When I started developing Flash websites back in 1997, I was intrigued by how this or that effect could be achieved. When looking at a particular Flash site, I used to think “what if I could have a look at the source code for this?”.
Converting a compiled Flash .SWF to the source code .FLA file, has been a forbidden dream since the inception of Flash. While it is still forbidden, it is no longer a dream.
With Ave Imperator ° FLA, you open a protected .SWF, and it converts and saves a .FLA file for you. This has been possible before, with the use of Buraks ActionScript Viewer, as mentioned here. The main difference being, that Imperator skips a step, which in fact makes it illegal, but much faster and easier.
Imperator °FLA is different on this term. It does exactly what it is not allowed to, and directly converts a SWF to FLA, and judging by the demo, does so in seconds. The speed and ease with which it does so, will definately appeal to the layman user—the very that is most likely to steal SWFs…
ASV doesn’t come with a demo, but can be bought online. As mentioned, it uses a legal method for converting SWF files, plus it comes with the ability to extract font outlines from the SWFs and save these in TrueType (TTF) Format.
Imperator °FLA has a demo, that converts the SWF but doesn’t save converted ActionScript, and is limited to 200 FLAs. In addition to converting SWFs, it’ll recover from the SWF all Components (with initialized variables), all Environment Settings (backgroundcolor, framerate, height, width, etc.), Frame Labels, Library Linkages and Mask Layers.
The whole issue of the ethics of reverse engineering has been long discussed, and bottomline is that it’s sad that what Flash authors thought was their proprietary material can now be copied, analyzed and modified. Still, I’m kinda happy that I am now able to restore the source files of Noscope 2001, which was lost in a computer crash. And as such, both Imperator °FLA and ASV represent double edged swords. Whether you like the idea or not, the applications are out there, and your SWFs now belong to them.