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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. Use Flash to make your browser link to PDF documents, RealMedia files, or even Java applets. Use Flash to send email, 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 also work with multiple Flash movies. Load one or more Flash movies into another Flash movie to create modular projects that are easier to edit and have smaller file sizes. Your main Flash movie might serve simply as an interface that loads your portfolio of Flash animations when the viewer selects them. Learn to communicate from the main Flash movie to its loaded movie or even between two different Flash movies in separate browser windows.

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

Finally, you’ll learn to communicate with your movie’s playback environment. Learn to detect your viewers’ system capabilities, Stage size, or Flash Player version so that you can better cater your content to them. Check on the amount of data that has downloaded to users’ computers so you can tell them how much longer they have to wait before your movie begins. Keeping track of these external factors will help you provide a friendlier and customized user experience. Along with providing versatile and sophisticated communication options between Flash movies and between the browser and external files, Flash can serve as a key component of dynamic, commercial, and entertainment applications.


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