I’ve been quite impressed by the announced features for Flash CS5, with the ability to write apps for iPhone being the one that has gotten the Flash community most excited.

One upcoming feature that seems to have been overlooked by most people that I’m particularly looking forward to however is the new XML based FLA format. Anyone who uses source control will know what a pain it is trying to merge FLA files back to the trunk from a branch. You’ve basically got two options.

  1. Open the two FLAs and attempt to manually copy the new changes from the branched version back onto the trunk. 
  2. Simply copy the branched version over the trunk version and hope that you don’t inadvertently destroy someone else’s changes that have already made it onto the trunk.

With FLA files now being saved out as XML we no longer need to worry about this, instead letting a merge tool do the work for us. The other added bonus is that this should theoretically allow multiple developers to concurrently edit the same FLA.

XML based FLA files open up a host of other interesting opportunities. For the first time you’ll be able to write code to dynamically create FLA files, or simply parse an existing XML FLA file before making changes to it. It’s all good stuff.