Our latest switcher, Don Lyttle, actually switched several months ago but took his time and put SWF Studio through the grinder before telling us what he thought. If you're feeling trapped by the swf2exe tool you've been using, this is going to be a real eye-opener!

Name: Don Lyttle
Company: D and S Concepts, LLC
Title: President & Owner
Industry Experience: 38 years
Designer or Developer: Developer
Flash or Flex: Flash
ActionScript 1/2/3: 2 & 3
Mac or Windows: Windows
Google or Bing!: Google
Autobots or Decepticons: N/A

Northcode: We know that you're coming to us from another swf2exe tool, can you tell us which one and how long you've been using it?

Don: I've been using MDM Zinc ever since it was Flash Studio Pro (circa early 2000's).

Northcode: Why the switch and how did you discover SWF Studio?

Don: I was growing increasingly frustrated with the inconsistencies, performance issues, and just flat out bugs present in the MDM Zinc software. Besides the software issues, MDM's responsiveness to reported problems was abysmal! Reporting problems seemed to be an exercise in futility. If Peter (the only resource I found at MDM who seemed to appreciate the concept of "customer satisfaction") couldn't offer a 'workaround', you were screwed. Updates to their software never seemed to include the fixes that the majority of users were waiting for. Plus, information as to the status of bug fixes was essentially non-existent. Communication was, for the most part, a "no show"!

As for discovering SWF Studio, I had seen a growing number of posts on the Zinc user's forum where people were suggesting SWF Studio as a viable alternative. I knew of SWF Studio's existence, but was under the impression that it was a "bit player" in the Flash desktop application market. When my frustration with MDM Zinc finally boiled over, I decided to look in earnest at Northcode's web site and get a more accurate assessment of SWF Studio's functionality and potential to be an answer to my development needs. WOW! What a nice surprise I got!

Northcode: What was it that finally enticed you to try SWF Studio?

Don: As I mentioned above, my frustration level with MDM Zinc finally boiled over. The actual "final straw" was finding out that MDM had made (yet) another change in one of their many revisions that introduced a new problem with loading XML data from remote files that I'd never had before. Since many of my projects are centered around the usage of XML files and databases, I couldn't possibly live with this ... particularly because the problem manifested in extended loading times (more than 5X what it used to be) for XML data files. Since many of the XML files I deal with are greater than 10 MB in size, this was a serious and unacceptable issue. Upon reading in the forums that the problem had existed for some time now and had been reported with no apparent action taken in some number of months, I decided enough was enough! And worse yet, rather than fix the things that needed to be fixed with Version 2.5 of the MDM Zinc software, MDM pulled the plug on support and forced folks to buy Version 3. I did, but quickly found out that most of the same problems (bugs, platform inconsistencies, etc. etc. etc.) were still there. Besides having compatibility with AS3, the rest was only smoke, mirrors and window dressing.

I went through the SWF Studio documentation with a fine toothcomb to make sure that the support it would give me would be adequate and that the command structure would be comprehensive enough in terms of functionality to give me all I needed. I also spent some number of hours reading the SWF Studio user forums to see if there was any dissatisfaction being voiced as there was in the Zinc forum. And last, but not least, I looked to see how responsive and timely Northcode was in answering forum questions. The results of all this effort gave me a very reassuring feeling that switching to SWF Studio was plenty worth a try. I was REALLY IMPRESSED with Northcode's dedication to finding an answer (and taking the time and effort to explain it too!) to everyone's questions.

When I found out (on the blog of a former Zinc user, Gareth Jones) that I could get a $75 discount for switching it was really became a no-brainer at that point :)

After some number of months of usage now, I'm here to say that it was one of the best software procurement decisions I've ever made!!!

Northcode: And now that you've tried it, is there anything you'd like to tell users of other swf2exe tools about Northcode or SWF Studio?

Don: SWF Studio WORKS!!! Not just some of the time, or in some configurations, platforms or conditions ... SWF STUDIO WORKS ALLTHE TIME, EVERYTIME!!! The folks at Northcode go out of their way to prove to their customers that "they give a damn". Tim Goss and Joey Gunn put a personal touch on everything and make you feel like you're valued as a customer and not just another "number". Northcode "walks the talk" and continuously demonstrates that they understand the value of outstanding communication.

Northcode: We're always interested in hearing about things that people have created with SWF Studio. Can you tell us what you're using SWF Studio for now or what you're planning to do with it?

Don: The first project I built with SWF Studio was an interactive energy consumption calculator for a client in the refrigerated display case business (the display cases you see in grocery stores holding the meat, produce, dairy, beverage, frozen foods, etc.). The application has turned out to be a "home run"! It has become an invaluable resource for the company's salespeople and they effectively employ it as a true competitive advantage to win sales. It has opened up a whole world of opportunities for follow-on applications.

Northcode: What's your favorite SWF Studio feature?

Don: File management, FTP access, and printer control for starters. With SWF Studio I can call methods, get or set properties and, the best part, I can get meaningful error messaging from the callback functions that allow me the ultimate in programmatically handling every possible event or outcome. It makes my applications look "bullet proof" to my customers ... AWESOME!!!

Northcode: Any last words of wisdom regarding your experience to date with Northcode and SWF Studio?

Don: I was VERY impressed with my initial communication with Tim Goss, but made even more so with Joey Gunn. He kept my name in his "tickler file" and periodically sent me emails to see how I was making out. In a world where everyone is trying to establish "B2B" relationships, Northcode and its folks are driving it instead more toward "P2P" ("People-to-People"). Joey even sent me a picture of the landscape (the Rideau Canal) he sees on his drive in to work in the morning ... how much more "real" can you get??? This kind of mindset makes these folks the kind of people who I can count on to keep my best interests and needs squarely in the center of their focus. They "get it" ... and I can only prosper from such a relationship.

Northcode: Welcome aboard Don!