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Flash Player 10 feature: Load and Save files using FileReference

Flash Player 10 feature: Load and Save files using FileReference

The new Flash Player 10 beta will give us direct access to the FileReference object, allowing you to really interact with the users filesystem.

For todays big release of the new Player, we talked to Justin Everett-Church (Flash Player product manager) and Tom Barclay (senior product marketing manager) from the Adobe Platform Business Unit. We've split the interview into multiple pieces for easier reading, and you can also see the demos for yourself on this URL.

Justin showed an example application where he could load a Pixel Bender filter from a file on his desktop. The app parsed the filter file and used it to create the required controls.  "In the past we have the ability to load the file that a user choses and then send it directly on to the server, but now in Flash Player 10, we're granting access to files at runtime" Justin says. When asked if this applied to any file, he replied "Sure. Once it's been loaded in, it can be accessed either as a bytearray or a string. And the other side of that is that you can take content from the runtime and save it back down. So [in this app] I'm using an Actionscript library for doing PNG encoding of bitmapdata and I'm passing that in and through the FileReference object to save a PNG image to my desktop."

This new feature alone will open up a whole new set of online applications and it'll probably be what really makes the A in RIA. It'll also open a can of worms if the security fails so expect some pretty strong sandboxing and crippling of this feature. Let's hope they get this right on the first attempt for this can become mighty cool! Imagine designing your business cards online and be able to download a PDF for printing? Or create an online Music studio where you can play, mix and eventually export the master for your latest hit.


Click here to visit Adobe Labs to download and play with the new Player. Click here to see Lee Brimelow explain how to use this feature.


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Posted by arealperson on 10/16 at 08:43 PM

This is not a “cool” feature. Adobe continually assault users privacy and security with their additions to the flash “player” (it’s more like a platform now isn’t it). They should separate out the “player” so people can watch youtube and such without all this security compromising junk.

The two features you describe, saving business card and download an online mixed MP3 can both easily be accomplished by doing the generation server-side then allowing the user to download the completed file from the server. Allowing the user to save directly saves a bit of bandwidth but at the loss of a good idea - that web objects can’t go running around your file system unless you let them.

LSO, now this. It’s a bad day for web users, you are over-rating this feature - everything it adds can be achieved by uploading and downloading from the web and unless you are using a flash based video editor (come on now, it doesn’t make sense to put everything on the web just because you can) then it doesn’t cost much bandwidth.

Posted by Jens C Brynildsen on 10/17 at 12:09 AM

@arealperson I think you got this wrong. Nobody but yourself can do anything to the filesystem using this feature. The only thing the Flash Player can do is to open a dialogue in response to a mouse click. You have to both click AND save the file. There is no security issue here.

PS: not sure if you’re getting this reply since you registered with an account on

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