Macromedia Flash MX Components

The installation process installs three new features in your Macromedia Flash MX authoring environment. If you don't have Flash MX installed or you are running Flash MX on Mac OS, you will have to manually set up these new components if you are using the Trial edition. Macromedia does not provide a downloadable installer to install the components in Mac OS. Each section that follows includes steps to install these components manually. The Flash Communication distribution CD contains a Windows and Mac OS installer to install the authoring components in Flash MX.

Macromedia Flash Communication UI Components

The Macromedia Flash Communication UI components are a collection of special prebuilt Flash movies you can use to quickly build communication applications (see Figure 1.1). When they are installed, the UI components can be found by accessing Window, Components (or pressing Ctrl+F7) in the Flash MX authoring environment. Macromedia may update these components and add additional components. After installation, visit the www.Macromedia.com/go/flashcom/ web site to download the updates. They are great for building applications and serve as a foundation for learning the technology. You will get very familiar with them in the steps to follow.

Figure 1.1. The Flash Communication UI components.

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Communication UI Components: Manual Install Option

If Flash MX is not installed on the computer, or you want to install the UI components to other computers (including Mac OS) running Flash MX, follow these steps to install them:

  1. Close the Flash MX authoring environment.

  2. Locate the file Communication Components.fla on your CD or download it from http://www.Macromedia.com/go/flashcomm/.

  3. Mac and PC users place the FLA file inside the folder [%Flash MX Install Path%]\First Run\Components\.

  4. Open Flash MX. It now appears in the Windows menu.

Communication App Inspector

The Communication App Inspector lets you monitor your application on the server (see Figure 1.2). It can connect to any Communication Server provided you have the proper security access. You will find this tool by clicking Window, Communication Application Inspector in the Flash MX authoring environment. This great tool allows you to monitor live logs (server Trace output), streams, SharedObjects, and general application statistics. It is an invaluable resource for developing your application and monitoring who is connected. We will get more into this feature in Chapter 5, "STEP 5: Monitoring and Managing the Server."

Figure 1.2. The Communication App Inspector.

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The Communication App Inspector can be installed on any computer with Flash MX installed. Simply run the installer, select the Custom Install option, and uncheck the Server Install. The trial edition does not support a Mac OS installer. Refer to the book's web site for Mac OS manual install instructions. If you have a licensed copy of Communication Server, use the distribution CD to install the authoring components on Mac OS.

NetConnection Debugger

The NetConnection Debugger is another great tool to help monitor and debug your communication applications (see Figure 1.3). This unique debugger allows you to watch communication between the Flash player and the server. You will find the new Debugger by clicking Window, NetConnection Debugger in the Flash MX authoring environment. The NetConnection Debugger is not only used with Communication Server, but also Flash Remoting MX applications where the player is connected to J2EE or .NET application servers that are supported by Flash Remoting MX, such as Macromedia ColdFusion, JRUN 4, or ASP.NET. We'll get more into Flash Remoting MX in Chapter 13, "Accessing External Data."

Figure 1.3. The Flash MX NetConnection Debugger displaying some sample debug data.

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The NetConnection Debugger can be installed on any computer with Flash MX installed. Simply run the installer, select the Custom Install option, and uncheck the Server Install. The trial edition does not support a Mac OS installer. Refer to the book's web site for Mac OS manual install instructions. If you have a licensed copy of Communication Server, use the distribution CD to install the authoring components on Mac OS.



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