all the event listeners etc…)

3) Test the movie

From what I am observing, the best AS3 practice doesn’t recommend the AS2 approach. In a sense, I need to unlearn my AS2 mindset to know how things work in AS3. While scouring on the web, the most popular choice is to:

1) In the main movie, preload all other assets through using a document class (e.g. in Java standards, you can specify which of your class files to be your Main class; It’s a class that extends the MovieClip class)

2) Test the movie

There is an excellent article on the Adobe site written by Big Spaceship’s Jamie Kosoy at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/actionscript/articles/lightweight_as3.html . The thing is about this article that he includes some extra utility classes (ie. Out.as) For a first time user, it might throw him off. I was hoping of just starting preloading in a more simpler approach. Anyway, it’s a recommended read.

Other articles on AS3 Preloading:

Koen De Weggheleir’s blogs are also pertinent to this subject.

1) preloader-in-flash-cs3-actionscript-30-way

2) more-about-preloading-in-flash-cs3

DJ