26 Replies to “Integration”

  1. Jesse,

    Great post. I think there is a lot of untapped potential for integration of Flash with the tradition medium. I just finished up a site where this was done and we have had some great feedback about how we made use of Flash (url: http://www.blinex.com).

    Good to see you writing about this. BTW what does “nigh” mean???


  2. Thanks for your commments!

    Nigh used in that context is a synonym for ?nearly?.

    :: breifly looks at site ::

    See, that’s what I am talking about. It’s just like a standard HTML layout, but you lay just a pinch of Flash funk on it. You still have your navigation, forms, and blocked off content, but all done in Flash.

    Granted, I think your navigation is more Flashy and different than standard navigation bars possibly leading to user confusion, but I figured it out in 2 seconds and I am a gamer after all. Still, regardless of the diffuculty, it does in fact work.

    Secondly would be your “copy” as her majesty likes to say, or content of the actual site is still anti-aliased at a small size. I can still read it, mind you, but getting very close to the ideal of small, aliased text.

    Your site is definately a great example to show the direction where I would like to see Flash go. Experiementing with unique navigation sytles is always risky, but emulating HTML too much, and you lose that flair. Very fine line and a tough one at that.

    Thank you very much for the great example!

  3. Well there are some features that I didn’t have time to implement because of urgent projects and the trip to FFSF. There will be some features added in the coming weeks. I’m listing them below just to get feedback from you.

    1. Forward/Back button Integration
    2. A history drop down (currently the site tracks it but there is no view of that data)
    3. Bookmarking capabilities
    4. Printing

    Those are the main features that are planned. Others are bug fixes.

    on another note: If you are loading a page you can resize the width of the page and watch the loading bar move back if you are on a slow connection :)

    Feel free to contact me off-blog as your vies are in-line with my views on how Flash should be used.


  4. 1. Forward/Back button Integration

    Phat, totally. Just one more fantastic step in the right direction. Once Flash can actually receive events form those buttons, we’ll have one of the most powerful navigational controls at our fingertips.

    2. A history drop down (currently the site tracks it but there is no view of that data)

    You know, I have no clue why there isn’t a cookie-trail component out for Flash MX. I saw one on Exchange for Dreamweaver MX, but not Flash. Good opportunity to create one, yo!

    3. Bookmarking capabilities

    Are you gonna use the Flash anchor labels or something else?

    4. Printing

    Always a good feature if your content can actually print right (not your fault, really if it doesn’t).

  5. I don’t “bash flash” thank you very much :P In fact I wish I had more opportunities to use it.

    Remember when macromedia.com released the beta? They had the bottom half of the home page in flash and those flash drop down (er.. up in their case) menu’s?? They didn’t disappear on roll-out, which was very awkward and irritating. They simply didn’t function like a web drop down, maybe they coded it wrong, maybe it was a flash limitation. Either way, they got enough feedback that they actually REMOVED it from the site and now it’s html again. So I am not un-justified in my dis-like of some flash usage.

    You confused the hell outa me about the how to make a page grow thing, I would like to see a good example. I have never seen one :P

    I would like to see flash work like html, but I don’t know that it *should*. They are different, they do different things. They cross over yes, should they do the same thing? That’s the question. Maybe yes, maybe no. I wish I had more opportunities to use flash, but I won’t use it unless it is the correct solution!

  6. Jesse,

    The site was built using MVC so the Model actually has an array that keeps track of where the user goes. It was something that I put in there early on for the hell of it and relized later that we can use it for a cool purpose.

    As for the bookmarking, I plan to implement it the same way Macromedia did so for their website. They do it using a hash/url string for the browser.

    It might sound funny but I started with the goal of making a Flash site that you could use the ScrollWheel across platforms and from there a lot of the ideas came about.

    Thanks for the kind words..


    What exactly do you want to know?


  7. Which piece of functionality are you referring to that they did?

    Some stretch examples:
    Notice how all the buttons don’t scale, but rather re-position themselves just like the buttons on Word would do when you resize it.
    – top of gModeler.com, where they date on the top right repositions itself based on the browser resisizng itself.

  8. On Macromedia’s website if you visit the exchange you will notice that the forward/back and the url bar in the browser changes. because of this I can actually send you a link to a specific item in the exchange http://www.macromedia.com/cfusion/exchange/index.cfm#loc=en_us&view=sn111&viewName=Flash%2520Extension&extID=146677&catID=47&lc_id=28546

    Very cool :)

    I guess about the re-sizing this is something that is good. Probably more useful for an application? Another thing our site was designed with a width of 770 being the minimum so when you scale the browsers with down it will not allow you to resize to less than 770 width without displaying a horizontal scroll bar. I guess that is how I got around it..


  9. well when you click on a button and go to a new section that is a differnt height, is it a new flash movie or what, is it the same flash movie with a differnt height value? It feels kinda like a html page with a top frame, that’s how the site “feels” if I were to not know it was in flash and try to identify how it was created. But obivously a quick right click remedies that conclusion!

  10. Brandy,

    The way it is done is this.

    1. There are two portions to a site, the top banner and the bottom body content. The designer does those parts seperately and the template will load them in together depending on the section. There is only one base flash movie (I call it the template) that stays the same while the top/bottom swf files are loaded depending on the section. That is all defined from an XML file that way it is easily updated down the line.

    2. The way the height is adjusted is whenever the body swf is loaded (bottom portion) the template measures the height of the new swf and adds the height of the rest of the template (top portion) and calls a javascript function (you can check the source of the page) passing it the height the browser should be. Its simple pretty simple..


  11. hey jesse,
    first, small orange text on red background is hard to read. i had to copy your post into my texteditor (oldschool black on white) to not fuck my eyes *g* (i thought i mention this as you are talking about these things, amongst others)..
    one thing you forgot to mention in your post (and many people forget to mention this) is text flow. this is maybe the most important feature of a website (and any “ria”), and disqualifies flash with it’s .
    another thing is that flash is proprietary to the bone. macromedia likes to tell everybody how open everything is, but that’s only half of the truth. if i have to change some things in a flash based website, i usually need to spend $500 to buy the flash ide, i need to be familiar with it and, in most cases i need to code. have you ever told a designer that doesn’t know anything about coding to skin a flash component? desaster.
    the third thing is the flash people’s “dislike for markup” (this is a quote from someone at macromedia). all the time, when i ask someone who doesn’t like xml “why?” they answer “because it’s too slow”. isn’t it strange that the “flashers” dislike for xml is based on the “fact” that allegedly the flash player’s xml parser is slow? we should think about that for a minute.
    phew now that looks like a rant against flash.. not really. flash is great for many things, and i’m very looking forward to hopefully see a great mx2 with lots of the current issues fixed. we should just not forget that flash still has more issues than a missing fileupload mechanism (imho at least).
    for those of you who want a fully compliant css2 engine in flash, i’d recommend to put <a href=”http://claus.packts.net/deng”>http://claus.packts.net/deng</a&gt; on your radar (we are still accepting beta testers btw).
    and finally, for those of you who have problems understanding jesses slang, check out <a href=”http://onrelease.org/index.php?p=79769874&more=1″>http://onrelease.org/index.php?p=79769874&more=1</a&gt; ;))

  12. Hehe, is it really that hard to read? My bad. I’ll see if I can add a button to replace the style-sheet on the fly in the future.

    Your text flow comment got cut off. What do you mean by text flow not working in Flash? I don’t want to comment until I know exactly what you mean.

    I am not an open source geek. As long as I can customize the IDE and output, I don’t care if it was developed in a secret government underground installation or someone’s garage; as long as it’s cool.

    I do know, though, that Open Source has it’s benefits as I’ve seen on the list for the past few years. I guess I’m confused on where I could contribute in Flash on the open-source side… I don’t think I could help much if they opened it more.

    I agree, skinning sux. I’ve been working with a peer for about 3 weeks on skinning the FScrollbar for a contest @ actionscript.org. What a frikin’ pain, and fragile process!

    I don’t dislike XML; I like it a lot. The point of it in my rant was perhaps misplaced; it was there to show you an example of a “catch phrase”, like “convergence”. I think Intergration is the next catch phrase.

    I understand your correlation between Flash developers dislike of XML. However, that is all the XML some people actually know! It is interesting to see the conspiracy at work per se, where they say XML sux, but what they really mean is that the parseXML function of Flash is not very scalable on huge XML files. It’s all they know, so they associate everything with that. It is pretty funny.

    I respect everything you said and would appreciate you elaborating on your text flow issue you mentioned; more so because of your work on DENG. :: bows down ::

  13. i think that was it.. i guess what i wanted to say is that there is no automatic mechanism to flow text in flash, except for a pretty limited-and-buggy-to-the-bone html 1 implementation.
    the thing is, many people are developing windows ui api’s for flash. people actually did that in javascript quite some time ago (anyone remembers desktop.com). the point where all of them fail, and they will fail, is when it comes to “what to put in my nice draggable windows”. in most flash ui api’s i’ve seen this is limited to proprietary stuff like “a swf” or buggy html one. usually, windows contain flowing text. windows contain forms that are usually flowing with the text. flash does not support that unless you invest quite some time in emulating that.

  14. That makes a lot of senese… I myself have had to emulate windows in my project.

    But, I still don’t understand what you mean by “flowing”. Maybe an example… even if buggy, hehe?

  15. But Flash can easily put colored text with formatting into text fields, and scroll it, offering all the formatting a TextFormat object as well as HTML 1.0 provide.

    What is it you’d prefer Flash’s text fields could do that they do not already?

  16. Clause,

    About flowing text. Could you be referring to text that will automatically wrap when an image is embedded in between it? The way HTML?

    I do agree about your point of windows and the actual content of te window not being flexible.

  17. jesse, yes. if thats enough for your needs, you can stay and be perfectly happy with flash textfields. however that flash html 1 textfield implementation is kinda sparse, you have to admit.
    chafic, this is exactly one of the many limitations flash has. we are not sure yet if we should implement it in deng. maybe we should wait for mx2 to implement such features.

  18. Seeing that Flash MX supports loading in dynamic jpgs I would think that the next logical step in mx2 would be to add in image tag suport for html text fields. Atleast this is what I am hoping for.

  19. That makes sense. I have read a bunch of threads in the past few months, both on Flashcomm and Flashn00bz that talk about want this ability. The multitude of ways people are going about trying to accomplish this is great, although, maybe they shouldn’t have to try so hard based on what you saying should already be available.

    From building your own font for smiley support, hacking the FListBox component, to building your own with all the image placement, Quark like algoritms intact. Yet to see the latter offerred anywhere, though.

    From a design standpoint, I never really thought of the importance of this feature and now I can see just how important it is… even HTML 1.0 has this! Hrm, good call yo. Might be a good component for one of the next DRK’s, eh? Heard a buzz about Form creation components lately; utilizing the same logic, I don’t see why you couldn’t emulate text flowing, though, measuring text is still a little diffucult from my limitied experience. Have to give it a whirl sometime if there is continued interest, and I get a firmer date of release on MX2.

  20. Yeah, true dat Eric. Gives little excuse for someone to not make such a component. I mean, no one likes the way you can’t size the width of a text field at authortime, so someone made a text field wrapper component; why not create one for image placement? Still sounds like some Hurculean text measuring code skillz, though.

Comments are closed.