Running Flash as self executable projectors on Mac and PC

If you still need to make Flash projectors (self executable Flash files) it was previously a feature that was inbuilt into the Flash IDE – it was very easy to use, and just worked. This is in the days before Flash CC however and this functionality was removed in the now current version.

What I use stand alone Flash projectors for

I build interactive screen graphics for TV and Film productions and depending on the shoot I’ll need to supply either mac or PC projectors so that these can play full screen and mimic a real computer interface (the magic of Hollywood!). Because of this I’ve still kept a copy of Flash CS6 installed on my machine so I can use the very handy projector export functionality. What makes it even greater is that from a PC I can also export a Mac projector without ever having to load OSX. It was a little annoying having to switch to CS6 for the export, but it worked and was fairly streamlined. That seems to have changed.

The problem – Projectors have started to be identified as corrupted when transferred from PC to Mac

It might have been a few months (or maybe more) since I’ve had to create a projector for Mac, but yesterday when I tried it didn’t work. I did everything as I’d always done, with the same software, and yet the projector would just not run on the clients mac. It said it was corrupted and asked the client if he wanted to throw the file in the trash. I thought it might have just been a corrupted zip, but after doing some tests and making multiple other versions this wasn’t the case.

The reason – Something to do with Zipping

The long and the short of it seems to be that the zip/transfer process is now doing something to the projector apps that OSX no longer likes. This was the same whether I zipped on PC and uploaded, or uploaded directly to dropbox without zipping. When the client download it, it wouldn’t run the app. Further investigation showed that if I copied the file from PC and transferred unzpped to the mac via a USB drive, it would run fine. There’s something in the zipping process that is the culprit! Well that’s as far as I got in terms of identifying the problem, I know my limitations and getting to the bottom of those specifics would be beyond me, however I did come up with a work around. And here it is:

The work around – it’s not pretty

(The premise here is that I’ve created a Mac projector on a PC, zipped it up and uploaded it to an FTP server. I’ve then provided the client with a link to the zip file to download. This process is also required if you’ve basically done the same thing using dropbox, which will automatically zip files for you when you download a folder).

  • Unzip the file so that the projector app (Shown as a file that has a an icon with a white ‘f’ on a red square) is extracted.
  • This is where the work around starts. Usually you’d double click this to start the app, instead you need to right/option click and select “Show Package Contents”.
  • Finder should then open up the application folder and inside you’ll see one item named “Contents”. Right click on this and select “Copy Contents”.
  • Next go to your desktop or any other folder you’d like to run the app from and create a new folder. You can name this anything you like, but for sake of argument let’s call it “application”.
  • Once you create the application folder right-click on it and select “Paste item”. This should duplicate the “Contents” folder that you already copied from the original app folder into this new location.
  • The last step to do after you’ve copied the “Contents” folder over is to rename the new “application” folder to “application.app”. Adding the .app extension will prompt OSX to ask you to confirm that you want to do this (it will change the folder into an app package). Click yes.
  • Now the icon of the “application” folder should turn into the white”f” on a red square. (Sometimes you need to drag the application thumbnail around a bit for it to refresh).
  • At this point you can now double click on the application icon and it will run!

Hope that helps – it ate up about 4 hours of my time so here’s hoping it’ll save a few others from similar wasted productivity.