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Working With Flash 5

A Call to the Enhydra Community!

We are looking for your comments and issues regarding more integrated support of Flash 5 by Enhydra. To enable this discussion, we have created the new mailing list, designers@enhydra.org, for the purpose of focusing discussion on both Flash 5 development with Enhydra as well as other designer related topics. We look forward to the graphics/HTML and Flash community joining the Enhydra discussion and open source process!

Click here to join designers@enhydra.org

Flash for Enhydra

Flash 5 is rapidly becoming the favorite of Web designers, as supported by the presence of Flash in the top selling technical press books. Flash 5's embedded XML parser is taking Flash 5 beyond eye-catching animation. As the world is inundated with fascinating new, variable-shaped devices from J2ME phones to automobile displays, PDAs and home appliances, Flash has the potential to compete effectively with the highly device specific languages of HTML, WML, cHTML, and even the more generic J2ME. In particular, Flash 5's support for 1) XML parsing, 2) vector-based rendering, 3) drag & drop 4) faster download thanks to its smaller, vector-based files, and 5) the ability to adapt to variable layouts make it an ideal client-side development technology for building compelling, adaptable Web presentations for business applications. A more detailed Q&A is provided below.

One of Enhydra XMLC's greatest attributes is its ability to give a single Web application the ability to add incremental support for new devices. Thanks to Macromedia's inclusion of XML parsing in Flash 5, Enhydra XMLC can now drive Flash 5 presentations. In order to determine and define the demand for Flash support by Enhydra, Lutris has made available two working demo applications where Flash is driven by Lutris Enhydra 3.5 (built on top of Enhydra 3.1, available from http://www.enhydra.org).

FlashText Demo This very simple demo supports the capability to take a text string and express it in Flash with some special effects. Source code is provided.
www.airsent.com This is a website built with Lutris Enhydra 3.5 for the purpose of demonstrating how a single Web application can take advantage of both large footprint browsers and small foot print cell phones (J2ME MIDp, XHTML, WAP/WML, i-mode/cHTML) to support a fictitious bike messenger delivery service. The same application now supports a Flash 5 client. Source code is included with Lutris Enhydra 3.5.

The text demo, source code and all, is freely downloadable from xmlc.enhydra.org. The AirSent demo source code is available as part of Lutris' commercial product, Lutris Enhydra 3.5 (built on top of the Enhydra 3.1 available through enhydra.org). The Flash client for the AirSent demo will be included in Lutris Enhydra 3.5 when the next point release is made available.

Enhydra/Flash Q&A

1. Are any special Enhydra features required to use Flash with Enhydra?

No. Flash 5 contains an XML parser. You only need to reference the Enhydra presentation object that will deliver XML formatted data as generated by Enhydra XMLC.

2. Why is Flash sometimes a better choice than HTML or J2ME?

Flash gives interface designers more control over "the real estate" of presentation devices, whether they be HTML browsers or PDAs with Flash clients. This reduces testing requirements that now exist, for example, when testing HTML output for flavors of Microsoft and Netscape browsers. Tools for developing Flash presentations are friendlier to designers as compared to J2ME Java midlets. Today, J2ME only supports a couple of GUI elements.

3. How does the Flash/Enhydra configuration compare to Flash/Generator?

Generator is a servlet that actually parses the flash (.swf) file, and manipulates it as needed. Generator has hooks into the Flash authoring tool, that allow the user interface engineer to use templating tools to develop dynamic apps. Generator is not inexpensive.

Flash and Enhydra communicate in pure XML, a strategy that enables absolute separation of business and presentation logic. This is the key point. This true separation allows for parallel development, easy support for additional clients, integration with SOAP applications (also the Microsoft .NET framework), and an overall reduction in development complexity.


Enhydra on the Edge:

Working With Flash - Exposing Enhydra's leading presentation layer support for flash.

Designers Mail List Home

Quick Links:

Flash for Enhydra Q&A

FlashText Demo

Airsent Application