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mswanson mswanson
  • Microsoft irony and double standards at it’s best.

    Sourcecode wrote:
    If that was truly the case then it would be FLA to XAML.

    As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the FLA file format is proprietary and undocumented. Or if it is documented, that fact isn't made public. So, although I agree that converting from FLA to XAML would have been nice, there's no obvious way to accomplish this.

    As a result, the only reasonble way to get Flash content into XAML is to convert it from a SWF file. It really is that simple.

    Earlier in this thread, I referred to some large companies that had never received (or thought to ask for) the original FLA files. This "lost assets" argument has been brought up a few times in this same thread. I want to point out that even if you still have the original FLA files, converting the assets from the published SWF file is still the best option.

    The only other option I can think of would be to convert the assets from whatever format they existed in before they were imported into the Flash authoring tool (yes, their tool also imports non-Adobe files). In a lot of cases, though, those assets were actually created in the Flash authoring tool, so this strategy wouldn't work, and you'd be out of luck.

  • Microsoft irony and double standards at it’s best.

    Rossj wrote:
    Does it do conversions from XAML to SWF as well?

    Completely fair question, and the—hopefully unsurprising—answer is no. To start with, my passion is for Microsoft products and technologies (I work for the company I love!). And for the same reason the quarterback on the other team doesn't throw passes to my guys, we're heading towards our own end zone. I'm sure the other team has their own plays and strategies. But at the end of the day, it's healthy competition that pushes innovation, and I'm happy to have it.

    From a technical perspective, writing a SWF file is different than reading it, and it would take quite a bit more effort. I'm not just talking about the bits and bytes but also the data formats. There was a company called Xamlon that wrote a XAML to SWF tool, but I just tried to pull up their web site, and they must be in the middle of retooling (http://www.xamlon.com/).

  • Microsoft irony and double standards at it’s best.

    Cybermagellan wrote:
    So just as a question...

    Why build a converter? XAML doesn't have an <object> tag where you can specify the progid="Shockwave.Flash"? That way you can run the native swf in your xaml app?

    Great question, Cybermagellan. Indeed, if you just wanted to play back the Flash file as-is, using the Flash Player is a perfect solution.
    However, many companies would like to reuse some of the shape assets in other projects. For example, I can think of many companies who have traditionally used Flash to create quick, conceptual mock-ups of applications they might later build using other tools. If they then decide to build those applications, it's very convenient for them to be able to take not only the shape data, but also the positioning data from a frame in the mocked-up SWF file. Because WPF is a vector-based system (with full support for bitmaps, of course), this ends up saving a lot of time and effort.

    The example animations I showed in the Channel 9 interview aren't likely candidates for conversion. Those animations play just fine in the Flash Player.

  • Microsoft irony and double standards at it’s best.

    Harlequin wrote:
    Or is it that the Adobe licence doesn't give anyone enough information to decompile the swf format unless a price is paid? And this was circumvented without said payment?

    I mentioned this in an earlier response, but I'll mention it again. Adobe charges no fee for access to their Flash file specification. It's completely free.

    Sourcecode wrote:
    My point is that a company (MS) provided a tool to do so; is it ethical? I felt that such a tool provided by a company such as MS encourages copyright infringement.

    I also want to clarify that this is a completely after-hours personal project (which is why it's hosted on my personal domain). No Microsoft resources or time were used in the creation of the tool.

  • Microsoft irony and double standards at it’s best.

    Good discussion, guys, and I'm happy to participate. Of course, you probably know where I stand on this issue. The top request that I receive for converters is easily SWF to WPF/XAML. But, it's not that folks want to wholeheartedly convert everything, because that doesn't often make sense. They want to use some of their existing assets in a new WPF application. After all, WPF isn't primarily an animation system...it's a way to develop next-generation applications and user experiences.

    I'm obviously not an Adobe/Macromedia spokesperson (perhaps someone from Adobe can add to this discussion), but I'll tell you what I currently understand about the FLA and SWF file formats. The FLA file format is a proprietary and closed format, and as far as I know, there is no specification available for it. The SWF is simply the published version of a FLA file. The file specification is available at (seemingly) no cost from Adobe, so price isn't the issue. But, if anything is documented and available, it is clearly the SWF format.

    Although I can't peer into the FLA file and make any sense of it, I'd speculate that it contains a lot of useful authoring information that would make a conversion (like the one SWF2XAML implements) much more straightforward. As a matter of fact, it's the first thing I looked at when I began my experimentation months ago. By the way, there is nothing that I've seen in the SWF format that ever encrypts or scrambles the content for protection.

    Another way to think about the relationship between FLA and SWF is this: in Photoshop, I save my project files with a PSD file extension (Photoshop's native format), but when I publish them, I can publish to a number of formats: JPG, GIF, PNG, etc. There's nothing inherently "protected" about the bits in these files. As a matter of fact, any standard web browser can parse and display them. But, just because you can right-click on an image on a web page and select "Save As...", does that mean that web browsers were built to enable people to steel copyrighted material from others? Of course not.

    There is a clear difference between a tool's features and abilities and what a person can legally do with the tool. For example, photocopiers, VCRs, and cameras aren't (by themselves) illegal. But, a person can certainly perform illegal acts with all of them.

    In the case of the companies I'm referring to (who I'd name, except I'm not sure they'd want me to), they simply don't have the original FLA files. There's nothing nefarious about their motives. You'd recognize every one of the companies, and I doubt you'd believe that their motives were anything but legitimate.

    The SWF2XAML tool is simply a way to reduce the challenges a customer or partner may have in reusing their assets.

  • Announcing the WPF/XAML Conversion Tool Contest

    Thanks for the heads-up regarding COLLADA, eddwo. It's not something I've heard requests for, but based on the Wikipedia article, it sounds like a very useful format. Off to investigate...

  • Announcing the WPF/XAML Conversion Tool Contest

    Think you can write a tool that converts from a popular 2D or 3D file format to WPF/XAML? Interested in winning a Dell XPS M1710 laptop? If yes, check out the contest we launched today: http://blogs.msdn.com/mswanson/archive/2006/08/29/729501.aspx

  • www.​seewindowsv​ista.com Site Launch

    Escamillo wrote:
    mswanson wrote: 

    You've probably heard a lot about the new features in Windows Vista. But have you seen any of the cool stuff that our customers and partners are doing on top of Windows Vista? We worked with Tom Skerritt (MASH, Alien, Top Gun, Contact, etc.) and 20 of our early adopters to build a site that shows the kinds of applications that can be built with our new technology. Think of them as short teasers for an upcoming generation of software: www.seewindowsvista.com.

    Cool site.
    Did you get a chance to ask Tom Skerritt what's the hold-up in getting Picket Fences out on DVD?

    Too funny, Escamillo! Smiley I did ask him which of his projects he is most proud of. His answer was A River Runs Through It, which also happens to be one of my favorites.

  • www.​seewindowsv​ista.com Site Launch

    Probably true, Michael. But, many of the developers who worked on those applications probably came up-to-speed on the technologies via Channel 9! Smiley

  • www.​seewindowsv​ista.com Site Launch

    You've probably heard a lot about the new features in Windows Vista. But have you seen any of the cool stuff that our customers and partners are doing on top of Windows Vista? We worked with Tom Skerritt (MASH, Alien, Top Gun, Contact, etc.) and 20 of our early adopters to build a site that shows the kinds of applications that can be built with our new technology. Think of them as short teasers for an upcoming generation of software: www.seewindowsvista.com.