.: TK Flash Charset Optimiser :.

TK Flash Charset Optimiser tool was built to help solve the challenge to optimise Flash files when creating with support of multiple languages. Even Flash offers to select only certain character sets, it is still many cases overkill. For many languages one could embed less than 100 characters (or glyphs to be more correct) and to include 300-500 glyphs just to support few special characters in desired language just adds overhead to file size.

TK Flash Charset Optimiser tool enables to list only the characters one would need for supporting the text s/he predicts to have in Flash and to find optimal embedding solution. Either by selecting only actually needed sets and adding manually the extra characters or adding custom character set in XML format suitable to be added to Flash's uncicode table file: UnicodeTable.xml file.

The tool was created first to ease own work and hopefully it is helpful for others as well.

Using the tool

  1. Enter characters of text to the TK Flash Charset Optimiser tool
  2. Click on "analyse »»" -button
  3. Depending of your needs, either ...
    1. ... see the results which default character sets are needed to be included and/or which are extra characters to be entered manually OR
    2. ... copy the XML code to UnicodeTable.xml file (NOTE: at your own risk). See below for more details of editing Flash's UnicodeTable.xml file.

TK Flash Charset Optimiser tool

Letters used (in best knowledge) in:
Characters - reset   Flash charset XML - reset
counter: n/a Glyphs: n/a in n/a sets

Result

Flash's Character setCountsMatching characters
Please insert first charaters and click on "analyse »»" -button

Some background info of this tool

After long struggle to define what default sets to include to get optimised Flash files and same time support maximum number of languages (less need to create variations of Flash file for different geographical areas). So idea started to evolve to have a tool which could list all characters in languages what is needed, as many cases there is quite little variation, just couple of extra characters, compared to English, which is often the baseline language.

When searching what exists in internet I found Renzo's Flash unicode table generator which approaches mainly same need. This one is based on uploading the text file and then returning the ready made XML from the server. It doesn't give option to see what existing character sets could serve the need and assumes one includes all punctuations etc to the input text. Also doing the calculations in server side seems too heavy so thought came to try to make all this analysis and calculations in client side by using JavaScript.

Tool overview

TK Flash Charset Optimiser tool takes characters added to input area and goes one-by-one through all Flash's character sets in scope and lists all recognised characters in result table. In result table is indicated all recognised characters to all character sets they appear and total count of recognised characters per set. Color coding is added to visualise the ratio of characters matching the total set of characters.

Additionally tool generates custom character set in XML format suitable to be added to Flash's uncicode table file: UnicodeTable.xml. XML code can be copied from Flash charset XML -area and embedded to end of Flash's unicode table file. This enables to use the custom character set in future directly from Flash.

Tool limitations

Tool is using a copy of UnicodeTable.xml file which is installed to the system during Flash installation. From there is removed hieroglyph, RTL languages character sets, as well "All" set. This enabled to reduce the file from around 800kb to around 5kb and so speeding up the tool.

Currently in IE6 the Result table is not populated with results, only XML output is provided. (Maybe it is time to upgrade your browser? :o) like FireFox ).

Editing Flash's UnicodeTable.xml file

NOTE: Following is for your information only and any edits etc are at your own risk.

Character sets shown in Flash font embedding options are retrieved from UnicodeTable.xml file which is installed to the computer during Flash installation. This file lists in XML format the sets and which characters (=glyphs) each set covers.

The file location may vary depending on the system. Some known places are:

You need to check out where exactly is the file your Flash is using. Before editing the file it is strongly advisable to to create backup copy before any modifications. Pleae note that Flash should be restarted before the changes will be available in Flash.

It would be probably easiest to edit the XML file in plain text exditor (My favorite is EditPad; light, quick, endless features, including very good support of unicode characters and various fonts)

For more detailed information of editing UnicodeTable.xml file see Adobe Flash documentation: Creating custom character sets.

Extra resources