Yet Another Flash Player – big deal?

A new Flash player was silently released by Macromedia in the beginning of this week. Whilst a silent release of a new player version is kind of new in the FLash 6 line of players – its still more of a back to the way it was with the Flash 5 players.

When I first heard about it, I thought — OK, bug fixes and a few updates – no big deal and I guess its ok they are not making a lot of noise about it. But the information that Mike Chambers shared today made me think otherwise.

Its the removal of the Flash 6 players ability to accept redirects that makes me think Macromedia really should have made the information better available. I am sure that anyone that has gotten the new Flash 6 player update since the beginning of the week has been scratching their heads over broken sites.

A couple of sites/Flash applications that will not work with the new player includes:

Flash RSS Reader

Multiblog Flash RSS Reader

And I am sure a lot of other sites too. Macromedia claims that the problem is easily fixed with two primary solutions.

1. Proxy Script

2. Shim SWF

With the Proxy script, you will need to have access to the scripting technology. I know of several solutions on air today that will break, and lack the server technology to fix it with a proxy. The shim solution does not require any extra server capabilities, but require that you get the site that makes available the data you want to import to install the SWF for you on the server with the appropriate ActionScript settings.

Seems like an important change to me, or maybe I am just all too aware of the headaches this is going to give developers. I hope there was a good reason behind Macromedias decision to break the redirect capabilities in the player.

6 thoughts on “Yet Another Flash Player – big deal?”

  1. if you are currently using a redirect, the proxy solution will be exactly the same as far as the flash player is concerned.

    could you please explain a scenario in which it would not?

    mike chambers

    [email protected]

  2. I am not sure I understand what you are saying, it seems to me like you are talking against yourself. The redirect and proxy method are two different ways of providing the data to the Flash 6 player, and the redirect does not work anymore. Correct, yes?

    As for the difference for the developers: I know of at least one server technology that does not have proxying of the data accessible (without modules) and that is ASP with IIS 4.0. Those who are using redirects on that platform will be out of luck with the server solution.

  3. I am not sure I understand what you are saying, it seems to me like you are talking against yourself. The redirect and proxy method are two different ways of providing the data to the Flash 6 player, and the redirect does not work anymore. Correct, yes?

    that is correct, and i dont see where i indicated otherwise.

    If the redirect method works for you, you will be able to use a simple server side script that acts as a proxy to load the data into flash.

    this is dependent on the scripting language being used, and not any features of a webserver or web platform.

    this will require no changes to your flash movie (unless you put the script at a different URL).

    mike chambers

    [email protected]

  4. This is what I have been able to gather:

    The ASP method that Macromedia suggests as a substitute for the redirect function is based on a component distributed with Internet Explorer. As such it is probably not hard to find, I haven’t been able to determine if it would indeed work with IIS 4.0 with the component installed, but I am aware of many installations where IE has not been updated. I am not sure if that is a usual procedure for MS IIS either. Someone more accustomed to IIS/MS products might be willing to enlighten us.

    I’ll try to get the time to do some research on the various scripting languages we touched on before when we talked about redirection as a tool for accessing remote data with Flash 6:

    I’ll see if I can come up with a similar list for the scripting languages not covered on

  5. While the fix for this problem is fairly straightforward (anyone using the redirect method before will now be able to switch to a proxy script) it seems to me that it might have been better had macromedia announced that this change was going to come into effect before releasing the new player (at the very least simultaneously). None of the major flash resources seemed to carry this information until today. It might be an idea if there was some kind of higher profile way of highlighting issues such as this. Obviously macromedia would not want something like this on the front page of their site, but it feels like the way in which changes like this are publicized needs to be addressed.

  6. At least i know now…I’m glad that google exists or I wouldn’t have found this site!

    Macromedia still have a lesson to learn regarding loading XML. Why do I need to use this much server resources loading an XML file into my movie? One of the really neat things about being able to load content dynamically is that you don’t necessarily need to host it yourself. The proxy method does work but why proxy when you can redircet? It is a waste of bandwidth for a start. The XML is sent to the WWWhost first then to the client instead of just going direct to the client.

    Thanks for your work jarle!

    Anyway, now no longer pulling my hair out :-)

    Andy Lewis

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