Flash File Uploader

Uploader Screenshot

Flash File Uploader V3.2 (Allow All Filetypes)
Looking for a Flash File Uploader that allows you to set a custom directory and allows all filetypes? Click here.

I was getting tired of upload scripts timing out in Flash and talked with Mike a little about creating an AJAX uploader. Unfortunately, AJAX has a difficult time updating a progress meter while an upload is running and it still cannot prevent browser requests from timing out on some servers. Granted, you still can use AJAX to do this and I’d recommend reading up on a number of online tutorials that offer solutions. However, up until the advent of Flash’s FileReference Object, programmers had to rely on server-side Perl scripts to manage these uploads and as Zeh so eloquently put it, “I love Flash’s upload. It’s so much better than the extremely crap HTML upload.” Using the new FileReference Object, I put together this handy-dandy Flash File Uploader to manage files with variable file limits. I have to be honest and say that the idea came from YouTube‘s “Upload Video” feature and may owe a little credit to them. The FLA is perfectly skinnable and can easily be adapted to restrict to filetypes (Images, Text, Audio, Video, etc.). This one is pretty standard as I’ll be creating the limitations on a per-use basis, depending on the application. Also, you’ll still need to have PHP running on your server and have access to change file/folder permissions, specifically the repository for uploaded files (default: /files/) I should also mention that NO security scripting has been included in the PHP file. upload.php simply copies the newly-uploaded file to a directory without performing any virus protection at all. So here’s my disclaimer.

Disclaimer: If you intend to use this script, you should be wary of people uploading viruses to your server. By downloading these source files, you agree to indemnify me of any damage from malicious attacks.

That being said, here’s what you’re getting:

1. uploader.fla Fully-skinnable Flash Source file (FLA) that enables browsing to a computer, selecting the file to be uploaded, initiating the upload and watching a progress meter, and completion. 2. upload.php Simply PHP file for moving the newly-uploaded file to a specific directory (default: /files/) 3. index.html HTML page which includes (by way of the Deconcept SWFObject) the uploader.swf, and parameters for php handling and file size limit. 4. SWFObject I included the JS file for your convenience. If you have questions about how to use the SWFObject, please see my previous tutorial, Activating an ActiveX Control’s Interface through Javascript. 5. Files Directory This is an empty placeholder directory for your uploaded-file storage. Make sure it is writeable!

This Page can help you to limit types of files that are being uploaded and I urge you to refer to your favorite PHP tutorial site for instructions on adding security to the upload.php script. Restrict to File Type (hard-coded): Here’s an easy upgrade to the above Flash File Uploader if you’d like to restrict uploads to specific file types (in this example, images and text files).After importing the FileReference Object:

import flash.net.FileReference;

Enter the following code to create a file type array:

var allTypes:Array = new Array();
var imageTypes:Object = new Object();
imageTypes.description = "Images (*.jpg, *.jpeg, *.gif, *.png)";
imageTypes.extension = "*.jpg; *.jpeg; *.gif; *.png";
allTypes.push(imageTypes);var textTypes:Object = new Object();
textTypes.description = "Text Files (*.txt, *.rtf)";
textTypes.extension = "*.txt;*.rtf";

Then, simply modify the browse method


to only use the new Array’s file types:


Restrict to File Type (dynamic): Now let’s make it a bit more interesting. Add the below variable to your SWFObject:

fo.addVariable("types", "image|text|audio|video");

Remove the hard-coded AllTypes array (above) and enter this instead:

if (_root.types != undefined) {
var typesArray = _root.types.split("|");
var allTypes:Array = new Array();
var len:Number = typesArray.length;
for (var i:Number = len; --i>=0; )
    switch (typesArray[i]) {
    case "image" :
        var imageTypes:Object = new Object();
        imageTypes.description = "Images (*.jpg, *.jpeg, *.gif, *.png)";
        imageTypes.extension = "*.jpg; *.jpeg; *.gif; *.png";
    case "text" :
        var textTypes:Object = new Object();
        textTypes.description = "Text Files (*.txt, *.rtf)";
        textTypes.extension = "*.txt;*.rtf";
    case "video" :
        var videoTypes:Object = new Object();
        videoTypes.description = "Video Files (*.avi, *.flv, *.mov, *.wmv)";
        videoTypes.extension = "*.avi;*.flv;*.mov;*.wmv";
     case "audio" :
        var audioTypes:Object = new Object();
        audioTypes.description = "Audio Files (*.aif, *.mp3, *.wav, *.wma)";
        audioTypes.extension = "*.aif;*.mp3;*.wav;*.wma";

Down by the browse statement, change the browse method to this:

browse.onRelease = function() {
    if (allTypes != undefined) {
    } else {

Republish your Flash file and experiment with changing the variable in your SWFObject to change the file type restrictions. Show only images:

fo.addVariable("types", "image");

Show only text files:

fo.addVariable("types", "text");

Show only video files:

fo.addVariable("types", "video");

Show only audio files:

fo.addVariable("types", "audio");

Show all:

fo.addVariable("types", "image|text|audio|video");

Pretty nifty, eh? For questions, feel free to submit a comment. Enjoy!

May 30, 2008 – Added script to Flash and PHP to stripslashes which in previous versions broke Javascript functions.
August 18, 2007 – Suppressed the “A script in this movie is causing Flash Player to run slowly” browser alert (Thanks to Matt Kull, Zeh and Pete).
June 17, 2007 – Mike updated the PHP files to enable caching of auto-generated thumbnails, preview mode (prior to upload) and fixed some security issues.
Download Flash Uploader v2.0 (ZIP) Includes: All the Flash and PHP project files with step-by-step instructions for installation on your site.
Download Flash Uploader v3.0 – Custom Dirs (RAR) Includes: All the Flash and PHP project files with step-by-step instructions for installation on your site.
Download Flash Uploader v3.1 – Details Bug Fix (RAR) Includes: Complete FLA, PHP and source files with options for Custom Dirs, File Name Rewrite.

Download Flash Uploader v3.2 – Allow All Filetypes (RAR) Includes: FLA, PHP and source with Custom Dirs, File Name Rewrite, int’l characters and “Allow All”.

Blur Effect

Blurry Cursor

I originally created this effect for the old ERA404 web site when we were using the “Not Found” themes, but the concept was deprecated when we updated our marketing strategy. Since I really loved the result, I was happy to see a need for this script arise again during the creation of the Who is Augustine? site, created for Jonathan Safran Foer and his first novel, Everything is Illuminated. You can see the effect employed if you click on Augustine’s glasses in the link that takes you into her house.

People have asked how this was created and its actually quite simple. Rather than explain it, I’ve provided a zip for you to download to see the simple code involved. If you have questions, feel free to post comments.

Click here to download the source.

Cursor Illusion

Cursor Illusion

This is a pretty basic example of custom cursors in Actionscript which, when coupled with a fake drop shadow and a background image that further provokes the illusion, makes a cool effect. Granted you don’t actually have to turn the arrow cursor backwards for the effect to be achieved, but us lefties like the occasional positive reinforcement.

Again, since this effect is so simple, I’ve decided to just attach a zip of the source so you can download it and figure it out on your own. If you have questions, feel free to post comments.

Download the source files here.
This zip contains all project files for the Flash Example “Cursor Illusion”.

Flash Meta-Preloader

Flash Multi-Preloader

When we were creating the Broadway Video site, the client asked for the entire site to load in one-fell-swoop, prior to the user clicking on each of the individual sections. Since the entire site’s content is culled from XML, I figured the preloader could be too.

Here’s an example of what I mean. And, as always, I’ve uploaded a zip file of the source, XML and Actionscript for you to look through. If you have questions, feel free to post comments.

Update: January 5, 2007 –
We’ve launched a revised version of the Broadway Video site which no longer uses this script.

Download Flash Meta-Preloader
This ZIP contains all the files necessary to create a Flash Meta-Preloader on your own site.