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Part II: Technology > Exchanging Data with Outside Services

Chapter 7. Exchanging Data with Outside Services

This chapter covers advanced ways to exchange data with application servers and web services. In Chapter 6, “Basic Data Exchange,” you actually saw two ways to import and export data (using the LoadVars object and standard XML). The primary limit with both of those approaches is that data must always travel as strings. That is, when you import a number, it arrives in Macromedia Flash MX 2004 as a string. If you send a number out to an application server, it turns to a string. This is a real pain when you consider the work involved in parsing arrays and generic objects that you pass back and forth. This chapter shows two ways to exchange data that requires no parsing. Namely, Flash Remoting’s protocol (Action Messaging Format or AMF) and web services (Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP). Additional benefits include AMF’s efficiency and performance features and SOAP’s common data format.

In addition to a better way to exchange data, this chapter covers the new data management components that ship with Flash MX Professional 2004. These offer direct access to web services without the need for Flash Remoting. In addition, the data management components include powerful yet simple ways of binding imported data to visual displays (such as onscreen text) and even tracking changes so that you can send updates back to a database efficiently.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • How to pass data between application servers and Flash using Flash Remoting

  • How to use the data components found in Flash MX Professional 2004

  • How to use the Component Inspector to define schemas and set up bindings

  • How Flash Remoting compares to Flash’s native SOAP support



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