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Chris Dolan > SWF-NeedsRecompile > SWF::NeedsRecompile



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Module Version: 1.06   Source  


SWF::NeedsRecompile - Tests if any SWF or FLA file dependencies have changed


Copyright 2002-2006 Clotho Advanced Media, Inc.,

Copyright 2007-2008 Chris Dolan

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


    use SWF::NeedsRecompile qw(check_files);
    foreach my $file (check_files(<*.swf>)) {
       print "SWF needs recompilation: $file\n";


This module parses .fla and .as files and determines dependencies recursively, via import and #include statements. It then compares the timestamps of all of the dependencies against the timestamp of the .swf file. If any dependency is newer than the .swf, that file needs to be recompiled.


This module only works in its entirety on Mac OS X, and for Flash MX 2004. Help wanted: extend it to Windows (add appropriate search paths at the top of the .pm file) and extend it to the Flash 8 author when that is available.

This module only reports whether or not the .swf is up to date. It would be useful to know whether it is out of date because of the .fla file or any .as files. In the latter case, the open source MTASC ( application could perform the recompilation.

This module likely only works with ASCII file names. The heuristic used to parse the binary .fla files discards the upper Unicode byte of any file names.

If there are import statements with wildcards in any .as files, then all files in the specified directory are considered dependencies, even if only a subset are actually used.

Direct access to class methods are not detected. So, if you Actionscript does something like com.example.Foo.doSomething() then com/example/ is not detected as a dependency. The workaround is to add an import; in this example it would be import com.example.Foo;


check_files($file, $file, ...)

Examine a list of .swf and/or .fla files and return the file names of the ones that need to be recompiled.

Performance note: Information is cached across files, so it's faster to call this function once with a bunch of files than a bunch of times with one file each invocation.


Returns a list of Classpath directories specified globally in Flash.


Returns the file name of the Flash preferences XML file.


Returns the path where Flash stores all of its class prototypes.


Changes the verbosity of the whole module. Defaults to false. Set to a number higher than 1 to get very verbose output.

The SWFCOMPILE_VERBOSITY environment variable sets this at module load time.

The default is 0 (silent), but we recommend setting verbosity to 1, which emits error messages. Setting to 2 also emits debugging messages.


Returns the current verbosity number.



This module tries to ignore dependencies specified inside comments like these:

   /* #include "" */
   // var inst = new Some.Class();

but for reasons I don't understand, searching for the latter style of comments inside binary .fla files can cause a (seemingly) infinite loop. So, as a hack we DO NOT ignore //... style comments in Actionscript that is embedded inside of .fla files. This can lead to spurious errors. Perhaps this is a problem with Regexp::Common::comment or just that some .fla files have too few line endings?

Unicode Class Names and Paths

Flash stores source code and include paths inside of the .fla binary as (I think) UCS2 strings. This code converts those strings to ASCII by simply stripping all of the \0 characters. This is REALLY BAD, but it works fine for pure-ASCII path names.

Operating Systems

This code works great on Mac OS X. The typical paths for the Flash configuration directory are provided for that platform.

This code will still work marginally under Windows, but for full support I need to know the path to the preferences file and the configuration directory. I need those locations for Macromedia classes and default include paths.


Module::Build::Flash uses this module.


Chris Dolan

This module was originally developed by me at Clotho Advanced Media Inc. Now I maintain it in my spare time.

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