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Part IV: Design and Deployment > Building Communication Components

Chapter 13. Building Communication Components

The preceding chapters have introduced the classes that form the foundation of every communication application. The core communication classes in client-side Flash ActionScript are Video, Camera, Microphone, NetStream, NetConnection, and SharedObject. In FlashCom Server-Side ActionScript, the core classes are Application, Client, SharedObject, Stream, and NetConnection. Describing and demonstrating how to work with each class has taken up more than half of this book for good reason: facility with the core communication objects is a necessity for building applications. The preceding chapters included many small test and demonstration programs and, if you have been reading through them sequentially, you may be wondering how to turn the many examples you've seen into full-featured applications. The remainder of this book is devoted to providing you with the information and examples you need to build useful, robust, secure, and scalable applications.

This chapter describes the first and arguably most important step in building full-fledged applications. It introduces how to design and build custom communication components. Building communication components makes it possible to partition applications into well-defined building blocks that can be built and tested separately and then assembled to make a variety of applications. One advantage of composing an application out of communication components is that many components can manage their own stream and shared object resources without the rest of the application having to manipulate them. Similarly, the code and logic for communication functions such as text chat, video conferencing, shared text areas, and people lists can be encapsulated within each component. In this respect, communication components often resemble miniature applications—each may make use of multiple user interface components, employ client- and server-side code, and manage its own data. Since each communication component is relatively self-contained, adding a component to an application is relatively simple.


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