Obviously, the Flash to iPhone cross-compiler mayhem has gotten all the attention of the CS5 release, but as Kevin Lynch pointed out, there're another 250 reasons to update to CS5. Well, I very much doubt there're 250, but there's one I'm very happy about: CS5 not only imports XFL files, it also exports
For those who don't know, XFL is an open
format based on zip+xml+assets used also in other products of the suite such as After Effects. The idea is great, storing the information needed in a simple format makes certain things easier:File diffs
. Now that source control is much more spread in the Flash world (sadly, not standard yet) how nice would be comparing two XFL files same as you compare two AS files?Corruption recovery
. How many FLA files have gone down the crapper for no apparent reason? How many FLA files grow in size disproportionally? Well, what do you think is easier, getting meaningful information out of a closed-binary file or out of a zip with xmls and assets? 3rd party tools
. A Flash IDE for Linux!! There's probably no business case for Adobe in porting and maintaining a Linux version of the Flash IDE, but with an open format such as XFL is only a matter of time till someone comes up with an IDE-like software for Linux. I'm almost sure it won't be as feature rich as the official IDE (takes time), but doesn't need to be. It needs to allow *me* to work in Linux while designers work in Macs.
It also opens up a new scenario for SWFMill
. Wondering if they are thinking already about adding XFL support (being able to compile a XFL in SWFMill, for example).
Since I think XFL is the next best thing after bread, there're a couple of things I don't fully understand:Two formats
Why keep the FLA? If you can effectively store in XFL the same information that you can in FLA, why does Adobe maintain the 2 formats? Why don't they fully move to XFL and remove complexity from the IDE?XFL is not the default
Assuming for some reason that there's an actual need to keep the 2 formats, why is XFL not the default? Again, since it offers so many advantages over the FLA, why is not the default format?
One problem at the moment is that it seems
the XFL specs haven't been released yet. Kind of sad, to be honest. Reverse engineer a XFL file is not a piece of cake and you can never be sure you are doing it 100% right. Also, it prevents people without CS5 to start investigating, and CS5 launch is still due in mid May.
From the tests I've been doing, it seems fairly clean and well thought through, but difficult to say due to the complexity involved. Sorry for not uploading a sample file, but since CS5 is not out yet, not sure I wouldn't get into trouble :/
Anyway, even if not perfect, I'm very happy about XFL, now need to find out about those other 249 reasons : )