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Flash CS4 Bug with OS X Spaces

Update (5/15/2009): It seems that the combination of the Apple OS X 10.5.7 update and the Flash CS4 10.0.2 update fixes this issue!

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As a developer I use both multiple monitors and OS X Spaces when working with the Flash IDE. While I don't usually code within Flash, but rather FDT, I do like to have the actions and output panels open on my second monitor while working in Flash. This allows me to free up space within the main Flash work area and requires much less collapsing and expanding of panels while working throughout the day.

I had come across a bug in Flash CS3 a while back where OS X Spaces would cause the Flash IDE windowing system to become completely unusable after switching between spaces a few times. Sadly, this bug is still present in Flash CS4 - and even more prevalent. So, I decided to email Adobe to see if the issue could be resolved. In the process I took a screencast of my desktop to help them diagnose the problem. Below is what I have sent them:

The issue in question with Flash CS4 (and possibly other CS4 apps) can be found in OS X 10.5 (I'm specifically running 10.5.5) when using two or more "spaces". Additionally, one of the panels needs to be in its own window -- for instance the actions panel should not be docked within the application interface -- and also placed on a second monitor/display from the application.

In the video below I am recording my main display while my secondary display is not visible, and on that second monitor I have an undocked actions panel. The video shows me switching back and forth between two OS X spaces - one with FDT open, the second with Flash CS4 open. As you can see, switching back and forth between the spaces can cause the Flash CS4 interface to become "detached" from itself. This ends up being a very frustrating issue because there isn't a lot that users can do to solve the problem, and any solutions I have found don't seem to work consistently. In fact, the only fix I have found is the bring the undocked windows (in this case the actions/output panel) back onto the main monitor, overlapping the Flash IDE.

Here is the video, re-sized to fit within my blog:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

You can also download the original screencast as a Quicktime .MOV here, which is much larger and clear.

Sadly, no fix yet, but let's hope if enough people also note the issue it will be fixed in the next update.

Josh said,

November 4, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

I noticed this during the prerelease for CS4, but was never able to duplicate it reliably enough to get the bug fixed. Glad (not really, though) someone else has found this bug, and hopefully enough people can report it to find a fix.

Jay said,

November 4, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

I have this same problem but what happens is the window chrome of Flash CS4 stays in the correct space, while the actual contents inside the window (timeline,stage,palettes,etc) move to the next space.

I have to quit Flash and start over. I use spaces CONSTANTLY so this is a huge problem.

Jon MacDonald said,

November 4, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

Jay – Great explanation. That is essentially what happens to me as well, and is what is shown in the video.

Amol Mittal said,

November 4, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

Same thing is happening with me. Flash CS3 also had the same problem.
I really wish they do something about this.

The way I get around this issue for now is I click on the minimize button. It takes two tries. The First click takes you back to space 1. Then you go back to Space 2 and click on minimize again and the Application should minimize. Then open it up again from the dock and everything is in its place.

Very annoying indeed.

Amol Mittal said,

November 4, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

actually.. just discovered..
pressing F4 or the “Hide Panels” shortcut key twice does the trick as well
just a little quicker :-)

Flug Bangkok said,

November 5, 2008 @ 1:32 am

I have had the same thing, i don’ t know what happened with Flash CS3 and OS X. I wish they find a solution to this windowing problem.

FMFurnace said,

November 5, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

This problem has been plaguing me in all CS4 apps that I use. It’s most noticeable for me in Photoshop. I never had an issue with “spaces” in CS3. I would routinely have Photoshop documents open in multiple spaces. Since upgrading to CS4 I have not been able to spread my files out across multiple spaces. It’s only happy if I have all my docs open in once space. This is really frustrating because it can get quite cluttered for me with the way I work.

I really hope they resolve this with an update very soon.

Kelsey said,

March 6, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

I’ve had the same issue since CS3 as well. I’m noticing that it occurs even more frequently in CS4. However everyone I’ve asked that uses both Spaces and either CS3 or CS4 has never had an issue. This is the first time I’ve come across anyone with this problem. Glad (in a way) that others are seeing this… I just hope enough are seeing it AND letting Adobe and Apple know that this problem exists.

Dan Wilt said,

March 9, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

Thank you for such a thorough post. The same exact thing is happening to me. Can this be forwarded onto Adobe?

Jon MacDonald said,

March 9, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

@Dan – I have passed this along to Adobe team members. I have been told it is an issue with Apple’s Spaces/OS X, not Adobe’s apps. However, they are claiming to be working on a fix with Apple. We’ll see!

John said,

March 10, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

@Jon — Flash CS4 and Fireworks CS4 are the only two apps I’ve had this issue with. I’ve stopped using Spaces because it is a show stopper for me. I haven’t had this issue with any other OSX app to date.

Found and Lost: The Flash IDE | Sleepwalker's Dream said,

April 10, 2009 @ 6:18 am

[…] depending on what I am doing.  I don’t use a Mac, but Jon MacDonald has informed me that the integration of OSX Spaces is an absolute nightmare. I have noticed the panels to be highly buggy, I want to know why Photoshop […]

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