Flash MX 2004 Projects are a Joke

Today we decided to use the new “Projects” feature in Flash MX 2004 Professional to manage a fairly large interactive piece we’re doing at work. We started setting up the project in Flash after reading about the benefits of using Flash Projects to control versioning and make sure the files are in a central location. It didn’t take us long to discover that Flash Projects have a ways to go before they are usable for the type of project we’re doing.

Basically, the only thing we wanted to do was create a project that would keep track of several Flash files on the server and allow us to check them out, work on them locally, upload them automatically to the server when we checked them back in and then publish them based on our settings at one time. Simple enough, right? That’s what we thought.

This is where Projects fall flat. If I create a file and add it to my project, anyone else who wants to use the same file has to manually add it to their project, there’s no way for new files to be automatically added to all the participants project. This wouldn’t be a problem with a 5 or 10 file project, but once it gets bigger than that, adding every file manually gets pretty tedious.

In addition, there’s no easy way to have the same folder structure in the Flash Project as on the hard drive and/or the server–you have to manually create folders in Flash to manage that.

Those are the obstacles we could get around. The one that we really didn’t like was the fact that the only way to add a file that you didn’t create to your project was to use the Finder (mac) or Windows Explorer (PC) to browse to the server, download the file to your local hard drive, add it to the Flash Project in Flash then start using it. If you didn’t do that, you could get the file from the server, but once you went to check it back in, Flash complained that it couldn’t check it in because the file didn’t exist on the local drive.

We didn’t even get far enough to get into the publish profile settings… by that time, we’d had enough.

The solution? We set the entire project up as a Dreamweaver site. Everything works perfectly there, in addition, we can use Dreamweaver to edit text files, external ActionScript and XML files without opening up another application. If you’re thinking about using Flash Projects to manage a large project, I’d suggest you wait until it matures a little. Right now, Dreamweaver seems to be the tool that will work for us.

7 replies on “Flash MX 2004 Projects are a Joke”

I agree with you that the flash project handling feature is a joke. i’m working with a team of develpers now and we, like you, use DW for all checkin/checkouts etc… but i tend to disagree with this:

If I create a file and add it to my project, anyone else who wants to use the same file has to manually add it to their project

Well, that’s the idea… of course if you need the file in your project, you have to add it… how else is the project to know the file is part of it… i can’t think of a scenario where the file automatically jumps into the project… if you want all developers to have the same set of files (which is almost unlikely), just put your project file up so everybody synchs to that

the folder structure thing is a pain though… maybe somebody with some time on his/her hands will write an extension to handle that

but yeah.. DW is more mature for proj handling


Agreed. I tried to board the same boat a few months ago, and arrived to same conclusion. Being a long time DW user, I find myself much more comfortable using DW sites than the Projects panel in Flash.

About being able to edit other file types we use with Flash (text, XML, AS, etc) in DW is another reason to stick to site definitions, but I think it would be great if all Studio components shared a single text editor. That would be an enormous step toward true integration between DW, Flash and even FW.

With the integration with Dreamweaver site’s already, you woulda’ thought they’d implement the exact same, although toned downed, version of Dreamweaver’s site window.

Yeah…I was playing around with it one night. Even on a solo person project it seems quite useless and a pain to use — manually adding files and folder structure. Why can’t it just point at a directory like DW? I didn’t really see how it would benefit me at all.

Oscar, why not even take it a step further and have one IDE that changes based on the current file you have open. That’d be TOTAL integration. 🙂

Could you do me a favor and make sure this gets into the Flash dev team archives, please? It would be great if you mentioned the specific chokepoints which didn’t work for you, or if you visualize specific alternatives that could help. (In some cases this might mean describing your current and/or ideal workflows.) Thanks!

John Dowdell
Macromedia Support

I was a little shocked at the state of projects support in Flash MX 2004 if I’m honest. Like you, I spent a little time thinking about how I might get around the limitations, and then decided to use Dreamweaver instead.

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