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File Types

Before we can start programing or thinking as a Flasher we need to understand what the basic file types are that Flash uses. There are two distinct file types in Flash: the source files and the deployment files.  Source files we want to keep away from the users' reach while the deployment files should be deployed to their destination, such as the web. The most common source files are *.fla files and *.as source file types whlie the most common deployment files are *.swf and *.html. Here is a more detailed breakdown:  

  • *.as file type -- holds the code for your application
  • *.fla file type -- holds everything you need to set up your application, including assets, images, etc.
  • deployment file -- contains your *.swf. What is .swf?
  • .swf file type -- already compiled application
  • *.html file type,  the wrapper which runs your application in a browser.

Flash file types:

Flash is a programming language that must be "compiled": the computer translates your code into a machine language that your computer can decrypt and understand easily and quickly.  There are other languages which have source files that are also the deployment files (such as Javascipt).  Compiled applications have major benefits: the application source code isn't visible and easy to access (helping protect your work) and the application is more computer-friendly (making it faster.) In a Flash application there are two type of file groupings: the source files and the deployment files. The source files are not meant to be uploaded on the web or end product while the deployment files are the end user files that are shared on line or at client end.

What are .swf and .as files?

*.fla files and *.as files are your source files. . Your *.as files are your ActionScript files which are external files that contain your code. Your code will be categorized into classes, which we will explain later. .as files are only text, and can be opened in a text editor. Your *.fla file is your hub. Everything that you need to set up your application is inside the .fla file, including your assets, images, configurations, etc.
The source files are compiled into different formats depending on the platforms they will be used on On the other hand, your deployment files are intermediary files. In your deploy, you will have your *.swf (the compiled application) and  the *.html file which serves as the wrapper to run your application in a browser. Your Flash player will take your deployment files, decrypt them, and tell the computer how to run your exciting new animated application!

File types Video Transcript

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