Author Info Captivated

I've been using Burak's Actionscript Viewer recently to correct problems with incorrectly formed flash files. Just opening them and saving them with a new file name automatically corrects most errors. I know Burak has spent a lot of time making sure that ASV can read anything that the Flash player can.[1]

However, I've been working with some Macromedia Captivate files recently and ran into some parsing errors and while ASV handled them fine, I decided to look into the errors because these are files from the horse's mouth. It turned up some interesting discoveries. Interesting in a Slashdot kind of way, of course, rather than being anything that would be interesting to your Aunt Margaret.

First off, Capivate files have a four tag header, tags, 999,998,997,966. Actual documented tags only go up to about 66 and the Flash player probably ignores these extra ones. Turns out these tags contain some strings, potentially with identifying information, mine look like this

999 - "Robodemo5.0."
998 - "5."
997 - "C:\Documents And Settings\Name or User Name Here\My Documents\My Captivate Projects\test.swf."
996 - "C:\Documents And Settings\mnirell\My Documents\My Captivate Projects\Samples\Captivate Samples.cp."

So tag 997 clearly has the ability to identify the author - you'll want to think twice about using a Captivate presentation to anonymously blow the whistle about reckless corporate misgovernance.

More interesting to me though are the extra actionscript tags - a parse turns up undocumented actionscript tags, 108(0x6C), 109(0x6D), 110(0x6E), 111(0x6F) and 116(0x74). These are in the same area as one of the new AS codes that Macromedia added with Flash 7, namely Extends - 105(0x69).

They might just be internal hack, or codes that are shorthand for longer sequences of AS, or they might be entirely new functionality.

[1] The flash player is very forgiving which makes it a lot of work to handle all the different formats that it handles. Also, it would make it very difficult to write a new player. A new player might handle all the correctly formatted files, but would be laborious to try to handle all the incorrectly formatted files as well.

Posted by Alexander at April 13, 2005 10:53 AM

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