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Archive for October, 2008

UPDATE (11/22/2008) –
Just wanted to post my final solution to this particular issue – I bought a new computer. I’ve been on it for about 2 weeks running CS4 crash free the whole time! Note: Adobe made themselves available to assist with my problem. But we were not able to solve it.

UPDATE (10/20/2008 – evening) –
I just got a good 20-30 minutes of usage out of Flash CS4 this time before it crashed with the same error as seen below. At this point I’m through with Flash CS4 until Adobe releases an update, or until I hear from other people that CS4 is rock solid for them. Back to CS3 for me…

UPDATE (10/20/2008 – morning) –
Reinstalling Flash CS4 a 2nd time fixed this particular issue! Time for me to give CS4 another shot.

UPDATE (10/18/2008) –

Looks like I spoke too soon below. I cannot reproduce this error on my other machine with another CS4 installation. This is reproducible every time on one machine, and never on the other machine. So it does look like it is specific to my installation. This is hopefully not a CS4 issue. When/if I learn more I’ll update here.

Original post –

I was so excited to start using Flash CS4 that I bought it within hours of becoming available. The very first project I tried it on is one that we (at Electrotank) have been working on for a while. It won’t compile properly. You can watch the status of that issue here.

So, forced to continue with Flash CS3 on that other project I was looking for an excuse to use Flash CS4 on something else. This morning I decided to give it a shot on a brand new smallish game project. I opened an FLA created by an artist containing the game UI and Flash crashed within about 2 or 3 minutes.

If you haven’t seen this crash window yet consider yourself lucky. I’m guessing you’ll become acquainted with it shortly. I have tried two projects in CS4 neither of which will allow me to do my job.

By letting Flash crash on me about a dozen times I narrowed it down to a single spot. If I click on this spot Flash crashes. (The application Adobe Flash CS4 has unexpectedly quit.)

I packaged up an example for others to try. Sure, maybe (and hopefully) this is just something funky with my setup. But you can try it yourself. Download this fla.

  1. Open the FLA
  2. Click on the word ‘Repeat’
  3. Weep


You probably don’t have that font installed. I opened it up in CS3, changed the font to Arial, then tried again in CS4 and it still crashed.

I’m not sure I’ll try a 3rd project in CS4 until we hear from Adobe that these issues have been resolved. We’ve already lost more money this week on man-hours than we did on buying Flash CS4. We’ll cut our losses for now.

I’ll be the first one using CS4 once I can have confidence in it.

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Note: This issue was completely resolved in the 11/17/2008 Flash CS4 update. Scroll to the bottom for more final update to this post.

For those that don’t know this issue in Flash CS3, here is the briefest summary: it SUCKS.

White Screen of Death is the issue where your compiled application will run no code. Throw a trace statement on line 1 of frame 1, and nothing. This has happened here at Electrotank on at least 3 projects, each of which has hundreds of classes (in CS3).

In Flash CS3 you could get this to stop happening by wishing real hard and rebooting 17 times. Then you’re good for a few weeks. But seriously, it can actually go way sometimes by just restarting Flash.

So CS4 shipped yesterday. I immediately bought a copy and fired up my current application, published. And guess what? WSOD!

Open that same FLA in CS3, works. CS4, doesn’t. Verified on 3 machines.

Obviously this really, really, sucks. We have to stick with Flash CS3 for now because CS4 won’t function properly. There is at least some hope though. Erik Bianchi has packaged up an example and sent it to several Adobe engineers so they have an example right in front of them.

If anyone out there happens to know a trick to get around this, please speak up!

UPDATE – Friday Otober 17 2008
My backchannel tells me that Adobe is “on it”. And that they have been burried by emails since launch.

UPDATE – Saturday October 18 2008
I’ve gotten word (indirectly) that a couple of Adobe’s engineers are working on this issue.

Update – Monday October 20 2008
No word from Adobe today. But I heard from someone on a completely unrelated project that they just upgraded to CS4 and are getting WSOD. Works in CS3, not in CS4.

Update – Saturday October 25 2008
There is an Adobe technote that looks to have been added in the last week. It is definitely the issue outlined here. If you rip your project into enough swcs or swfs then apparently you can still move forward. It is good to see it officially listed as a problem – but I don’t like the solution. I hope that Adobe sees it as a bug and will address it in a future update. The applications in which I’ve witnessed this bug have hundreds of classes. I reduced it substantially with a few bigger swcs and still had the same bug. There is no definitive limit here. So, how far do you have to break your application down?

This is likely to be my last update on this topic for a while unless there is some noticeable movement at Adobe or if someone in the community has a good discovery.

Update – Thursday October 30 2008
Great news on this topic! Richard Galvan (Adobe Flash’s product manager) and Sean Kranzberg (senior manager quality assurance) reached out directly to me regarding this issue. Apparently it is related to memory allocation to the JVM, which the compiler uses. They assured me that they are taking this issue seriously and *will* have a fix in their first Flash CS4 update. No release date is currently slated – but the worlds “some time in November” were spoken. When the release is official I’ll update here.

Update – Saturday November 22 2008
Adobe released an update this wee to Flash CS4 that completely fixes the issue! You can get the update yourself through the Adobe Updater, through Flash CS4 > Help > Updates, or here. Here is the relevant part of their release notes:

This update also provides fixes for problems related to compiling large files and applying motion to multiple objects.

Update – Thursday February 19 2009
A fellow Electrotanker sent me a link to this blog post where someone else reporting the WSOD issue. If you scroll down to response #4 a person suggested increasing the Java heap size on his computer (which is a global setting). WSOD occurs when the Flash compiler runs out of memory. Increasing the Java memory allocation solves the problem!

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