|How many times have you seen a Flash presentation whether it is online or offline and wonder how they did some of those nifty effects? Sure, a lot of us can go to tutorial sites like FlashKit or FlashThief and download tutorials to see how some effects were done, but that is not always the case. Unlike HTML documents, where all you have to do is view the source code in a web browser, there is no easy way to obtain the ActionScript for a site unless it is made public on a tutorial site or in a book. Some design firms have gone as far as to charge you for downloading their ActionScripts to create similar sites like they've done.
Buraks, a company in Istanbul, Turkey has created the ultimate sneaky app for finding out all the ActionScripts that are available on the web. And believe me, this is no turkey from Turkey. All you do is download the .swf files you want to view off the web (Very easy to do by just creating a simple HTML page with a link to the file you want to download and then right-clicking on it to download the .swf to disk). From there, you bring the file into ActionScript viewer and it displays all frames and scenes along with all ActionScripts in the movie. A small window display an image from the frame you have selected. This will help you in figuring out what object does what in the .swf.
Just like when Penn & Teller would create magic tricks and then broke every rule in the book by actually showing us how they created the trick, ActionScript Viewer also exposes the tricks of the trade, with no extra blood!
Unfortunately, there is only a PC version of ASV, so if you're on a Mac like I am you'll need to use Virtual PC to use the app. Since it is a lightweight program, it is easy and quick to use in the VPC environment. You can export another .swf from the program but you will not be able to import it into Flash 5 unless the original .swf did not have the 'Protect from Import' feature unchecked.
And therein lies the rub to this tool. Yes, it's great to have an app that lets you in on all the secrets of Flash ActionScript. However, many designers, myself included, use Flash's 'Protect from Import' feature so ActionScripts and graphics cannot be grabbed by anyone thus protecting the content from being used on other websites. While I realize not too many people will ever purchase this product, it is a cause for concern. I even know of another design studio that was ready to create an online e-commerce Flash site and stopped with that idea when they learned of this tool for the reasons mentioned above.
Again, I think this is a great and powerful product but maybe too powerful if it is not in the right hands.