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Flash capabilities:some insight needed

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Chris Van Horn
Flash capabilities:some insight needed
on Mar 21, 2009 at 1:59:56 pm

Hello again! These types of forums are great, most fun I've had in ages. I have a few questions that I am hoping some seasoned people in the Adobe Flash work can shed some light on.

I'm not really a newbie at Flash, but by no means good at it. I know enought to make me dangerous :)

A good example of some of the questions I pose can be looked at like this; You've been working on a home project for hours. You're pulling your hair out and suddenly your 5 year old wanders into the room and say's " why don't you just do it like this, dad"? Suddenly you are floored by the simplicity of the solution because it came from someone that knows nothing about the complexity and sees the problem through the eyes of a child.

That's me and how I approch problems/opportunities :)

So now some questions...
I'm intensly curious about Adobe Flash Lite and the capabilities of it. Many ideas of applications.

Adobe Flash Lite and even Flash has limitations. I know I can do the application in JS or VB. Why can't I create a flash application that is a layered application?

Meaning I use the Flash part as my I/O and visual layer on the PC or Phone, but the meat and muscle behind it is run on the server?

Would solve several problems:
1.) cut the size of the app down
2.) use the processor power of the server to do the application processing and just display the information via the Flash (hence the name Input/Output Visual layer of the app).

Is this even possiable to have a flash app take data from the user and call a script hosted on the server to do the heavy lifting, then display the output visually on my flash application?

Thanks for all the replies, I'm sure I'll get many points of view on this layering theory (is this already how these things work?).

Looking forward to it!

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Pieter Helsen
Re: Flash capabilities:some insight needed
on Mar 21, 2009 at 9:29:19 pm

Well, since Flash cannot connect to any kind of database, the way it usually works is that flash communicates to the database via a serverside script like PHP or ASP. Actionscript can also communicate with JS via the ExternalInterface class. However, JS, like Actionscript, is client-sided, not server-sided.

So it is possible to take a piece of data from the user, send it to a serverside script and then send the result back to Flash to be displayed. In fact, there's several ways of doing so. One is webservices like AMFPHP and Fluorine for PHP and .NET respectively, the other is URLLoader (in AS3, which is not supported by Flash Lite, so I'm strictly talking regular Flash), which can (optionally) send parameters to a server and then receive a response formatted either as XML or a string of variables.

AS2 has a different method for doing this, called LoadVariables, and that's probably the one you'll want to look into if you're gonna use this for Flash Lite.

However, know that there's gonna be an inevidable delay on the connection to the server and the response you get, so I would really consider trying to do most of the calculations clientside. As long as you use proper code and don't inadvertantly create a memory leak, you should be fine.

Kind regards,

General notice: from now on, I would like to ask everyone to put [AS2] or [AS3] (corresponding to the version of actionscript you are using on your project) in front of their post titles when the question is actionscript related! Please help us help you faster. Thank you.

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Chris Van Horn
Re: Flash capabilities:some insight needed
on Mar 21, 2009 at 11:22:42 pm

Thank you, Pieter. As always, great feedback.

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Graham Quince
Re: Flash capabilities:some insight needed
on Mar 22, 2009 at 8:59:34 am

It does depend on your calculations of course, but I've never found flash slow on just number crunching, any delays I've experienced have always been connected to the either graphical elements or as Peter said, loading external data.

Graham - Free FX for amateur films

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