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<16 Tips For Better Flash Development ⁄ >

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Flash is capable of performing an impressive number of tasks and delivering such a wide variety of different types of information that it can be tricky to know where to start when trying to reign in a bloated application. In an effort to keep a large and still growing Flash application that I am developing under control, I recently did some research into Flash optimization. So, after some experimentation and a little searching around online, I was able to put together a list of tips, the best of which I'll share with you now. Some of these tips relate to graphics, most however, focus on the nitty-gritty of ActionScript and so are a little technical in nature.

1. Try not to scale images as this can be quite a CPU intensive operation.

2. Avoid using outlines around vector images, this also adds to CPU load without necessarily improving the quality of the vector.

3. Avoid using _alpha and gradients if possible. If you have an object that's going to be at 0 _alpha for a while, set '_visible = 0' instead.

4. Keep all your code centralized, because code lookups don't have to go through MCs. It also makes your SWFs far more intelligible if your code isn't hidden within a multitude of different MCs.

5. Reuse code where possible and practical. Try and avoid repeating routines where a single function might suffice.

6. Avoid unnecessary variable declaration. ActionScript is an interpreted language and variables take up more space than in compiled languages.

7. Use 'var' to declare variables. Local variables are faster to access for the player and are destroyed when the function returns.

8. When declaring variables, try and avoid long variable names, e.g. 'var thisisacrazylengthforavariablename = 1' is a lot slower than 'var shorter = 1'.

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