TweenMax does loading

Haven't tried it out yet, but it will be in my next project. Greensock is now taking on loading with
LoaderMax. Number of features seems to overtake my usual BulkLoader, and he usually dishes out good stuff. So I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

Flash CS5 exporting causing "Error opening URL" error

I recently upgraded to CS5. Maybe that as a stupid thing to do before the first upgrade was released... As usual, there are a list of bugs. One of which, it turns out, does not allow me to work.

When exporting any FLA, including a brand new one with no code whatsoever, I get an "Error opening URL" error. It seems Flash is trying to find the SWF I am trying to export, and is getting lost.

After deleting my preferences, reinstalling, checking forums, and all the other regular things you do to fix a bug, I gave Adobe Support a call. After an hour of getting to the right person, trying to explain to him the problem, and setting up screen sharing, it turns out File Vault needs to be turned off in order to export a SWF. I tested this by creating a new user account, and everything worked fine. It also fixed the issue with Dreamweaver CS5 not opening at all.

I can't go without security, so looks like I will have to use CS4 until Adobe comes out with a fix.

Hard to believe Adobe wouldn't have tested this before releasing.

Adobe seems to have fixed this. See blog post for more info

FITC Toronto 2010

In the midst of Toronto FITC. As usual, sessions are hit or miss. So far, only one has kept my attention throughout the full hour. Last year was very good, but I fear this year is following the lines of 2008's quality.

So far, the underlying theme that I'm noticing is that there finally is a real drive towards mobile apps. Even though everyone here seems to be pushing the "other mobile platforms" so you can develop with Flash ... I'm starting to realize that I'm going to have to start learning Objective C.

I was also able to talk to a couple of the FDT Developers today - specifically Michael Plank - and I brought up my problems with FDT not being able to change the format of the method params to include a $, and also that whenever I close and re-open my class folders in the Explorer, all the sub folders that were open become closed. He seemed genuinely surprised at that one, so hopefully will be able to fix it in a future release.

I never thought I would say this... Steve Jobs is a douchebag.

For the first time in 15 years, I am considering buying a Windows machine. Apple is becoming like Microsoft was in 1990. Not letting third party developer API's to develop for the iPhone is just pure crap. I truly hope they realize how many people they are pissing off - not just Flash developers - and re-write the new iPhone 4.0 SDK agreement.

This link pretty much sums up how I feel as well

Flash aside, any developer should be posting their disagreement with this. To quote the Facebook "I'm with Adobe" group - "Apple has proven themselves to be anti-competition, anti-developer, and anti-consumer".

Solution for clickTag buttons blocking underlying buttons

When doing a banner ad, I tend to code things different ways, depending on the situation. Sometimes laying out items on the timeline, sometimes adding items dynamically.

But no matter what, there is always an invisible clickTag button above it all allowing for the user to click through to the desired website.

However, a lot of the time, items below this invisible button require some sort of user interaction, such as a button which does something besides go to the website. If the invisible clickTag button is over this item, it will not register any mouse events.

This is fine if the items were added dynamically - we can just swap how they are layered on the display list so the clickTag button is below it. But if the underlying button is on the timeline, it becomes more problematic - A button under a button, or two buttons at the same time are a pain.

So I came up with a class which dynamically creates an invisible clickTag button, and allows you to add or remove items underneath it to look out for, and allow them to have user interaction.

Download PassiveClickTag (AS3)

To use, in your main class type the following code:

var bClickTag:PassiveClickTag = new PassiveClickTag(this.stage.stageWidth, this.stage.stageHeight);
bClickTag.addEventListener(PassiveClickTag.CLICK, clickHandler, false, 0, true); 

This will set up an invisible clickTag button which calls the clickHandler() method on click.
Nothing else is needed besides the event handler itself, for example:

function clickHandler($event:Event):void { 

When you have a button or object below the clickTag button that needs to have MouseEvent access, type:

bClickTag.addButton( myUnderlyingItem );

And to remove, type:

bClickTag.removeButton( myUnderlyingItem ); 

Once started, an ENTER_FRAME event runs and looks through the added buttons to see if there is anything the mouse is over that needs any MouseEvents. If so, it disables the clickTag while that button is below, re-enabling it once the mouse is not over that item anymore.

Feedback is encouraged. If someone can come up with another way to do it that does not require an ENTER_FRAME, I would be interested to hear what you think.

Pointroll API classes for FDT

The Pointroll Ad Server requires an MXP extension on Flash in order to give it access to the Pointroll API. This makes things work great when working directly from Flash, but when working from FDT, it does not give access to the custom class files and methods. It also makes FDT think that calls to these methods are errors.

I was recently doing a banner ad using Pointroll, and all the so-called errors were annoying me. So I did a little research, and found where Pointroll (and, as it turns out, a bunch of other extensions) store their classes.

In case anyone else is having this issue, they are located here:

PC – C:\Documents and Settings\ [USER] \Local Settings\Application Data\Adobe\Flash CS4\en\Configuration\Classes\PointRollAPI_AS3

MAC - HD/Users/ [USER] /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS4/en/Configuration/ Classes/PointRollAPI_AS3

You can then add a Linked Library to the FDT project, so that you have access to whatever you need within the Pointroll API.

Flash vs HTML5, and the death of Flash - My own take

Anyone want an interesting read? Check out the comments on this article on Lee Brimlow's blog website.

It started off talking about the lack of Flash support of the iPhone, and quickly degraded into name calling from the Flash-Sucks side to the Flash-Rules side, and back again. While most of the arguments are truly interesting, I also found it amazing as to how passionate the debate became. Full props to Lee for being able to moderate what I'm guessing was not a fun job.

Being a Flash developer, one might think I am biased; but my take for what it's worth, is that although it is inevitable that any language, in time, will give way to more powerful languages, in regards to Flash, that is not eminent.

The arguments against Flash seem to be as follows:

- HTML5 has native Video Support so Flash is no longer needed.
True it does have Video Support. However, even if HTML5 takes over as the standard for Video playing (which is unlikely soon, as battles reminiscent of the 90's browser wars are developing over which video standard to support. Plus, open standards are notorious for taking forever to figure things out), there are still a lot of things that Flash will still be the easiest to do in, as Flash will continue to advance as the browsers fight it out about standards. Yes, you could try to build a walking AT-AT walker in CSS, or have stars dancing (Safari only) around the page using HTML5, but why would you want to? As a true OOP language, which possibly some HTML and CSS developers are afraid to learn, it is so much easier and faster to do it in AS3. Flash is simply capable of more. It isn't just about Video. Try doing any of these in HTML5...

- Flash is a processor hog
In the cases of bad development, yes that is true. But bad development in any language is a processor hog

- Flash is annoying Advertising
Yes, advertising can be annoying. But it is advertising that is the lifeblood of the internet. If Flash disappears, another technology would come along to replace the advertising. Flash right now is the best way to code those advertisements, as it is specifically designed for handling video, interactivity, animation, databases, and everything else you could need for coding and tracking Rich-Media advertisements. And I might add that Apple, despite Steve Job's recent announcement that Flash sucks (I'm paraphrasing of course), uses Flash to display it's commercials on banner ads.

The other thing I would like to mention is that there will always be arguments to use one language over another. Not just Flash vs [insert name of technology here], but in other areas as well. When things like Silverlight and Unity get more popular, Flash will not die. It simply will give a developer more options to choose from depending on the project's needs, the developer preferences, and the language advantages.

Flash is a great option for doing certain things when done right, and will be around for a while to come. .NET does not die because of PHP or Java, or vise versa. They are tools to choose from.

FDT gotchya with F1, Help and searching the Actionscript Dictionary

Since I got FDT, I've been having trouble with the Help menu. I have been used to FlashDevelop, where you select a property or method in your code, click F1, and the entry in the Actioncript Dictionary comes up for reference.

I set up my Key Binding in FDT to do the same - to bring up the Help Search. However, after I clicked F1 in my Help search menu, it refused to search the "Actionscript 3.0 Language and Component Reference", even though it was checked off in my Search Scope. It only searched the "Local Help". Several sites suggest I re-import the help menu in a certain way for CS4, or to update my help in the FDT preferences. However, even after I did this, and even though I could that see these help folders were indeed in the FDT file system, it refused to search them. It was really frustrating, and I resorted to having it do a custom Google search in that window in order to get up the language reference.

I had given up, but decided to do a quick Tweet requesting help. Special thanks to hfug and the Hawaii Flash User group for responding to the request. He suggested some of the import fixes I had read before, and sent some screenshots showing the Dictionary was indeed imported into FDT. The imports fixes hadn't worked in the past, but I noticed a minor thing in his screenshot - He was showing the Help Contents, and not the Help Search. My Contents were also showing the Dictionary, so I figured if I could at least bring up the Contents with F1 instead of the Search, I could then manually select the method I was looking for. I searched the Key Bindings to see if I could do this, but the only other options listed under "help" in the Key Bindings brought you to an FDT Help webpage. So I removed the Key Binding all together.

And for some reason after that, when I clicked F1, the selected method was brought up in the help panel as if it was searched for.

No idea why....

Comparing versions in FDT

During some research on FDT tips, I found out from here that FDT saves local histories of your files. And using these, you can compare versions. To get to this, Right Click on the file > Compare With > Local History.

I haven't tried it yet, but you can apparently also restore deleted files here as well.

fl.* package in FDT

While doing some coding using components recently, I noticed FDT was having trouble finding the fl.controls.comboBox, which didn't make a lot of sense to me. I was unable to data type my variables, and had no access to the component methods. I ended up just data typing it as *, which is something I hate to do.

After a bit of research, I found out that FDT cannot distribute the fl.* package, as it falls under some other licensing agreement (or something along those lines).

Luckily, I found a few people who have set up the fl.* package as a swc, so it can be set up as a linked library in FDT, which makes life a lot easier. Some of the swc files dont include certain components, but this one at seems to be working for me so far: