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Flash 8 Basics: About Flash Files

About Flash Files

The primary Flash file type, FLA files, contain three basic types of information that comprise a Flash document. These include the following:

  • Media objects are the various graphic, text, sound, and video objects that comprise the content of your Flash document. By importing or creating these elements in Flash and then arranging them on the Stage and in the Timeline, you define what the viewer of your document will see and when they will see it.
  • The Timeline is the place in Flash where you tell Flash when specific media objects should appear on the Stage. The Timeline is like a spreadsheet that progresses from left to right, with the columns representing time. The rows represent layers, with the content in higher layers appearing above the content in lower layers on the Stage.
  • ActionScript code is the programming code you can add to Flash documents to make them respond to user interactions and to more finely control the behavior of your Flash documents. Much can be accomplished in Flash without ActionScript, but using ActionScript offers many more possibilities.

Flash can be used to work with a variety of file types. Each type has a separate purpose. The following list describes each file type and its uses:

  • FLA files are the primary files you work with in Flash. These are the files that contain the basic media, Timeline, and script information for a Flash document.
  • SWF files are the compressed versions of FLA files. These files are the ones you display in a web page.
  • AS files are ActionScript files. You can use these files if you prefer to keep some or all of your ActionScript code outside of your FLA files. These can be helpful for code organization and for projects that have multiple people working on different parts of the Flash content.
  • SWC files contain the reusable Flash components. Each SWC file contains a compiled movie clip, ActionScript code, and any other assets that the component requires.
  • ASC files are files used to store ActionScript that will be executed on a computer running Flash Communication Server. These files provide the ability to implement server-side logic that works in conjunction with ActionScript in a SWF file.
  • JSFL files are JavaScript files that you can use to add new functionality to the Flash authoring tool. See Extending Flash for more information.
  • FLP files are Flash Project files (Flash Professional 8 only). You can use Flash Projects to manage multiple document files in a single project. Flash Projects allow you to group multiple, related files together to create complex applications.