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16.5. Where's All the Code?

Even for experienced Flash users, locating the code in a movie can sometimes be challenging. Because code can be attached to any frame in any timeline, any button, or any movie clip on stage, it is often lost in a sea of content. Obviously, a highly organized structure and thorough code documentation can save dozens or hundreds of hours over the life span of a project. But if you're faced with a movie that mysteriously seems to be missing important code, open the Actions panel and try these techniques for finding it:

  • To search the current scene for ActionScript code, use the Movie Explorer window's search option as described in the paragraph that follows this list.

  • Click on any frame that has a little circle icon on it in the timeline. A circle indicates the presence of ActionScript code.

  • Look for, and select, any white circle with a black outline on stage. These circles indicate empty movie clips, which often contain nothing but code. If there's no code on the empty clip itself, double-click the clip to edit it and investigate its frames.

  • Select each button in the movie, one at a time. Some programmers tend not to centralize code and instead place long, important scripts directly on buttons.

  • Check the timeline for hidden or masked layers. A layer with a red X icon next to it is hidden during authoring but may contain clips and buttons with code that appear during movie playback. Similarly, masked layers may contain obscured objects that bear code. Unlock masked layers to reveal their contents.

  • Unlock all layers. Empty movie clips (the little circles with black outlines) are hidden when the layer they're on is locked.

  • Use Ctrl+F (Windows) or Command+F (Macintosh) to open the Find dialog box. It is useful for searching large scripts for the specified text. Use the Movie Explorer, as described next, to search across all scripts.


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