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Creating Flash Animations on Linux - part 1

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It's all well and good that Adobe did get the Flash plug-in for Firefox/Linux going, but what we don't (and perhaps will never) have is an Adobe-supported way to create Flash animations on a Linux box.

So we have Open Source work-arounds, and I'll be exploring them one at a time. After all, those of us who earn our living with a Linux machine could stand to beef up our resumes, right?

Here's a package to get started with: Get the SWFTools package. Let's check out the "brute force" method first, with "PNG2SWF".

I made a series of .png images of a simple vector star in Inkscape, saving them as "star_01.png, star_02.png" etc. When starting a sequence of pictures like this, it's best to name the files with zero-indexing; if I used "star_1, start_2", then when I got to "star_10", the file system would sort 10 between 1 and 2, which isn't what we want.

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Creating Flash Animations on Linux - part 2

On my way to exploring the options for Flash editing on the Linux desktop, I've run into two projects which I will mention, just because they might get somewhere someday. Both of these have led to dead ends for me - for now.

F4L for "Flash for Linux" is a project to build a GUI Flash editor for Linux, similar to Adobe's own Flash tool. As far as I got with it, I managed to grab the tarball and compile it, first with "qmake" and then "make". This produces a binary which apparently doesn't care where it runs from:

Ming is a C library for generating SWF files, which also has plug-ins for PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, and apparently (from browsing source) Tcl/tk. This project appears to be active. However, it is still in 0.4 beta, and is an adventure to download and compile (particularly the plug-in extensions).

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Creating Flash Animations on Linux - part 3

The compiler of this handy toolkit is "swfc", and it has a sort-of manual here. I say "sort of" because it's mostly examples. The examples are plentiful, however, and there's even more here. Pretty spiffy ones, too!

The examples provide you with a good opportunity to "learn like a hacker"; just copy that beautiful open source code into your favorite editor, save it as, and compile it with:

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Creating Flash Animations on Linux - part 4 & 5

Creating Flash Animations on Linux - part 6

Told yah I'd get back to this! It took some picking around, but I have finally grokked controlling Flash elements with Actionscript, as demonstrated here.

Partly, I owe this to checking out a library book, "Foundation Flash 5" by 'friendsoft', which did give me some enlightenment into how Flash movies are done, even with the obvious handicap.

The "obvious handicap" is that, like nearly every Flash resource guide out there, it's written exclusively with the Adobe Flash IDE in mind. That just comes with the territory with proprietary technology. Hopefully, now that Flash development on the Linux desktop is showing such progress in the last few years, we'll start seeing more FOSS-focused books in the future. At this rate, I'll be ready to write one myself!

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