Speed up your Flash development time with slider-bars

When developing a Flash project I love using slider-bars. They have saved me countless hours of developing time. At the same time the results are far superior to what I would get just writing my Actionscript "by hand". I've found slider-bars so helpful in Flash development that I'm posting this article to hopefully save a few Flash developers a lot of time. It is something I wish I'd known a long time ago.

What makes slider-bars so great is you can adjust a variable's value while your project is running. Like adjusting the volume knob on your stereo, you see or hear how changing the value affects performance. Slide the bar until the results are just right. Then take the resulting value, hard code it into your project and you're set.

This works really well for variables that control motion, but can be applied to just about anything. Slider-bars are especially useful when you need to set multiple variables to get the right effect. This is hard to do without live feedback. The only aternative is an endless circle of setting values and exporting the Flash movie to see how it looks.

As an example I've included this snow fall movie. Using the sliders you can control the speed of the flakes, how many there are and how much they sway. You could edit all of these values by hand and then publish the movie to see how it looks, or you can slide the bar and know you are getting the right effect. Personally, I prefer the second method.



The Flash plugin is required to view this example.

 

If you need a simple slider bar component to use in developing your projects, I've included one below. I also included the original source files in case you'd like to see how it works. Feel free to use it, modify it or make your own. Hopefully in a future post I'll get a chance to explain it in depth.

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