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Owen van Dijk

We do the same, and we also run multiple branches and enable tagging, across versions. Also we run daily builds against the CVS repository using Ant. At last, we do deployment right from CVS. We also run projects from SourceSafe, which has a different implementation of Version Control, namely that only one developer can work on a file, basically having a lock on it.

Olaf Schmidtmann

Thanks, very good info. We just started to work this way and came up with the same results. Reading this it quite a relief :-)
I think there is a way to work with locked files in CVS, too, which may be an option in small teams.

Rob Dixon

Owen, yes SourceSafe is another option, though we found it is horribly slow when doing check-outs of large files (like FLA's) remotely. That's especially a problem when your team is widely-distributed geographically. SourceSafe works fine over a LAN though.

Olaf, good to hear this matches with your experience so far! We've been able to work with locked files by asking each developer to do a "reserved edit" when checking out. It's not foolproof because a clever developer can always get around the restrictions, but it does provide an indicator when someone else is currently editing a file. That's useful with Flash files, bcause you're not able to "merge" text changes inside of binary files like FLA's.

Cameron Gull

I've been using SourceSafe working on a project with 5 different developers and you're right... it's quite slow. The ONLY benefit is that it integrates with Flash MX 2004 Pro. I would much rather use CVS, does anyone know if there's a way to do a check-in/check-out from within Flash as you can with SourceSafe? That would make my team's year! (the funny thing is that we're developing for Micro$haft and I don't know how they'd feel about us using CVS... LOL!)


Nice article! We're using svn, and it works fine, except sometimes developers tend to overwrite each others binary files (svn has no locking mechanism).

How are you building the SWFs? Are you using the Flash Ant task, or do you have a manual process?


I see you mention that .as files can be checked into CVS as text files. However, i found that the flash actionscript editor places 3 characters in the beginning of .as files which are not in the ASCII range - they are 0xEF 0xBB and 0xBF. My Wincvs ( complains about these non-ASCII characters and won't check the .as file in as a text file.

Flash does not seem to mind if the 3 bytes are not there when opening the files. So I can remove these 3 bytes with an text editor before checking the code in. But that is a bit of a pain as the next time i save the file in flash editor it adds them again.

Does anyone know of a solution?
Btw, Flash version is MX2004 professional 7.2

Rob Dixon


I believe those three bytes are UTF-8 indicators. Flash lets you save your files with UTF-8 Encoding or Default Encoding. In Flash 8 you can change this by going to Edit > Preferences > ActionScript and changing the values for Open/Import and Save/Export to "Default Encoding".


We are using CVS but we don't know how to set it up so that the developer has to check in and check out files. Can someone point me in the right direction please? We are hiring new developers and this could be a problem. Thanks in advance.


My flash files contains AS code in FLA itself (not using the external .as files). Is there any version control system / software which can give me feature of comparing two FLA and listing difference in both ?

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