Understanding the XML files
Video: Understanding the XML filesIn Flash CS5, FLA files are now XML-based. The way that it works is that an FLA file is actually an archive of all of your assets, stored in an XML-based format. In this movie, we'll take a look at how that works. On the stage here, I have a button. Note that it has no instance name - we are actually going to edit that outside of Flash - and that's it in the middle of the stage and outside of Flash, we will move it to the left edge of the stage. The uncompressed file format for Flash is called XFL.
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In Flash CS5 New Features, author Todd Perkins demonstrates key changes in the CS5 release of Adobe's interactive design and animation software. This course covers enhanced ActionScript features, including code snippets and error handling improvements, new publishing options for Adobe AIR, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Flash Builder integration, and the new Text Layout Framework for detailed text editing. Exercise files are included with the course.
- Comparing Flash CS4 and Flash CS5
- Inserting modifiable cue points for video in Flash
- Editing text in the Text Layout Framework
- Embedding fonts
- Creating and editing ActionScript code snippets
- Performing roundtrip editing between Photoshop and Flash
- Exporting FXG files for use in Flash Catalyst
- Integrating with Flash Builder
Understanding the XML files
In Flash CS5, FLA files are now XML-based. The way that it works is that an FLA file is actually an archive of all of your assets, stored in an XML-based format. In this movie, we'll take a look at how that works. On the stage here, I have a button. Note that it has no instance name - we are actually going to edit that outside of Flash - and that's it in the middle of the stage and outside of Flash, we will move it to the left edge of the stage. The uncompressed file format for Flash is called XFL.
So, in order to get the uncompressed version of your FLA file, you'll need to save it as XFL. So, go to File > Save As, and we'll save this as uncompressed.xfl. So, when you do Save As, change the format to Flash CS5 Uncompressed Document (*.xfl). So I'll click Save As, and we save the file, and notice the file name has changed to uncompressed.xfl. I'm actually going to close this file, and then we'll edit it outside of Flash, and then open it back up in Flash to see the changes.
So we'll go over to Finder. Notice that Flash created a folder called uncompressed. That's the same name as my FLA. This is the un-archived version of that file. So notice, inside of there, there is a bunch of XML files and other text files. And you can feel free to go through them, if you'd like. The main document that you're going to open in with Flash is the XFL file, so just remember that. And the document that holds all of your XML data for your application is in DOMDocument.xml.
So let's open that file using a text editor. Again, you're going to want to use a plain text editor, and by that, I mean you don't want to use Microsoft Word and add formatting to this. Make sure that you can save it as a plain text file. So, I'm going to TextEdit, and I'll open the file, and here you can see a whole bunch of XML data. Now, this may look like a bunch of gibberish to you, but if you scroll down, you can find a section of the code that says DOMTimeline name= "Scene 1".
This represents Scene 1 of your application. In there, you'll see layers, which, of course, represents the layers, and inside of the layers object, there is one called DomLayer, and you can see the layer name in there. So, of course, if you wanted to change that, you could. And then you'll see Frames, and this has your frame data. So you can find your Frame index number, which represents the frame number, and it starts at 0 instead of 1. So we'll just have to offset that by 1. So it'll be 1 less than how it's represented in Flash. So the 0 represents the first frame. 1 would represent the second frame.
Then you'll see DOMSymbolInstance, if you're working in the same file as me. Notice that the libraryItemName is Btn. That's the library name for this object that's on the stage, and the name field is blank. That's the instance name. So, if you add something here, then that will be reflected when you open up the XFL file. So, let's just make that change real quick. Type 'cactus_btn' and then we'll adjust its X position in the Matrix section. This is where the positioning of the object is controlled. So here, I'm going to change Matrix tx, that represents the X position, to 0.
So, I change it from 77.4 to 0, and I'll save the file - don't forget to do that - and jump back over to Flash, and open up uncompressed.xfl. The button is at the left edge of the stage - remember it was at the center before - and if it is selected, you can see, in the Properties panel, that its Instance name is set to cactus_btn. The main advantage to the XFL file format is that these files can be edited outside of Flash. That means people who don't have Flash can edit your Flash files and in theory, these files can be created with an application other than Flash, and then you can just open that up in Flash and continue working on the same project that you got from someone who didn't even have Flash.
So the XFL file format increases the potential for effective workflow, when you're working in Flash.
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