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Flash JSFL Command: Locate Selected Symbol in Library

I've always wondered, "is there a way to select an object on the stage and then have a command tell me where that symbol is in the library?" For a Flash developer, this comes up at least once a day.

After some searching I came across a JSFL command for Flash CS3/CS4 that finds the parent symbol in the library of the item currently selected on the stage.

To install the command, download this file, unzip it and place the resulting JSFL file here:

Mac:
/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS4/en/Configuration/

Windows:
\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Flash CS4\en\Configuration\

You can also replace CS4 with CS3 for your flavor of choice.

Once installed, select the object on the stage that you wish to locate in the library and is likely buried way, way deep inside nested folders that the Illustrator to Flash process created. In the toolbar choose "Commands" and then "Find in Library". The object will now be highlighted in your library panel. Digging for the symbol no longer required.

I'd like to point out that I am not claiming to have written this script, but I found it on some site far, far off on the Internet and which I can no longer locate to provide credit where credit is due. I do remember, however, it was provided "free and open source", so all should be well.

Gaia 3.0 Released

The long awaited release of Gaia 3.0 is available for download now! There are lots of great new features and bug fixes included in 3.0, the biggest of which is Flash CS4 support.

The Gaia panel was completely rewritten in Flex and includes optimization features, easier Gaia project management, and a new publish panel which makes developing with Gaia even easier. Gaia 3 also features a brand new version of SWFAddress (version 2.3) that fixes the Firefox 3 OSX redraw bug.

There is also a completely new addition to the Gaia project: the Gaia Framework Site Creator AIR application. This small AIR application allows you to quickly update your project's site.xml and visualize it as a wireframe sitemap.

gaia-site-creator

Some of the features include XML validation, drag and drop re-ordering, reordering of asset load order, editing project properties, and printing a site map. You can download the first version from Wade Arnold's blog posting about the app.

SWX v2 beta Released, Public Gateway Updated

I have just pushed SWX v2 beta live on the project's Google Code page!

Along with this release the public gateway has also been updated to use SWX PHP v2 beta and allow for AS3 support. You can find documentation here, which shows how to use the new AS3 API as well as provides an introduction to the new Simple Call and Custom Call methods of interacting with your SWX gateway.

Lastly, Folkert Hielema has contributed an updated Twitter service and a new Identi.ca service. Both of these services are live on the public gateway (you can test them in the Service Explorer) and also available in the SWX PHP download available on the Google Code page under "Featured Downloads".

I will continue to work on updating the SWX blog with new documentation, but until then please refer to this documentation - it should provide you with everything you need to get started with v2.

If you notice any issues, please log them here. For support or to discuss the new release, please use the project's mailing list.

This release has been a huge effort by the SWX development team, and has been in the works since September. I'm sure you'll enjoy using it as much as we've enjoyed coding it.

Can't wait to see what you build!

SWFAddress 2.2 Released

Rostislav has announced the release of SWFAddress 2.2 this morning, with a large number of enhancements and bug fixes:

  • Refactored JavaScript implementation
  • New SWFAddress.swc AS3 component
  • New CS4 based Splash screen sample
  • New Digg API sample
  • New up() method for easier deep linking path navigation
  • New XSS protection that doesn't affect special characters
  • Support for Internet Explorer 8
  • Support for custom HTTP status messages in the SEO sample
  • Improved title handling
  • Improved unload event handling for IE
  • Updated Rails sample
  • Fixed getBaseURL() for AS3
  • Fixed Safari 2.0-2.0.3 support
  • Build-in fix for the Firefox 3/Mac OSX blinking effect
  • Additional onLoad fix for application/xml content type
  • Fixed optional options parameter for the popup method
  • Cross platform build script
  • Various optimizations

This looks to be a major release, and took over seven months of development. I remember speaking to Rostislav about this release back at FOTB 2008 Brighton, so he truly has put in a lot of effort. Here's hoping it gets wrapped into the expected new Gaia release.

The new version is available for download here.

SEO Article in Flash & Flex Developers Magazine

Flash & Flex Developers Magazine - January 2009A few months back Jason McCoskery and I wrote a fairly detailed article for Flash & Flex Developers Magazine about SEO for Flash and Flex. It looks like the article has just been published in the January 2009 issue.

Jason and I used our experiences in building the p.i.n.k. Spirits website as a platform for testing the concepts and they worked so well that we decided to write an article. The article covers using SWFAddress and SWFObject with PHP to provide your content in an alternate view (in this case HTML instead of Flash) for SEO purposes.

The article contends that when Adobe announced they were working with Google and Yahoo! to improve the searchability of Flash and Flex websites and applications, the Flash development community largely applauded the initiative. However, months after the announcement there has been minimal increase in the effective search engine rankings of Flash and Flex websites.

We discuss why the current method of Google and Yahoo!'s new 'headless player' isn't working quite yet, and how you can provide a mirror of the exact same content in your Flash and Flex projects as HTML using a single data source. This is a 'white hat' approach and doesn't break any of Google's rules.

There have recently been some articles on how Google has been updating the 'headless player', namely this article on InsideRIA, and I may do a blog post updating the article if necessary. Until then, be sure to check out the article in the January 2009 issue of Flash & Flex Developers Magazine.

FDT Tip: Turning Off Error Notices for External Classes

I've been using FDT for quite some time now, and I keep having a recurring issue when using external, third-party, open source classes/libraries: if the code is not strictly data typed and/or contains some other small issue FDT's parser doesn't like, the folder containing the classes shows up with a red 'x' symbolizing there is an error.

This is annoying for several reasons, the biggest being that if your custom classes are in the same folder you cannot determine at a glance if your code is error free.

I had blogged about this exact issue when using BulkLoader a while back, and in that case I had resorted to altering the code so the errors would go away. However, I typically do not like to go in and alter code for open source projects which I know work perfectly well because updating them later becomes a crap-shoot at best -- you no longer have the option of just simply copying over the old classes with the new version.

However, I recently had someone comment on my post about BulkLoader issues in FDT with a much better solution.

First, setup a new folder in your FDT project for all your external classes/libraries. For instance, call it "external" or "classes" and put libraries such as BulkLoader in that folder.

Next, open the properties panel for your FDT project as shown in the following screenshot:

Once in the properties panel, select "FDT Build Path" from the left-hand menu and then select the newly created project source folder ("external" or "classes") and un-check the check box next to "Generate Problems/Tasks".

Hopefully this will help others out who also like to maintain an overly clean FDT project setup. :)

I am thinking about posting a series of small FDT tips including how to get it setup for use with Flash CS4, so if you'd like to see them please comment or send me an email at info -at- jonnymac -dot- com.

Lastly, to avoid any confusion I should note that Arthur Debert, the creator of BulkLoader, did make the necessary change to the project's code after my post on the subject so BulkLoader no longer throws errors in FDT. Made for a good example, though, since I had blogged about it at one point!

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