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Hack 88 Test Multiple Flash Plugins
Test against multiple versions of the Flash Player without moving between computers or having to manually install/uninstall Flash ActiveX or plugin versions.
Many clients require sites to be compatible with the previous version of the Flash Player (at the time of this writing, Flash Player 6) until the current version (Flash Player 7, for now) reaches an installed base of around 90%. This degree of ubiquity is achieved around 18 months after the release of a new Flash Player.
Although the Flash authoring environment allows you to create content for previous versions of the Flash Player, it has no facility to allow you to test your SWFs using previous versions; it simply assumes that viewing content on the latest version of the Player (currently Flash 7) is fine. Fortunately, Macromedia does a good job of ensuring that the current Flash Player plays older-format .swf files the same as earlier Flash Player versions.
A good designer will also test with the latest Flash Player version. However, testing a site using previous versions of the Flash Player is a prudent exercise, and it can be a messy one.
Because your browser can have only one version of the Flash Player installed at one time, there are four options:
Because we're not gluttons for punishment, this hack uses Flash Plugin Switcher (FPS), whose excellent logo is shown in Figure 11-4. FPS can force the browser to go back to the previous version of the Flash Player. Unfortunately, the application is Windows-only, so you'll have to resort to the other methods for Macintosh testing.
Figure 11-4. The Flash Plugin Switcher's rune
Although Alex's site is in German, the application and its help files are in English.
This URL leads to Technote 14266: Archived Macromedia Flash Players available for testing purposes. Simply entering "14266" in the search box on Macromedia's home page should get you the current URL if Macromedia changes it.
Using Flash Plugin Switcher
Once you have unzipped the Flash Plugin Switcher download, start the application. Click the Help button to access information on how to install the plugins and ActiveX controls. Once you have it up and running, as seen in Figure 11-5, you can:
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