One of the best ways to optimize your applications is to use symbols. In this chapter, we are going to be talking about what symbols are and how to create and use them in Flash. For this example, you don't need to follow along. You can just watch my screen, and you'll see how important symbols are in Flash. So, on the Stage here, I have a grouped vector object. You notice that it's kind of complex and has a lot of gradients. Before I do anything else, I am actually going to test the movie and preview this in the Flash Player to show you the file size in the SWF History section of the Properties panel.
So, I am just going to go to Control > Test Movie > Test. Now I will point on the on the Properties panel that this file is 2.2 KB. Now, let's say I wanted to use a bunch of these flowers on the Stage. So, I am going hold Option on my keyboard or Alt on the PC and click-and-drag to create many flowers. So, I'll create a row and then I'll select the row and I'll copy the row a few times. So now that I have a lot of flowers, I'll test the movie and then look at my file size.
So, in the SWF History panel, a latest version is 12.4 KB. So, the file size expands significantly each time I use a flower. So, obviously 12.4 KB is not a massive file size for SWF file but I just want to point out that my file size is increasing significantly as I add more of them. So, let's delete these off the Stage and then I am going to use a symbol. A symbol is essentially an enhanced group.
So on the Stage here, I have a symbol of the flower instead of just a group. Now, I'll test the movie to show my file size and you'll see that I have 2.2KB again. Let me copy this symbol a bunch of times. I am actually copying it many more times than I did when it was a group. So, I am going to cover my screen with these flowers. So, now I'll test the movie and then look in the SWF History panel. You can see that my file size is 2.8KB.
So, my file size barely goes up when I used the same symbol over and over again. So by putting these objects and symbols, I can save on my file size and optimize my applications. Throughout this chapter, you'll learn what symbols are and how to use them in your applications to optimize your file size and performance.
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