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Preface > How to Use This Book

How to Use This Book

To get the most out of the book, you should have FlashCom Server 1.5.2 installed and running on your server (or a hosting company's server). The trial version is freely available from Macromedia's site. If you are using an older version, obtain and install the updater.

You also should have Flash MX 2004 or Flash MX Professional 2004 available for client-side development, although you can write server-side scripts in any text editor. Again, trial versions are freely available on Macromedia's site.

Depending on your application, it also is beneficial to have:

The book is divided into four parts:

Part I: FlashCom Foundation

The first four chapters of the book introduce the Flash Communication Server and the client-side components available to construct applications, such as a video chat. Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 go into detail about creating applications and connecting to them.

Chapter 1, Introducing the Flash Communication Server

Introduces the communication classes by using them to build a simple video conferencing application

Chapter 2, Communication Components

Shows how to assemble applications using Macromedia's communication components

Chapter 3, Managing Connections

Covers all aspects of establishing and managing client connection requests and the server response

Chapter 4, Applications, Instances, and Server-Side ActionScript

Covers server-side application development in detail

Part II: Audio, Video, and Data Streams

Chapter 5 through 7 focus on the media and data that can be transmitted to and from FlashCom applications and their clients.

Chapter 5, Managing Streams

Offers extensive details on publishing and playing live and recorded streams, including audio, video, and data

Chapter 6, Camera and Microphone

Provides detailed coverage of the Camera and Microphone classes for managing video and audio input

Chapter 7, Media Preparation and Delivery

Addresses issues revolving around audio and video preparation to ensure the best user experience

Part III: Remote Connectivity and Communication

Chapter 8 through Chapter 12 cover communication between FlashCom applications and their clients or communicating with other application servers using Flash Remoting.

Chapter 8, Shared Objects

Offers extensive details on communicating between clients and applications using temporary and persistent remote shared objects

Chapter 9, Remote Methods

Describes how to use the NetConnection and Client classes to implement remote method invocation

Chapter 10, Server Management API

Covers the powerful API available to monitor and control FlashCom Server operations

Chapter 11, Flash Remoting

Explains how to communicate with other applications, such as ColdFusion, to implement features not available to FlashCom directly

Chapter 12, ColdFusion MX and FlashCom

Builds on the previous chapter and gives practical examples of ColdFusion and FlashCom integration

Part IV: Design and Deployment

Chapter 13 through Chapter 18 cover building and extending components, application design, scalability, managing latency and bandwidth limitations, and creating secure applications.

Chapter 13, Building Communication Components

Introduces communication component development using the Flash UI components and client-side ActionScript 2.0

Chapter 14, Understanding the Macromedia Component Framework

Describes how to write components that work with Macromedia's communication component framework

Chapter 15, Application Design Patterns and Best Practices

Offers advice on application design, improving component performance, and best practices

Chapter 16, Building Scalable Applications

Looks at multi-instance applications and how components can support scalable designs

Chapter 17, Network Performance, Latency, Concurrency

Covers performance tuning to deal with latency and bandwidth limitations, plus addresses concurrency issues and solutions in a networked environment

Chapter 18, Securing Applications

Looks at integrating authentication and role-based authorization into components, including a ticketing mechanism

Although later chapters assume you have read and understood earlier material, you can jump around the book to suit your experience level and needs.

Read Chapter 10 and Chapter 18 before making your server publicly available on the Internet.

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