HELP! I need to update a site that is outdated.
May 14, 2008 10:25 AM   Subscribe

I need a web page design program that will work with pages that were originally done in Adobe Page Mill, and have .swf files from around 2003 or so.

I'm temping for a very nice firm who are trying to keep me busy even though they've already filled the position that I was pulled in to fill while they were looking. They need an update to their website. Badly. It hasn't been touched in years, and there are silly noises, probably javascript, as well as .swf files that need updating. My days of coding are from back in the hand coding days of static web pages, although I did do QA after people started adding interactive things to websites.

I searched through the old answers, but they were old enough for me to think that there may be something better out there. As I'm temping, I doubt that they're going to want to buy a big expensive program, so something that has a trial period, or is cheap to buy, but has elements that will perform these services will be the most helpful.

ANY help appreciated. Some of their information is about people who haven't worked here in some 5 years or more. It ~really~ needs an update.
posted by Meep! Eek! to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why don't you just pull down a copy of the Web site in question to your local computer, then open up the files in a text editor? Updating the site by hand is probably going to be your best bet. At worst, if you decide you can't decipher the HTML sufficiently to make any progress without a WYSIWYG Web editor, you haven't lost anything.

Although you could do what you need to in Notepad.exe (the text editor that ships with Windows), I think you're better off downloading a better program. UltraEdit is an excellent editor that is free to try for 45 days - long enough, in all probability, for you to finish updating the site.
posted by killdevil at 10:55 AM on May 14, 2008

Killdevil: Why don't you just pull down a copy of the Web site in question to your local computer, then open up the files in a text editor? Updating the site by hand is probably going to be your best bet. At worst, if you decide you can't decipher the HTML sufficiently to make any progress without a WYSIWYG Web editor, you haven't lost anything."

I can do that for the text stuff, but the shockwave files aren't going to be able to be taken care of with a text editor are they? She had programmed ridiculous little noises in for when people opened new menus, or closed them, or opened a different page, and the menus themselves are done in Javascript, I believe. I haven't worked with shockwave or javascript at all, so I have no ~clue~ whether or not I can handcraft with them.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 11:13 AM on May 14, 2008

The best solution is going to be determined by what files and formats you're currently looking at. Do they still have a folder full of the original source files the site was built from? Are we talking mostly HTML with some random scripts and flash thrown in or is the stuff that needs updating contained within those interactive elements?

If it's the former I would think any HTML editor or as killdevil mentioned even Notepad would get you to where you need to be.

If the source is contained inside the swf files you're going to have a more difficult time. Perhaps download a trial copy of flash (although I was thinking swf files were not edittable and you really needed an .fla file to be able to edit it? I could be wrong, been years since I fooled with it).
posted by genial at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2008

menus themselves are done in Javascript

The javascript should still have all the text contained in there to be edited with a text editor (albeit difficult to parse most likely, you'll be spending some time doing all this by hand I imagine). Look specifically through all the embedded stuff in the of the files and you should find what needs to be changed. Doesn't help you if the problem lies with images or flash but it's a start.
posted by genial at 11:18 AM on May 14, 2008

Flash has a free trial but it doesn't reverse engineer swfs, you need the original fla files. There are programs that will reverse engineer the swf but most have very limited free trials (ie. not enough to actually do anything more than verify the software works)

If the swfs aren't doing anything mission critical (ie. just playing stupid sounds) why not just get rid of them completely?

Theres really nothing better than a text editor for javascript (maybe a text editor with code-hints and syntax highlighting)
posted by missmagenta at 11:19 AM on May 14, 2008

Not a direct answer to your question, but a response to killdevil's answer...

If you're looking to modify the .swf files, you'll need something other than a text editor. SWF files are Adobe Flash files, and are a vector-based graphics/animation format. SWF files are compiled and cannot be directly edited. You can, however decompile to the FLA file format and then make changes to the FLA file and recompile to SWF for distribution. One SWF decompiler can be found here:

Adobe offers free trial downloads of their products, and those can be found here:

I don't know if there are limitations, watermarks, or disabled functionality in the demo... but it's a place to start.

Good luck.

On preview, a lot of what missmagenta said.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 11:22 AM on May 14, 2008

Thank you all ~so~ much. At least I can fight my way through it now. I was worried about the .swf files, and now I know why.

At least he doesn't want huge changes, just updates. Otherwise I'd suggest he scrap and start from scratch for the most part.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 11:29 AM on May 14, 2008

I have a license for Flash Decompiler Trillix, the program ElDiabolConQueso linked to. It isn't cheap, but it does work quite well -- though it takes a while to get used to it. I like it a lot.

Before you do a "conversion" (a decompile to create an FLA file) go into the "Conversion Options General" settings and set "Place Shapes into Library" and "Join mask layers". Then go into the "Text" settings and set "Place Texts into Library".

Unfortunately, it doesn't remember that from session to session, so you have to do that every time you run Trillix.

A different point: I had a lot of trouble getting the registration to take. (It said I was registered, but it still didn't work.) I eventually hit their tech support. This is what they sent me; it may be useful to you:
The reason for the problem you have described is that users don't enter the registration info correctly. Although you receive the message about the correct registration, it still can stay in Demo mode. It's the peculiarity of our protection system.

Please enter your registration info again and pay special attention to several important points:

1. Make sure that there are no excessive spaces before/after your registration name/code when entering them into the corresponding fields. Those might have been introduced by the mail client you use.

2. There should only be letters, digits and dashes in your code. We recommend to execute Copy and Paste operations when entering your registration info.

3. It often happens that e-mail client breaks the string into 2 rows or introduces excessive gaps. Please make sure that the registration code you enter is a single string of letters, digits and dashes.

We can also recommend to copy the code to WORD doc: to shrink the text so that the whole code fits on one line making sure that all spaces are eliminated.
Once I entered the registration information again, it worked fine.
posted by Class Goat at 1:32 PM on May 14, 2008

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