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Flash Tips

Getting started with Flash, can be a bit intimidating even for somebody who has some familiarity with programming. This is especially true when having to load images dynamically from a directory, load text dynamically from a text file, and make the frames loop appropriately.

Some common issues that we encountered, about which there are some posts on various Flash forums:

  1. While debugging, we get the error "Error opening URL..."
    This message would be usually followed with a URL of the file we were trying to load dynamically. We received this when attempting to dynamically read a text file into our variables.
    Solution: if you are trying to load variables from a text file and using a GET method, this will produce this error. Example:
    loadVariablesNum("text.txt",0,"GET");
    To correct it, use:
    loadVariables("text.txt",this);
    Text files do not receive parameters, like ASP or ASPX files do. The loadVariablesNum is used for those files (i.e. dynamic web files).
  2. Command setInterval(SlideShow,3000) was not being properly cleared up with clearInterval.
    Some intervals would not be cleared, therefore our animation was getting faster and faster until Internet Explorer would crash.
    Solution: We corrected this by correcting all other errors that were occurring in the Flash project. It turned out that any time an error would occur, some intervals would be interrupted and left un-cleared, therefore still running in the background. Too many running intervals would run the animation faster and eventually crash the web browser.
  3. Our first frame (frame 1) code would be re-loaded periodically (the movie would loop back to frame 1 and re-run it's initialization code).
    In our first frame we would load our dynamic text and XML file that contained the list of images we used dynamically in our animation. This would be re-loaded periodically.
    Solution: It turns out that we did not have a command at the end frame to skip going back to frame 1. So, we added to the last frame (in our case this was frame 689!) a command:
    gotoAndPlay(10);
    Of course, you can make this be frame 2, as long as you loop in such a way that you skip frame 1 from being re-loaded again.
  4. More issues? You can certainly add some trace ("something"); commands and select Control > Debug Movie menu option (Ctrl+Shift+Enter). You can also search Live! or Google for more ideas.

More resources on Adobe Flash development and ActionScript:

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