Hack Yourself a copy of Flash 8!
If you're a Flash nerd like I, you've been chomping at the bit to get your grubbly lil paws on a copy of the newest version of Flash. Well, chomp no longer, pally - with a few simple hacks, you too can begin publishing Flash 8 content straight away.
First you'll need to coaxe your copy of Flash MX 2004 to publish version 8 .swf files. To do so, navigate your way to this directory:
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash MX 2004\en\Configuration\Publish Profiles
(I have no idea where that is on a MAC. If you were sick enough in the head to buy one, you can find it yourself). Within that directory, you will find a file called "default.xml". Copy this file, save it as "flash8.xml" then open it up in your favorite xml editor or Notepad++, if you're a cheapskate like me.
On the top line, change the name attribute from "Default" to "Flash 8". Now, find the "PublishFlashProperties" node and change the child node "version" node value from 7 to 8 and save the file. Open up Flash and bring up your publish settings dialog box. At the top of the box is a dropdown box labeled "current profile". Just to the right of the dropdown box is a import/export button. Click it and import the "Flash 8.xml" file you just saved. You will see see under the flash tab that you will now be publishing to version Flash Player 8 (you may have to shut then reopen your publish settings box to see this change take effect). Hot damn! Half way home...
To fully enjoy all the benefits of the flash 8 player you will need to have access to the flash 8 class files. Take a quick trip over to MTASC.org and download the most recent version of mtasc. In the .zip file you receive, you will find a folder labeled "std". Save this folder (along with all its contents of course) to:
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash MX 2004\en\Configuration\Classes.
Now, if you prefer compiling with MTASC, knock yourself out. Me, I'm perfectly happy inside the Flash IDE. Anyway, that's it, baby. Go hogwild.
Try this quick test to get you started. Create a movie clip (just draw a shape and convert it to a movie clip symbol - doesn't have to be fancy pants right away) and give it an instance name of "my_mc". Up in an actionscript layer copy and paste this quick little script:
var myFilters = new Array();
var myShadow = new flash.filters.DropShadowFilter();
my_mc.filters = myFilters;
Publish this test file and open it in a browser equipped with the new Flash 8 Player (If someone could tell me how to set the Flash 8 player as my default Flash IDE player so testing could be done in the Flash environment rather than a browser, I'd be most obliged). Gaze in awe. Soon you'll be creating nifty neato files such as this one here: http://www.onebyonedesign.com/flash/f8/test1/
(of course you'll need the version 8 player installed to see what I'm talking about. Duh).
Have fun and share your results.
By the way, if you jack up your copy of Flash trying any of the above, don't come crying to me. I didn't tell you to do nothin', man...