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Eltima Flash Optimizer

Eltima Flash Optimizer

Frankfurt based software developer Eltima have a number of Flash tools for both Mac and PC. Today we're going to take a look at their Flash Optimizer for Mac OS. The two key performance indicators for a an optimsation tool should be its speed of output and the filesize differential, so let's take a look.

What is it? SWF Compression utility
Platforms: Windows, Mac OSX 10.2+
Manufacturer: Eltima
Website: http://www.eltima.com
Cost: Personal $99.95, Business $299.95, Unlimited business $499.95

Speed of Output
Taking speed first; and as I was testing this on a new Intel Mac, I was very pleased to see that it's a Universal binary. I can't comment on how it performs on PowerMacs but on the IntelMac it's felt fast and responsive.

Although broadband has become more common in recent years, dial up and mobile still account for a reasonable amount of web traffic so it is still good practice to keep your files as small as possible. The compiler in the Flash IDE does a pretty good job of this already and from Flash 6 onwards we've had the option to compress the SWF file output, so just how much smaller can these SWF files get?

Filesize differential
The Flash Optimizer site makes filesize reduction claims of up to 60-70%. While I won't dispute that these sort of reductions are achievable on some SWFs I would also caveat that with the fact that you probably wouldn't want to. These sorts of savings can only be made by drastically lowering the quality of the output media.

Optimizer makes it's savings in four ways: Truncation, Transformation, Disposal and Compression. Each optimisation technique is well documented in the help and each can be configured and individually toggled on and off.

Truncation and transformation work by reducing the number of points required to describe your Shapes, fonts and animations. If the output shapes are within your provided tolerance then the optimisation is applied. Disposal does not affect the quality of your final output as they make their savings by throwing away unused assets, tags and metadata.

Compression is applied in two ways. Flash Player 6 movies and above can employ the standard lossless Zlib compression mentioned earlier. What is more tricky to balance is the lossy compression for pictures, sound and video. While it's entirely possible to compress these right down, they will look awful. You'll need to play around a bit to find the levels that work best for you. No attempt is made to optimise Actioncript.

Who would use it?
The most obvious use for Flash Optimzer is in banner creation. File size is a critical part of the ad acceptance procedure and any tool that can shave a few K off the final file is worth its weight in gold. Optimizer could also find a home with testers. It has a very good profiler which will give you details stats on the content of any SWF file.

Flash Optimizer is a great addition to your development armoury. The interface is simple and the compression settings are very flexible. Great product.

visit Eltima

 

About John Dalziel

John Dalziel is a founding member of FlashMagazine and regularly reports from community events in the UK. He has also written for Macromedia, New Riders, Actionscript.com and Ultrashock.com.

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