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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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New products for Flash and Flash Remoting. . .and MMs pricing strategy

Tuesday, April 22, 2003 12:32:39 PM

Macromedia released the Data Connection Kit today (http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/proom/pr/2003/data_connection.html). This looks really impressive and should be a nice addition to the Flash Remoting arsenal. The price is $299, which seems reasonable for what you are getting. More info at http://www.macromedia.com/go/dck

The DRK 3 is being released today as well. I haven't seen this yet, but it looks like the best DRK yet -- especially for Flash and CF developers. More info at http://www.macromedia.com/go/drk

Here is my problem with the pricing structure that MM has in place: Flash Remoting is available for ColdFusion as a freebie. If you have CF MX, you have Flash Remoting. This is great for CF developers. Many organizations are running the Pro version server, which can be had for about $800. The end result of this infiltration is that many people are beginning to develop Flash Remoting applications on ColdFusion servers, whereas if they had to purchase another server component, they would not be likely to dive into the technology.

The same cannot be said for Java or ASP.NET versions of the servers. Priced at $1000, it is more money than most developers can afford to spend, and more money than hosts are willing to put into a server if noone needs it or asks for it. It's a vicious circle. A developer is not going to build a Flash Remoting app if they can't find a host for it. You can get Windows 2003 Server fully set up for ASP.NET for less money than it costs to install the Flash Remoting DLL that fits on a floppy disk.

For Flash Remoting to succeed, MM should be making it a point to get Flash Remoting onto every ASP.NET and Java server that they can. This means lowering the price. When Flash Remoting first came out I was dumbfounded at the announced price. I can see that MM needs to make money, but if Flash Remoting becomes successful, they can sell thousands or tens of thousands of components, DRKs, and other add-ons, rather than trying to make the money in the server product. I think $99 is a good price for a server component like the Flash Remoting DLL. I don't think they'd sell 10 times more -- I think they'd sell many times that.

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Community MX site is live

Thursday, April 10, 2003 10:48:00 PM

A new site specifically geared towards Macromedia MX development has been launched -- Community MX. The site is created and maintained by 30 experts in the web development field. There is content for Flash MX, Dreamweaver MX, ColdFusion MX, Fireworks MX, and more. I have joined this venture as well, and I have to say that it looks like this will be an excellent resource for Studio MX development. Check out the free trial: http://www.communitymx.com

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New updater for ColdFusion MX and Flash Remoting

Thursday, March 20, 2003 2:16:32 PM

ColdFusion MX Updater 3 was released yesterday, which also includes the Flash Remoting Updater 1. Anyone running CF MX should run the updater, available here:

Make sure you follow the installation instructions, especially if you are using IIS with CF MX.

The fixed issues in CF MX are listed here:

The one big change that may affect your Flash Remoting web services is the fact that access to web services through the Flash Gateway is now DISABLED by default, which is a good thing, because it deals with the problem I discussed here. Unfortunately, there is still no way to individually enable services, but this is a step in the right direction.

If you are accessing web services, you'll need to manually enable the services once again by changing the WEB-INF\web.xml file. The <init-param> entry DISABLE_CFWS_ADAPTERS needs to be set to false -- it is true by default:

  <description>When set to true, this setting disables the ColdFusion WebServices Adapters in the gateway.</description>

Also, one other change is the way that exceptions are handled from the Flash Gateway to Flash: they now have the same format in the Macromedia Flash client. The exception fields are Details, Description, Code, Type, RootCause.

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Problems with Objects in Flash Remoting

Thursday, March 13, 2003 8:00:13 AM

When building a Flash Remoting application using OOP concepts, sometimes you can't encapsulate the logic as you want. There seems to be a problem with building objects that contain a Flash Remoting service as a property, such as in this code:

MyObject.prototype.init = function (myGateway_conn, myUrl) {
  this.service = myGateway_conn.getService(myUrl, this);

This is one way to encapsulate the functionality of MyObject, but if you try to send the object to the remote service, the call will fail. There are several workarounds, but none of them are really good. The way I've been doing it is to create a service outside of the object and pass the service to each method:

MyObject.prototype.myMethod = function(service) {
  service.myMethod(new Responder(), this);

Another way (utilized in Pet Market) is to copy the properties of the object into a new object (this code from Pet Market):

var userCopy = new Object();
var fld;
var useroid = this.userData["useroid"];
for(fld in this.userData) {
  userCopy[fld] = this.userData[fld];

The comments in Pet Market don't elaborate on this however, they merely say "TRICKY: apparently need to copy the userdata to a new object before sending."

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Changes in Flash Remoting class code

Tuesday, March 11, 2003 1:31:11 PM

On March 10, 2003, Macromedia released the Flash Remoting Components Updater 1. The updater fixes many issues, which can be found at http://www.macromedia.com/support/flash_remoting/releasenotes/mx/releasenotes_updater.html. I was curious as to what actually changed in the ActionScript classes, so I ran Windiff on the Configuration > Include folder. I found out the following:


Most of the changes in the ActionScript code in the Flash Remoting classes involved setting up a variable to act as the loop end comparison, which improves the speed of the loop. According to the Macromedia site:

"The NetServices.as library's performance was boosted by improving the way in which an array's length is calculated in loop conditions."

For example, this statement:

var rcount = this.getLength();
for(var i = 0; i < rcount; i++) {
  // do something

is faster than this statement:

for(var i = 0; i < this.getLength();; i++) {
  // do something

The second looks more concise, but ActionScript evaluates this.getLength() each time through the loop. On a large loop, timesavings can be big.

Files Changed:


Minor syntax change to speed up a loop (line 41)


Minor syntax change to speed up a loop (line 125)


Minor syntax change in two places to speed up loops (lines 217, 225)


Minor syntax change in two places to speed up a loop (lines 25, 54)


Minor syntax change to speed up a loop (lines 96)


Logic error change (lines 42, 72, 85)

Minor syntax change to speed up a loop (lines 211)


Method added to NetConnection: AppendToGatewayUrl (lines 167-180 of new NetService.as file)

Section removed that deals with removing the host name and port from a URL passed to the Flash movie (removed lines 213-216 and 226-253 from original NetServices.as file). According to the Macromedia site:

"NetServices.as no longer modifies the defaultGatewayURL to match the serving SWF's server:port. The Flash Security Sandbox restricts movies from loading data outside the serving SWF's domain, not machine. The previous workaround was to always to provide either the URL directly in the createGatewayConnection method, or use the OBJECT/EMBED tags to provide gatewayURL parameter via HTML. This is no longer necessary."


Minor syntax change in three places to speed up a loop (lines 286, 425, 442)

Location change on a section of code that deals with getItemAt() method of client-side recordsets. (line 236)


The sort() method was not passing the correct information to updateView(). This has been fixed (line 116)

Minor syntax change to speed up a loop (line 125)

Documentation updates:

There are also numerous documentation updates too numerous to list here. I know there were a LOT of documentation errors in the first Flash Remoting Components help system. According to the Macromedia site:

"The HTML help files available within the Flash Remoting MX development environment now match the Using Flash Remoting MX document."

Well, I hope they fixed the errors as well. ;-)

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