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Chapter 1. Introducing the Flash Communi... > Communicating with Application Serve...

1.5. Communicating with Application Servers, Databases, and Directory Servers

Flash and the Flash Communication Server often must work with other existing applications and resources. For example, users may have to log in against an existing directory service or database before being allowed to chat or view streams. Database systems can be used to store large amounts of information that FlashCom cannot easily manage, such as millions of records that represent the location of video messages in a video email system. Each record might contain the email text and the location of the recorded video message within a FlashCom application.

Both the Flash Player and FlashCom can interact with web application servers and, through them, database and directory servers. The Flash client can call any server-side script available on a web server, send and receive XML data, access web services, and use the Flash Remoting gateway to more efficiently access application servers. In contrast, the Flash Communication Server (as of the latest version, 1.5.2) supports only Flash Remoting to connect to other servers. It cannot directly consume web services, send or receive XML, or call a CGI script, which often complicates designing applications that need to access a database or other service already available via a web server. However, Flash Remoting is a powerful and efficient technology that can be used with J2EE, ColdFusion, and .NET servers to provide access to databases or other services. Macromedia sells the Flash Remoting gateway separately for J2EE and .NET servers and bundles it with ColdFusion. There are also open source implementations of Flash Remoting for Perl, PHP, and Java. See Chapter 11 for more details on Remoting, and see http://opensource.org for information on open source code.


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