1.4 Flash Remoting Requirements

To develop Flash applications that use Flash Remoting, you must have:

  • Macromedia Flash MX or later

  • The Macromedia Flash Remoting components

  • A server that has the Flash Remoting gateway or the equivalent (such as AMFPHP, FLAP, or OpenAMF)

1.4.1 Macromedia Flash Authoring Tool

The Flash authoring environment is used to create Flash files (.fla and .swf files) and applications. Flash MX was a substantial upgrade to previous versions of Flash. In addition to cosmetic interface changes, the way in which Flash applications are developed has changed. Flash MX or later is required to develop Flash Remoting applications. A fully functional trial version is available from Macromedia at:

http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/download/

You can find more information on Flash at:

http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/

As of Flash MX, Macromedia abandoned a consistent version-numbering scheme for the authoring tool, but the Flash Player is still assigned a numeric version. Flash Remoting requires that you publish your .swf files in Flash 6 format or later.

Director MX, a separate multimedia authoring tool sold by Macromedia, can access Flash Remoting using the Flash MX Asset Xtra (which is basically an embedded version of Flash Player 6). For simplicity, this book assumes you are running Flash in a browser or a standalone Projector.

1.4.2 Macromedia Flash Remoting Components

Flash MX does not come with the Flash Remoting components preinstalled. The Flash Remoting components add support for Flash Remoting to the Flash authoring environment and are required to create Flash files that take advantage of Flash Remoting. If you're using Director MX as the front end, you'll need the Flash MX Asset Xtra, which is compatible with Director MX or Shockwave 8.5.1 or later. The Flash MX Asset Xtra includes Flash Remoting support.

The Flash Remoting components are included with the Flash Remoting gateway and can be found on the Studio MX CD-ROM or downloaded for free from the Macromedia web site. If you're using versions from the Studio MX CD-ROM, make sure you get the latest updates from the Macromedia site as well. The components and other information about Flash Remoting can be found at:

http://www.macromedia.com/go/flashremoting

The components make the following items available from within the Flash MX authoring environment:

  • ActionScript code and classes necessary for Flash Remoting, including NetServices.as, RecordSet.as, DataGlue.as, and NetDebugger.as

  • The Remote Service Browser, for examining remote services

  • The NetConnection Debugger panel, for debugging Flash Remoting applications

  • Flash MX ActionScript editor enhancements for Flash Remoting, and Reference panel documentation

All of these items are discussed in detail in this book, beginning in Chapter 2.

1.4.3 Macromedia Flash Remoting Gateway

The Flash Remoting gateway must be installed on the remote server to allow it to communicate with the Flash movie via Flash Remoting. If you are using an application server that comes with Flash Remoting preinstalled, such as ColdFusion MX or JRun 4, then this step is already taken care of.

Earlier versions of ColdFusion and JRun do not support Flash Remoting.

The Flash Remoting gateway is also sold separately for other application servers, including J2EE servers and Microsoft .NET, and must be installed and configured before it can be used. The trial version of the Flash Remoting gateway for J2EE and ASP.NET can also be downloaded from the Macromedia web site cited earlier.

There are several open source implementations of the Flash Remoting gateway, apart from the versions supported by Macromedia.

The AMFPHP project, discussed in Chapter 9, implements Flash Remoting for PHP application servers:

http://www.amfphp.org

The FLAP project implements Flash Remoting for Perl:

http://www.simonf.com/flap

The OpenAMF project is an open source alternative to Macromedia's Flash Remoting gateway for Java:

http://www.openamf.org


    Part III: Advanced Flash Remoting
     
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