These next few applications will take different approaches in how they help developers to improve aspects of their Flash file and to be able to retrieve lost information.
The first application will help users drastically reduce the file size of their work.
Optimaze is a vector-crunching machine. It can compress vector graphics up to 60% better than Flash itself can while maintaining the same crisp, tight lines that it was originally created in.
It has a very familiar and Flash-based interface for controlling the compression, and it imports .swf files directly, so the original .fla file is not necessary.
Optimaze can be found at http://www.optimaze.biz. It does not have a trial version, but at about $130, if you are into animation in Flash, or you use a lot of vector graphics in your sites or applications, Optimaze is a good tool to keep on hand.
The next software doesn't necessarily help in the design or development stage itself, but if you are like me and are constantly accidentally overwriting the newest version of your Flash file with an older one, this next tool is for you.
Action Script Viewer 4.0
Sometimes, you might lose the original source code, or accidentally overwrite a newer version of the .fla file with an older one, and then realize that your last 10 hours of coding have been lost. In steps Action Script Viewer.
Now in version 4.0, Action Script Viewer from Manitu Group can decompile compiled .swf files into readable format. After you have decompiled the file, you can view any and all ActionScript within the file as well as export certain resources from within the file such as bitmaps, sounds, and movies. The new version of Action Script Viewer has gone even further by allowing the resources and a JSFL command to be created to assist in reconstructing an original FLA file.
At the time of this writing, there was no demo version of version 4 available (but there is a demo for version 3, which has most of the same features). Version 4 is available to purchase for about $60 at http://www.buraks.com/asv/index.html.
Also available on their site are many tools, which complement the Action Script Viewer application, and they are free of charge.
Now that you know Flash files can be decompiled, read and in some cases, can even be turned back into an original source file, you might be wondering what you can do to keep someone else from doing this to your files.
Even though for the most part, the Flash community is an open-source community, sometimes you might not want prying eyes looking at how your application works. Or worse yet, they could find the server-side pages you are using, and corrupt the data on the back end. Not to worrySWF Encrypt is here to help.
Mostly, ActionScript is written in plain English (or whatever other language you choose to write it in) for anyone to be able to read, as oppose to Binary, which is unreadable.
SWF Encrypt takes ActionScript and encrypts it with a unique fingerprint key. This means that the same SWF can be used twice and have two unique fingerprint keys. The computer can still understand exactly what the ActionScript is saying, but it is very difficult for anyone looking at it to see what it says.
There is a free trial version of SWF Encrypt at http://www.amayeta.com/software/swfencrypt/ and the full version is about $99.
Now you have seen several ways to create Flash content and to improve Flash content. You have even seen how to decompile Flash content if you want, but what if you want to take the Flash content itself beyond the Web?