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Random thoughts on Flash Remoting:

This is where I get to ramble when I feel like it. Kind of like a blog, but it's not a blog. This is a blog. ;-).

98 posts.

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No documentation

Thursday, September 11, 2003 9:56:02 AM

One of the amazing things about this release of Flash is the documentation. . .or rather the lack of documentation. When you open the PDFs that are downloaded with the Flash Professional trial, you get this:

DataGrid component

For the latest information about this feature, click the Update button at the top of the Help tab.

DataHolder component

For the latest information about this feature, click the Update button at the top of the Help tab.

DataProvider component

For the latest information about this feature, click the Update button at the top of the Help tab.

DataSet component

For the latest information about this feature, click the Update button at the top of the Help tab.

Well, after clicking the Update button at the top of the Help tab, you get nothing either. I appreciate that Macromedia had their hands full with this Studio release and being shorthanded because of the economy, but it's amazing that the documentation is not included. This is the stuff that NEEDS the documentation--the new features.

Don't even get me started on the rather useless little Help panel. What is really needed is some simple browser-based help that is searchable, copy/paste friendly, and doesn't take up the programmer's workspace. Macromedia has an awesome section on their site for server help, at http://livedocs.macromedia.com/. This is part of the Allaire legacy. Let's hope that MM addresses the need for help resources in the future in their Studio line. The only program in Studio that has a decent help system is HomeSite+. The reference panel in Dreamweaver is even more useless than the Help panel in Flash.

Info on the new Studio MX 2004 can be found at Macromedia.

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Studio MX 2004 announced

Tuesday, September 09, 2003 6:30:38 PM

Studio MX 2004
has been announced, and there are significant upgrades to Flash, HomeSite+, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks. From a Flash Remoting perspective, not much has changed. Flash Remoting was, and continues to be, the best solution for building RIAs. Flash MX 2004 has many outstanding new features -- chief among them the adoption of ActionScript 2.0 -- but on the data side there is not much to write about. There are new data connector methods for SOAP and SQL Server (based on the Firefly components) but I'm not sure who is going to use these or who they are even intended for. The Flash Player 7 now supports SOAP natively, but it will only work with SOAP services based on your own server. For a ColdFusion developer, there is not much worth in this. You can build a CFC service that works with Flash Remoting and it will work as a SOAP-based web service as well. The problem is, a SOAP-based service is going to hog 4 times the bandwidth or more even though it's using the exact same code to generate the service. In many ways, any service that utilizes XML is going to suffer compared to the robust, compact AMF solution. Even a simple thing such as populating a user interface is going to be much faster with Remoting. Much of the world is still on dialup accounts, so the advantages of using Flash as a front-end to an application are lost if you start passing huge SOAP packets back and forth. I think that the support for SOAP was added so that MM could say "we support SOAP". If Remoting didn't exist, the SOAP support would serve a purpose. With Remoting in place, SOAP support is redundant and unnecessary.

Of course, this is just my opinion, but I think it is shared by a lot of people. The next year is going to be interesting. MM has invested a lot of time in Remoting, and it is clearly the way of the future for web applications.

Community MX has a few articles about the new Flash 2004 features.

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Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide coming out soon

Tuesday, August 19, 2003 1:41:57 PM

I've been getting a lot of emails asking when the book will be out. It is currently in production and will be out very soon.Amazon is currently offering 30% off the title with free shipping. They have the book erroneously listed as 400 pages. It is over 600 pages and has contributions by Branden Hall, Alon J. Salant, and Joel Martinez. More information can be found here: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/flashmxtdg/

I'll be posting the table of contents and online examples soon.

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ColdFusion 6.1 Upgrade

Tuesday, August 05, 2003 10:08:56 AM

The Red Sky upgrade is finally here. This is the one we've been waiting for. I did an article on some of the new features here: http://www.communitymx.com/content/article.cfm?cid=A690E0CF3D96CB0F

Find out more details about the upgrade at Macromedia: http://www.macromedia.com/go/coldfusion

There have not been a lot of changes that affect Flash Remoting directly, but the general speed and stability of the server has been GREATLY improved. One change of note is the new super keyword for CFCs. This should make a lot of folks happy.

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Flash Remoting tester for Dreamweaver MX

Friday, July 11, 2003 10:21:40 AM

Branden Hall created the CMX Remoting Tester for Flash MX that has been a very popular download at Community MX. Using the Remoting Tester, you can test your remote service methods from within the Flash MX interface. I've ported the panel to work with Dreamweaver MX so now you can test CFC's and other Flash Remoting methods within Dreamweaver as well. The download is free and is available from http://www.communitymx.com/abstract.cfm?cid=A7EB3C45962FD5CA

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