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Saving and version control

When you save your .fla files, it is important to keep the same filenames that were originally used by the template designer. Also consider using a consistent naming scheme for your documents. This is particularly important if you save multiple versions of a single project.

Use intuitive, easy-to-read names for your files. Do not use spaces, capitalization, or special characters. Only use letters, numbers, dashes, and underscores. If you save multiple versions of the same file, devise a consistent numbering system such as main_v7-1.fla, main_v7-2.fla, and so on. Our designers and developers choose to use all lowercase characters in their naming schemes. Many Flash designers and developers adopt a naming system that uses a noun-verb or adjective-noun combination for naming files. Two examples of naming schemes are as follows: class_planning.swf and my_project.swf. Avoid cryptic file names.

It is good practice to save new versions of a .fla file when you build an extensive project. The following are different ways that you can save new versions of files:

•    ‘ Select File’ > ‘ Save As’, and save a new version of your document.
•    Use version control software (such as SourceSafe, CVS, or Subversion) to control your Flash documents.

Note: SourceSafe on Windows is the only supported version control software that integrates with the Project panel. You can use other version control software packages with FLA documents, but not necessarily in the Project panel.

Some problems might occur if you work with only one .fla file and do not save versions during the process of creating the file. It is possible that files might bloat in size because of the history that’s saved in the .fla file or that a file might become corrupt (as with any software you use) while you are working on it. If any of these unfortunate events occur, you have other versions of your file to use if you save multiple versions throughout your development.

You might also encounter problems when you create an application. Perhaps you made a series of changes to the file and you do not want to use these changes. Or you might delete parts of the file that you want to use later in your development. If you save multiple versions while developing, you have an earlier version available if you need to revert.

There are several options that you can use to save a file: ‘ Save’, ‘ Save As’, and ‘ Save and Compact’. When you save a file, Flash does not analyze all the data before creating an optimized version of the document. Instead, the changes you make to the document are appended to the end of the .fla file’s data, which shortens the time it takes to save the document. When you select ‘ Save As’ and type a new name for the file, Flash writes a new and optimized version of the file, which results in a smaller file size. When you select ‘ Save and Compact’, Flash creates a new optimized file and deletes the original file.
Caution: When you select ‘ Save and Compact’, you cannot undo any changes you made before you saved the file. If you select Save when working with a document, you can undo changes made prior to that save point. Because Save and Compact deletes the earlier version of the file and replaces it with the optimized version, you cannot undo earlier changes.

Remember to use ‘ Save As’ frequently and to type a new file name for your document after every milestone in your project if you are not using version control software to create backups of your .fla file. If you encounter major problems while working on the document, you have an earlier version to use instead of losing everything.

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