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Flash Projectors and CD Burning FAQ

by Radina Matic - DiDi
Index
1. Why using Standalone Projector?
2. Mac Projector vs. Windows Projector
3. FSCommand for Standalone Projector
a) PC/Windows issues
b) Macintosh issues
4. Burning CDs with projectors
a) Burning on Mac
b) Burning on PC
5. Resources
a) FSCommand/Projectors
b) CD Burning

1. Why using Standalone Projector?

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Whenever you want to distribute your Flash creations offline (and you do not want to worry if the user
has Flash Player installed or not) you have the option to publish your movie as Standalone Projector. In
File menu chose Pubblish Settings and check the Windows Projector or Macintosh Projector option in the
dialog window. This will "wrap" your .swf movie into a Standalone Flash Player which can be reproduced
outside the browser. You can find the Standalone Player (together with Player Installers) in the folder
where where you installed Flash on your computer (usualy it is C:\Program files\Macromedia\Flash
5\Players on Windows).

2. Mac Projector vs. Windows Projector

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Standalone Projector for Windows has normal .exe extension, while Mac
Projector published on Windows version of Flash has the extension .hqx.
HQX is not executable file, it is form of encoding (kind of Mac's Zip file)
which packs together the two file forks Mac files have: Data fork and
Resource fork. It will not open on PC if you click on it (because it has to be
decoded), and it will not work if you burn it just like that on CD with PC (for
burning issues see bellow).
If you have one main movie and you want to load other .swf files in it, you
ONLY need to publish the main one as .exe/hqx, not all of them.

3. FSCommand for Standalone Projector
You can access fscommands for standalone player through Actions panel:

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Flash 5

a) PC/Windows issues

Flash MX

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Flash 5 supports six FSCommands:
fullscreen - With this option you can able/disable fullscreen viewing of you movie. You can put it
in the frame or button (if you prefere leaving this choice to the user):
fscommand("fullscreen", "true");

allowscale - If you want to mantain aspect ratio of your movie and prevent it from being scaled
by the user you should set this option to 'false':
fscommand("allowscale", "false");
Sometimes (when you set your projector to fullscreen and you want to mantain its aspect ratio by
allowscale/false), when you have some objects outside the stage, they will eventualy be seen
even if you don't want them to. You can solve this problem by putting a Mask with the size of
your stage on the topmost layer of your movie to cover all off-stage objects. Another thing to
remember is that any .swf you load into the main projector inherits its allowscale settings.

showmenu - 'False' argument will disable the upper menu (File/View/Control/Help) and all right
click menu options except "About Macromedia..." in Flash 5 and "Configuration" and "About..." in
Flash MX.
fscommand ("showmenu", "false");
There is no way to eliminate completely right click menu (or put our own one) without some 3rd
party tool (even though you could do it in Hex Editor if you know how - check Sx's threads in
Resources). Title bar ("Flash" in Flash 5 and "Macromedia Flash Player 6 " in Flash MX) and icon
can also be removed/changed only with 3rd party tools.
trapallkeys - If you don't use this option (or you put it to 'false') user can exit fullscreen mode of
your projector by pressing Esc key. 'True' argument locks all keys, but user can still access Status
bar by pressing Windows key - if projector is set fullscreen - and exit your projector by pressing
Alt + F4. Some non-advanced users may not know how to use these keys combinations, so be
sure to put some exit button if your projector is set to fullscreen and you used trapallkeys/true.
fscommand("trapallkeys", "true");
quit - As its name says, it closes your projector. You can put it into button or frame (no
parameters needed):
fscommand("quit");

exec - This command revealed itself to be the most interessting because it gives us the
oportunity to make movies communicate with other programs, open files in their default
applications and lot more (see Resources for more details):
fscommand ("exec", "c:\\windows\\notepad.exe");
This will open Notepad from Flash 5 projector. "Exec" fscommand in Flash MX is severely crippled
for security reasons and it does not allow passing arguments anymore. It can only open programs
(applications, not specific documents in their default programs as it was possible before) which
must be located in the fscommand folder on the root of projector file (no need to put this
fscommand folder in the path, Flash already knows it is supposed to look for it there).
In Flash 5 there is also an undocumented "save" FSCommand which allows you to write variables to
users HD and it was (also) suppressed in Flash MX. You can try using Shared Local Objects instead or
3rd party tools to regain some of the "old power" of 'Exec' and 'Save' fscommands.

b) Macintosh issues

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Normaly all above code should work on Macintosh platform without problems (Flash was made to be
crossplatform). One thing you will not be able to do with Mac projector is to write variables on user's HD.
Also, when opening files with FSCommand in Flash 5 projectors you should remember to use colons (:)
(and not slashes (/) as in PC) to separate folders in a pathname: FSCommand ("exec",
":folder:filename");. On the other side, OSX uses standard Unix path notation (/) and not colon.
Another way to open specific file with Mac projector is by using applescript, which you should compile
as an application in AppleScript Editor and then run it with FSCommand. Your applescript and file you
want to open with should be in the same folder. Here are 2 examples:
--set the name of the file to open
property fileName : "thedocument.pdf"
--get the path to the containing folder
set myPath to (path to me as string)
set AppleScript's text item delimiters to ":"
set the parentFolder to ¬
((text items 1 thru -2 of myPath) & "") as string
set AppleScript's text item delimiters to ""
-- find the flash file
try
set targetFile to alias (the parentFolder & fileName)
on error
--ie if there's no file here by this name, it will quit.
return quit
end try
tell application "Finder"
open file targetFile
end tell
source

tell application "Finder"
activate
select file "Your File" of disk "Your Disk"
open selection
end tell

source

There seems to be a problem/bug with Flash MX projectors for Mac: basicaly if you have to load .swfs in
your main movie it will not stay fullscreen even if you put the FSCommand for it correctly. Workaround
for this problem is to create an empty "container" movie with only FSCommand for fullscreen, and then
load your content into level1 or higher. That seems to be the only way Mac projector will stay fullscreen
(see Resources below for more details).
Unfortunately, there are no 3rd party tools for Mac that could help you enhance your projectors as
there are for PC.

4. Burning CDs with projectors

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Ok, you have your flaming projector and you want to burn it on CD for distribution. Presuming most of us
know how to burn CD for our own platform, only burning hybrid CD (crossplatform) will be covered here.
Since Flash projectors on CD have to be loaded completely in computer's memory before they start to
play, beware of their size. Even though there is no definite answer (using preloaders and loading .swfs
into main movie may help), it is recommended that they should not be bigger then 25 Mb (Macromedia's
original advice is: no bigger then 4MB!!! - see resouces for the technote). If you have to do a bigger
project, you may consider switching to Director.
a) Burning on Mac

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Since Mac recognizes the ISO 9660 file system and Windows file formats, and Windows do not
understand Mac's Hierarchical File System (HFS) file format, hybrid CDs used to be burned on Macintosh.
But PC users should not despare because there are workarounds to this (see below).
Toast is one of the burning programs which allows making Hybrid CDs on Mac. You will need to make
temporary disk partition on your Desktop and copy your Mac projector and eventualy the shared .swf
files (those that will be seen on both Mac and PC) on it. In another folder on your desktop (but not in
the temporary partition) put all PC files (projector, autorun.inf and icon). Then in Toast window choose
Custom Hybrid, select Mac volume, press Data button and then simply select your temporary partition
(or drag it on Toast window). Now choose ISO volume, hit ISO button and select your PC files from the
folder you made (just files, not whole folder), and select also all shared .swf files from the temporary
Mac partition. This way the shared files will be burned only once, but will be seen on both Mac and PC.
You will have to specify "Joliet" naming settings for PC files so the names can be longer then 8.3
characters.
Autostart feature on Mac is handled by QuickTime and you can choose the file you want to autostart
(your projector) from the settings in Mac volume of Toast window. If you want your PC projector to
autorun when CD is inserted, you'll have to make autorun.inf file. You can use free program BBEdit to
create this file for PC on your Mac. Choose New document and write this:
[autorun]
open=yourprojector.exe
icon=youricon.ico
Save the file as autorun.inf. It should be on the root of CD to work correctly. If you want your CD to
show custom icon in Windows Explorer, it should be Windows icon format, any simple graphic image will
not work. Program called Iconographer can make Windows icons on Mac.
It may be vise to allocate enough RAM memory (size of your projector, size of .swf files to load into the
main one and a couple more Mb just to be sure) to your Mac partition before burning, because CD
inherits its memory settings. When you have all this done, burn your CD and enjoy...
b) Burning on PC

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The only way to create crossplatform (hybrid) CDs on PC is to use specific program which makes image
file (nothing to do with graphic images) containing your Mac and PC projector and eventual shared files.
Image file is then burned to CD with your favourite burning software. The result is functional and autorun
works on PC as autostart does on Mac. Here is the procedure to use with program called MacImage:

When you open the program it will
be in the default Project Mode and
Hybrid view.

Give the name to the Project, launch Explorer and drag your files in their places: PC projector, autorun

file and icon into the ISO view of the MacImage window (files with yellow spots in the picture) and Mac
projector into the HSF view (file with green spot). Do not worry about decoding of .hqx file, program
takes care of it. Shared files (both yellow and green spots) go into ISO/HSF view because this way PC
users will see only PC files, Mac users will see only Mac files and both will see shared files.
Once you finished all this, you will have to compile image file: choose Compile option from the Projects
menu (or click fourth button on the toolbar - look for the pointer in the picture above), give the name to
your image file and the program will do the rest. All you have to do now is burn compiled image to CD
with burning software.
To implement the Autostart feature for Mac you should take one more step. Reopen the compiled image
in the Partition Mode (switch mode in the first item of Options menu), select the file you want to
autostart (your Mac projector), and choose Autolaunch feature from the right click menu. Resave the
image and it will be ready for burning.
Almost all burning packages are capable of burning image files. In Nero you should choose Burn Image
option from File menu, open your image file (switch to "all files" type to see it), accept the default
values from pop up window and it will burn image to CD. And that's it...
PC users can make autorun.inf file in text editor (Notepad)
and it should look like the one on the picture on the left.
Autorun should be on the root of your CD but your
projector and icon do not have to be. Just remember to
change autorun.inf file if you plan for any reason to put
your projector in specific folder (the same is valid for
making autorun.inf for burning hybrid CD on Mac).

5. Resources

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a) FSCommand/Projectors

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Standalone & Applications
and Macintosh Forums on FlashKit Board should be a best place to start (and continue). There are also
interesting tutorials on FlashKit about manipulating projectors, opening files from projector with batch
files and autorun features.
Basic info about FSCommand and Flash size from Macromedia site.
Three useful tutorials in our own AS.org tutorial section: Launch Applications, Opening Documents
and Execute Files from Flash projectors.
All the things you ever dreamed of doing with Flash (but never dared to ask how): check "Flash and
offline usage" part of Sx's "Must Read Threads" at were-here.com and enjoy (there is a smaller version
of it at FlashKit)...
Very good FREE application to launch, save, copy, move, print, delete files, manipulate windows, play
with registry and dll's... from Flash projector is called Flash Command Line Tools. Works with Flash 3
to 5 but not with MX. FlashGeek is a program originaly meant to let you open documents from Flash 5
projectors, but will work with MX also since it passes arguments though text files (the only drawback is
that you need a separate copies of program's .exe and .txt file for every document you want to open).
If you want to launch files from MX projector you could use another two free applications: Executor
and freeMX. Both need Flash OCX to be installed on users machine, but the latter is more complete
since it will check for ocx and if it is not there, freeMX will install it (you should include the full player
installer on CD - it is free but be sure to sign the licence agreement at Macromedia site).
Les Paone recently renewed his site (you can still find his FREE edited player) and included a new tool
for MX projectors called SOP. Using Flash Shared Objects it allows running programs, opening, deleting
and printing files, minimizing and maximizing your projector.
Here is (partial) list of 3rd party tools with which you can customize your projector and enhance its
functionalities: SWF Studio, Flash 'N Pack, LPFlashEX, FlashAnts, Jugglor. They are all comercial. If
you are looking for a freeware tool try Resource Hacker (here is a nice tutorial about it). It will let you
customize some of the projector features, but beware because the issue about its legality is not quite

clear.
Northcode Inc. has some nice free utilities too: Topmost will let you open browser window (or any
other) in front of fullscreen projector; Browse will open an Windows Explorer on the root of the drive it's
launched from (it has no parameters so it will work from Flash 5 and MX); Center will let you center the
window of application launched from projector (Flash 5 and MX); Kill is used to close any window from
projector (Flash 5, check here for the documentation); with Min you can minimize any application
running alongside your projector (Flash 5); Wallpapr allows you to set Desktop wallpaper from projector
(Flash 5) and if you are interested in making Flash projector "talk" with Visual Basic, check these
examples: fscommand.zip and flashvb.zip. Tim Goss (known as Northcode - moderator of FlashKit
Standalone & Applications Forum) started other two sites you may find interesting: BeyondFlash is
informational and ExtendingFlash is practical with some of his free utilities.
If for any reason you prefer to mantain your movie as .swf inside HTML page but you would still like to
have it autorun from CD you may use these two tools: autohtml.exe or Northcode's RunFile.
All above mentioned resources are only for PC. To edit basic features of Mac projectors (title, icon, right
click menu) you could use ResEdit. But there are no 3rd party tools to significantly manipulate and
extend Mac projectors. This may be the only possible solution at the moment.
Here is the link for details about that problem/bug for MX fullscreen projector on Mac (together with
some problems about Autostart feature on OSX). Applescript in detail from apple.com. You will need to
have CarbonLib 1.5 or latter installed if you want to run Flash MX projector on Mac OS 9.x (read the
technote). Another conflict that may cause problems with executing MX projectors in OS 9.x (they may
run slow or not even run at all) is with Logitech MouseWare extension (technote).
b) CD Burning

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Comprehensive tutorial for burning hybrid CDs with Toast from the Roxio site.
You can find David Hrycyszyn's very good in-detail tutorial about burning hybrid CDs on Mac (the one
that used to be on were-here.com) here.
Although not Flash centered, this two tutes can also be interesting: setpixel's one about burning
Director projects, and Rose Marshack's one about enhanced music CDs. More usefull info about extra
CDs (music and multimedia content) can be found in this thread.
As seen before, MacImage will allow PC users to create hybrid/crossplatform CDs (check their site, it's
full of precious information about Mac/PC file transfer issues). Another program (much bigger and more
expensive though) with same features is CDEveryWhere.
BBEdit and Iconographer for Mac users. Nice FREE icon editor for PC is @icon sushi.

Happy flashing and burning folks!!!
DiDi
PS: I welcome any feedback, comments, suggestions, more useful resouces... but PLEASE, do not e-mail
me (unless, of course, you have a personal or business proposal ;) ), post on the original thread. I am
not a guru for this subject, and when you post your comment or question on the forums, more people
will see it and chances are better that you (and me and everybody else in the future) would get faster
and better solution there then in my inbox. Cheers...

Last updated April 22, 2003

FAQ by didinomade - viewed by

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