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Items about the Flash technology, the Flash player, or SWF movies.

Gnash 0.8.7: dynamic gradient fills

Gnash 0.8.7 with dynamic gradients

Since SWF6 it has been possible to generate gradient fills dynamically using ActionScript. Version 0.8.7 of Gnash will have support for these gradients.

The attached screenshot shows them working in Gnash, or see the original code and SWF.

SWF8 added more options to gradient fills. Gnash 0.8.7 does not support these, but it would be possible to add some or all of that support. If you are interested in having this functionality, please contact me!

Gnash on Haiku

Haikuzone reports that Gnash runs quite nicely on the Haiku operating system, an open-source implementation of the defunct operating system BeOS.

Since there is no official Haiku release of the proprietary Adobe Flash player (and quite likely never will be), Gnash is the only way to see some web content for Haiku users.

Gnash in Chrome on Linux

Gnash apparently runs in Google's new(ish) web browser, so for flash-addicts who insist on using Chrome, see rootninja's blog for a howto!

Open-Source Flash

Free and Open Source Software provides many alternative ways of manipulating and creating Flash movies.

With the tools offered by Free Software, you can create SWF files in any way you like, as automatically as you like.

On-the-fly generation, pixel-perfect translation from images or documents to SWF, detailed examination of performance are all possible:

  • Compiling SWFs just from ActionScript 2 or ActionScript 3 is easy using ming or swftools.

Gnash as a game UI

On gershon's YouTube channel is an an interesting example of Gnash's flexibility (and what you can do with some sideways thinking):

Gnash is used with some lua bindings to render a flash movie inside a 3-D game. This makes it possible to use any SWF as an interactive UI that can be developed and tested outside the game - even in a web browser.

The FLA format

The Adobe Creative Suite, the most widely-used tool for creating Flash movies, has long used a secret proprietary format known by its extension "fla" to store projects.

These files, if they represent the current state of a project, must contain more than enough information to compile a SWF, but because the format is closed and secret, free software programmes cannot use them.

Towards Gnash 0.8.6

The release of Gnash 0.8.6 is scheduled for September, though from experience it's not unlikely to become October.

There are no world-shattering changes so far in this release. The interns for Gnash's summerbash contributed some useful text handling improvement. Some new classes are implemented, and there are the usual minor bugfixes, including some very long-standing ones. It was nice finally to get them off the bug tracker after almost two years. Debugging real SWFs can be a time-consuming exercise.

New maintainer for swfmill

swfmill banner

The swfmill project converts between a special dialect of XML and SWF files. As well as being used by many people for linking together existing SWF resources, it also happens to be useful for changing SWF files at the lowest possible level, giving access to every single property and element of the bytecode.

Ming: creating Flash movies 2

Ming can create and manipulate all elements of a Flash movie, including shapes, morphs, and textfields. The simplest example is a shape. We will create a simple shape and show some transformations. This introduces two basic objects: a SWFShape, which represents the original shape, and a SWFDisplayItem. This is used to transform the object after it has been added to the movie. The following code can simply be added to a main function. Don't forget SWFMovie_save() at the end!

/* Declare our variables */
SWFMovie movie;

Ming: creating Flash movies 1

Ming is a library with a few utilities for the production of SWF files. It is written in C, but has several wrappers so it can be used with other languages: PHP, python, C++, Ruby and Perl. Ming currently has no GUI, so writing movies with complicated graphics is painstaking, at least until you have developed some generic functions for creating what you need. Still, even without spending time writing your own framework, Ming can create some effective and impressive movies. It also has a useful actionscript compiler for AS2.

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