Detect ver. 4 vs. ver. 3

Posted on 2000-03-22
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I'm confused about serving swf's to browsers, and Macromedia doesn't provide much useful info. Specifically, I'd like to publish my movies as ver.4 but I understand that ver. 3 players are still more common than ver. 4. Therefore, I wonder what my options are. I suppose the easiest is to set it up to sniff browers for ver. 4 players, but I'm not at all sure what happens if you have a ver. 2 or 3 player installed. Can you update to ver. 4 quickly and painlessly? The only url that I've looked at from Macromedia instructs browsers to download, decompress, quit the browser, and run the exe., which is ridiculous as far as I'm concerned. If updating to ver. 4 is a minor inconvenience I'll require it of ver. 3 browsers; otherwise I'll have to set up alternative means to serve up a ver. 3 movie. So, can anyone tell me what happens if you hit a ver. 4 movie with a ver. 3 player? Or point me to info? Thanks.
Question by:Tournefort

Expert Comment

ID: 2647540
im almost positive the update is automated like when you first download flash.. i use flash 4 and i go to sites with flash 2 and 3 being used.. i play them just fine

but im not sure about vicea versa..


Expert Comment

ID: 2647843
Flash 2 and 3 lack some capability as opposed to 4 (as with any other program's versions) but Flash has a knack for updating itself in most browsers. However, it's always safe to note that your site runs in SWF version 4.

Expert Comment

ID: 2668916
Okay, how about getting a page to detect the version of flash yuor user has..

If the user has flash 4, let them in, if not either send them to a text only version of the site or open a new window with this page:

Version 4 is only about 240k and will take no time at all to download.

Here is the code I used to detect flash version in


var plugin = (navigator.mimeTypes && navigator.mimeTypes["application/x-shockwave-flash"] ?
      navigator.mimeTypes["application/x-shockwave-flash"].enabledPlugin : 0);
if (plugin && parseInt(plugin.description.substring(plugin.description.indexOf(".")-1)) >= 4) {

if (navigator.userAgent && navigator.userAgent.indexOf("MSIE")>=0
   && (navigator.userAgent.indexOf("Windows")>=0 && navigator.userAgent.indexOf("3.1")<0)) {
document.write('\<SCRIPT LANGUAGE=VBScript\> \n');
        document.write('on error resume next ');
document.write('If IsObject(CreateObject("ShockwaveFlash.ShockwaveFlash.3")) Then ');
document.write('flashver = 3 ');
document.write('End If ');
document.write('If IsObject(CreateObject("ShockwaveFlash.ShockwaveFlash.4")) Then ');
document.write('flashver = 4 ');
document.write('End If ');
        document.write('\<\/SCRIPT\> ');

if (flashver > 2)
{document.write('&lt Flash Version ');
document.write(' detected &gt')};

if (flashver > 3)


This script was not written by myself... I simply altered it.

Accepted Solution

68k earned 100 total points
ID: 2702695
hello -

autoinstall of the flash 4 player only happens in internet explorer, windows. all else (netscape mac/pc, ie mac) uses plugins and therefore must download the installer. unfortunately, it isn't as seamless, and is a fact of life if the user does not have the flash 4 player preinstalled.

fyi - over 90% of people can already see flash content, and more than half of all web users can see flash 4 content, according to recent macromedia figures.

if you're looking for foolproof ways to detect flash player version, there are many different approaches. i'll give you a few where they will make autodetection instead of telling the user anything. you can of course develop your own technique.

1. use the standard javascript detection - this is easy - just use the publish settings > html > flash 4 with image template. this will make a javascript detection scheme that will send only flash 4 users to your content, all others get an alternate image. works great on everything except ie/mac - browser issue.

2. create a flash "sniffer" that uses a tricky technique involving flash and an html "meta refresh" tag to assure that only flash 4 users see your site - all others get redirected. pros - works on all browsers. cons - trickier to implement, but very doable. the tutorial is here:

3. another approach is using flash to detect specific flash player version. in your flash 4 folder, under "sample pages", there is a folder and sample called "detect". this is two flash movies that can be used together to seperate flash 4users from all flash users, and direct them accordingly.

4. great tutorial and help sites abound - colin moock has lots of ways to approach detection as well:


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