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Part III: Navigating Timelines and Commu... > Managing Outside Communication

Chapter 6. Managing Outside Communication

Flash provides powerful tools to communicate with other applications and external data, scripts, and files to extend its functionality. By using Flash to link to the Web, you can build sites that combine Flash animation and interactivity with non-Flash media supported by the browser, and you can develop dynamic interfaces and buttons in Flash that link to PDF documents, QuickTime VR scenes, or even Java applets. Use Flash to link to FTP sites, send e-mail, communicate with JavaScript, or relay information to and from servers with the CGI Get and Post methods. Flash also supports XML, allowing you to create customized code for data-driven e-commerce solutions. This chapter introduces you to some ways Flash can communicate with HTML, JavaScript, CGI, and XML. You can use Flash to communicate with other Flash movies on the Web, loading one or more Flash movies only as they are needed. This lets you create modular projects that are easier to edit and have smaller file sizes. For example, your main Flash movie might simply serve as an interface that loads your portfolio of Flash animations as the viewer selects them. You can also integrate Flash with Macromedia Generator, a tool for delivering visual content over the Web in real time. When you build Generator templates in your Flash documents, it's possible for data to be updated on the fly from a client-side database.

In this chapter you'll also learn about standalone Flash players, called projectors, and how specialized commands affect the way they appear, function, and interact with other programs. Since they don't require a browser to play, projectors are ideal for distributing Flash content on CD-ROM or other media.

Finally, you'll see how Flash sends information to the printer. Flash lets the viewer print the text and graphics on all or just a portion of the Stage and even text and graphics that are hidden from the Stage.

With such versatile printing options, sophisticated Web and server-side communication, and content that updates on the fly, Flash can serve as a key component in the development of dynamic, commercial applications.


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