SSAS files have an .asr file extension and reside within a ColdFusion or JRun 4 web directory. The .asr files can be viewed in any web browser as plain text files unless you take precautions, such as adding the .asr file extension to the list of excluded file types in your web server.
An SSAS file consists entirely of functions, which become the methods of the remote service that you call with Flash Remoting. You cannot call or execute an SSAS file on its own or through any mechanism other than Flash Remoting. For that reason, SSAS files have these limitations:
SSAS files cannot execute inline code, such as variable declarations or other inline statements, except when calling methods. When you call a remote method, all inline code on the page is executed as well.
SSAS files cannot include other files, which precludes you from using SSAS to develop server-side classes that reside in separate files.
SSAS is stripped to the bare essentials of the ActionScript 1.0 language (the version supported in Flash MX), but it has some added features that may surprise a few ActionScript developers:
Full use of regular expressions (the RegExp object)
The full use of eval( ), which is only partially supported in client-side ActionScript
Ability to access Java classes from within SSAS
Using SSAS, you can build server-side objects and methods much like you would build client-side objects and methods. For ActionScript developers that have access to a ColdFusion MX Server, however, the real strength of SSAS is in the new CF object that is specifically designed for Flash Remoting. The CF object has two methods:
Adds the ability to access ColdFusion data sources with SSAS
Adds the functionality of the ColdFusion <cfhttp> tag to the SSAS developer's arsenal
These two methods will be the focus of much of this chapter.