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1.1. Clients and Servers

FlashCom is a server-side application that is installed on a host machine much like a web server; however, FlashCom works very differently than a web server. Instead of accepting many brief connections from browsers requesting a web page or other resource, FlashCom accepts persistent connections from Flash movies running in a Flash Player. Each Flash movie can share data with other Flash movies via the server using Macromedia's proprietary Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP). Unlike the HTTP request/response model used by browsers to communicate with web servers, the Flash Player's RTMP connection to the FlashCom Server is persistent, so no special steps are needed to maintain session information. Once the server accepts a client connection, the connection can be used to exchange audio, video, and ActionScript data until either the client or server disconnects.

The Flash Player may be running within the Standalone Player or within a web browser. The Flash Player (and any movie playing within it) is considered the client. FlashCom cannot initiate a connection to a movie; the connection must be initiated from the Flash Player running on the client. Let's review the architecture briefly so you can understand all the pieces to the puzzle. The client/server architecture for FlashCom applications is shown in Figure 1-1.


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