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Chapter 3. Technology Overview > How Flash Communication Server Works

How Flash Communication Server Works

I like to say the Flash Communication Server (FCS) is one of Macromedia’s coolest products ever. I’ve crammed nearly everything I know about it into Chapters 8 and 9, but you can certainly learn more. The primary goal of its inclusion in this book is to get you actually playing with it—to learn the capabilities and to understand the way to approach a project using FCS. Here I want to give you just an overview of what it can do.

FCS is software that runs adjacent to your web server. You still place SWFs and HTML files in your standard web server, but inside your Flash movies you can include a script to connect to FCS. When a connection is made, users remain connected until they leave or you boot them off. This means not only can they send data directly to the FCS server, but the FCS server can send data to the users without the users first requesting it. This is true “push” technology as opposed to the standard “request and response” model. This persistent connection makes possible all kinds of applications, chat being the easiest to understand. One connected client can send a text message to the server, and it can relay that message to all connected users. In addition, if there’s a user identified as Spanish, FCS could first translate that text to Spanish (via a web service) and then send it to that user, as Figure 3.9 shows. (And this is just a simple example.)


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