Managing Flash (and Adobe CSx) file versions without changing the extension

When Flash CS4 came out we got yet another FLA file format. All sweet, it has the same legendary FLA file extension but now it can only be opened with Flash CS4 IDE. What's wrong with it? Imagine the following scenario: if you bought Flash CS4 (or decided to use trial version) and played about with your CS3 files there, you could accidentally save over them with CS4. When the trial expires, you're no longer able to access your files (well, you could revert them if you keep everything under version control but you'd still lose your changes). Or you might just have downloaded some cool source FLA files from a Flash blogger and doh! – they won't open with your CS3 although they are not using CS4 features at all (I had that problem with BIT-101's FiTC source files before having CS4).

The easiest fix was found by Senocular, let me quote Trevor:

All this takes is 3 additional key strokes for the first time you save a source file. No Fireworks engineering effort is required, it works for all versions of Fireworks, and Fireworks source files can continue to be easily recognized by other applications – and even, for that matter, humans. Using a .fw.png extension clearly indicates (to developers) that the PNG file is a Fireworks source file.

So next time you save the file, please do append 4 extra characters after the filename and before the actual file extension, e.g., if you save from Flash CS4 use filename.cs4.fla – in fact, you could apply this rule to all (almost) Adobe CS products, i.e., when saving from Photoshop, use filename.cs3.psd, etc.

I hope that this naming convention will get somehow included in Adobe CS5 (so opening the .cs4.fla file and re-saving it will still at least auto-rename it to .cs5.fla), so everybody will be able to easily distinguish between different file versions coming from the same named app.

The published SWF will follow the same convention: filename.cs4.swf and I think that makes sense as well, it may give you a clue what version of Flash Player the build is targeted for (unless you change the Publish Settings).

11:45 PM | | 0 Comments | Tags: , ,

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