October 21, 2002

New Flash 6 Player Beta

Macromedia has released a public beta of a new Flash 6.0 plug-in and Standalone Player for Win, Linux, Mac and Mac OS X. This is a great opportunity to test and report problems with your Flash sites early on, giving Macromedia the chance to address them before the general release, which, by the time your customers see them, will be too late.

The big bang in the new feature list is sure to be Windowless Mode support for Win Mozilla/Netscape and Mac OS X browsers (more on this in a sec). Also welcome is an improvement in ActionScript performance, an interesting facility to customize your HTTP headers for POST and XML actions, and Linux support (previously, Linux users were supported with a Flash 5 plug-in), plus others and a few fixes to boot.

Windowless Mode support is what previously allowed only the ActiveX version of Flash to do things like have transparent Flash content and allow DHTML elements to overlap Flash movies. Apparently newer flavors of the Mozilla family now support a windowless mode as well as plug-in scripting (supported by Flash as of 6.0r40) in their new plug-in implementation—this is great news for designers who felt contrained in the past by the "boxy" nature of plug-in content.

In the realm of fixes, some developers will be happy to see that the problem where "variables weren't being passed via loadMovie when using query string and viewing the SWF locally" and "In some cases (and especially from CD-ROM), the playback of movies in the Standalone player would slow down severely, stutter sound, or stop after many minutes." have been addressed. I've run into the former issue myself in a recent project. More, of course, in the release notes.

The Macromedia Flash Player Public Beta download page.

The Beta FAQ.

The Public Beta Release Notes.

For enquiring minds, Win and Mac beta builds are currently at version 6,0,60,48, with the Linux beta at 6,0,60,50, but this may change if field reports prompt further builds.

Posted by Lewis Francis at October 21, 2002 11:24 AM

Forgot to note that Macromedia is offering prizes for the top two testers who submit the "highest number of good-quality new bugs". Top testers will choose any one of the following:Macromedia Studio MXMicrosoft XBoxSony PlayStation 2

Posted by: Lewis Francis at October 22, 2002 10:30 AM
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