Difference between FLA and SWF

Key Difference: FLA and SWF are two types of file format used in Adobe Flash. The main difference between FLA and SWF is the fact that the SWF file is the finished product, whereas the FLA is the work in progress or the source file for the finished SWF file.

FLA and SWF are two types of file format used in Adobe Flash. They are used for multimedia, vector graphics and ActionScript. The main difference between FLA and SWF is the fact that the SWF file is the finished product, whereas the FLA is the work in progress or the source file for the finished SWF file.

.swf files are the completed, compiled and published Flash files. These cannot be edited. .fla files, on the other hand contain the source material for the Flash application. These files can be edited using various types Flash authoring software. FLA files use graphic design, vector graphics and other production tools to create the flash product. Once the editing on the .fla files is completed, the files are saved in the .swf format. This format can then be published to the Internet, submitted to the company it was designed for or shared by the creators with others.

If there are any changes that need to be made to the finished Flash file or if the SWF file needs to be revised, then the designer needs the FLA file. Changes can only be made in the FLA file, and then can be saved again as the SWF file, which can then be republished. There are a number of software currently available, which can be used to get a FLA file from a SWF, whose original FLA file is not available. However, the derived FLA files are never as good as the original.

The SWF file format was developed by the FutureWave Software and was then transferred to Macromedia. Macromedia was eventually acquired by Adobe. SWF files usually contain animations or interactive applets. Currently, SWF is the dominant format for displaying animated vector graphics on the internet. SWF is also commonly used to publish browser games using ActionScript.

The term “SWF” stands for “Small Web Format.” It originally stood for “ShockWave Flash.” It was changed in order to eliminate confusion with Shockwave, which is a different technology. SWF was however derived from Shockwave.

Image Courtesy: iconfinder.com, swfplayer.info 

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