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10 Minutes with Flash: The World According to Shared Libraries

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In 10 minutes or less, Robert Hoekman, Jr. can show you how to share assets between movies during development or on the fly. Read this third installment of the "10 Minutes with Flash" series to make your Flash content easier to create and use.
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Today, you will create some shape primitives, stick them in a library, learn two different ways to share them with other projects, and learn one way to make it easier. Why are you going to do this? Because I said so.

Actually, the two methods, called authortime sharing and runtime sharing, offer some serious benefits. They can improve your workflow and cut down on file size—both of which will make you a better person. Forget about 12-Step programs. In Flash, it's all about shared libraries.

Learning to Share

For authortime sharing, you just grab an asset from one .FLA and stick it into another one. It's a little like copy-and-paste, but you don't actually have to open the .FLA that contains the original asset. Authortime sharing is a huge timesaver because it means you can avoid re-creating commonly used symbols, such as the Play button for an MP3 player or the folder icon for a diagram.

For runtime sharing, you define linkage for a .SWF so the assets in its Library are available to other movies while they are running. If you need to use your company's logo in several .SWFs on a site, you can import them on the fly and cut down on file size for every .SWF using the asset. And it's all very easy to do.

Because I've got only 10 minutes to explain how to do all this, I'll get right to it.

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