MySpace/GetURL Solution: Not Perfect, But Stylish

Written by Bob de Wit. Posted in Developer Blog, Flash, Flex, PHP

Like most Flash developers, I was grinding my teeth when MySpace unilaterally decided to disable getURL() calls from Flash movies on their network. I was -and still am- convinced that the least MySpace could have done was to set up a program for Flash widget designers with good intentions in stead of hurling everyone back to the stone age (read: HTML links). Today I finished a new artist site for MySpace and I decided to dig a little deeper into the problem. But first, maybe for those not familiar with the origin of the problem, a little overview.

AutoIT with Flex GUIs using the AS3 ExternalAPI

Written by Bob de Wit. Posted in ActionScript, AutoIT, Developer Blog, Flex

I recently started writing a clan tool for my kinship in the Lord Of The Rings Online (LOTRO) using the open source macro programming language AutoIT 3. As the GUI functions of this language are really limited and it’s very time-consuming to create even a simple GUI, I checked if there was a way to use Flex as the GUI. I ended up with something endlessly more versatile than what the Adobe AIR project allows with regard to interfacing with the Win32 API. In this article I’ll go through the basic principles of SWF embedding into AI3, but bear in mind this principle can be applied to any development language that supports ActiveX embedding.

Using The Wimpy Player In Flex

Written by Bob de Wit. Posted in ActionScript, Developer Blog, Flex

player.jpgThis one took some digging. The Wimpy Player uses the ActionScript 2.0 _root variable for configuration, and this has of course been deprecated in AS 3.0.Wimpy expects some variables to be defined at _root level: the filename of the Wimpy Player (usually wimpy.swf) and the name of the wimpy Configuration XML file (wimpyConfigs.xml). Since there is no way to pass this information from Flex through an Image or SWFloader element, I decided on using an intermediate Flash file, much like the WimpyLoader example that can be found on the Wimpy Site for embedding Wimpy into Flash. However, I wanted to construct it in such a way that anyone who doesn’t have Flash could use this Flex Loader without having to adjust the dimensions in the source file depending on the Wimpy Player skin used (and as a result, recompile the loader in Flash). You can see the result on my MySpace artist page. You will need my preloader. You can get a trial version of the Wimpy Player at www.wimpyplayer.com.

PEAR PHP XML Serializer and Flex

Written by Bob de Wit. Posted in ActionScript, Developer Blog, Flex, PEAR, PHP

PEAR is a framework and distribution system for reusable PHP components. The code in PEAR is partitioned in “packages”. Each package is a separate project with its own development team, version number, release cycle, documentation and a defined relation to other packages (including dependencies). Packages are distributed as gzipped tar files with a description file inside, and installed on your local system using the PEAR installer.PEAR contains PHP classes that are perfect for serializing data to be passed to a Flex application. Unfortunately, there is currently no package that would allow automatic installation for a Flex/PHP developer that wants to use the PEAR XML Serializer functionality.

In this article, I am going to describe how to do a local tweak and installation of the PEAR XML classes on a server that does not have PEAR pre-installed. Even if your server has PEAR installed, this approach will work.

Using the Wimpy Player in Flex

Written by Bob de Wit. Posted in Developer Blog, Flex

player.jpgThis one took some digging. The Wimpy Player uses the ActionScript 2.0 _root variable for configuration, and this has of course been deprecated in AS 3.0. Wimpy expects some variables to be defined at _root level: the filename of the Wimpy Player (usually wimpy.swf) and the name of the wimpy Configuration XML file (wimpyConfigs.xml). Since there is no way to pass this information from Flex through an Image or SWFloader element, I decided on using an intermediate Flash file, much like the WimpyLoader example that can be found on the Wimpy Site for embedding Wimpy into Flash. However, I wanted to construct it in such a way that anyone who doesn’t have Flash could use this Flex Loader without having to adjust the dimensions in the source file depending on the Wimpy Player skin used (and as a result, recompile the loader in Flash). You can see the result on my MySpace artist page

Flex / PHP Security Basics – Part One

Written by Bob de Wit. Posted in Developer Blog, Flex, PHP

I’ve been creating Flash / PHP web sites and applications for years, but I am relatively new to Flex. After browsing the Adobe PHP samples for Flex earlier this week, I couldn’t help but notice that some of this code could prove extremely hazardous if used in a public Flex site. This is no criticism, but since these examples will be read by virtually anyone who want to use the PHP / Flex tandem, it’s probably not a bad idea to go over the security basics. I just love PHP. It’s a great language for rapid development of dynamic site and application backends. Combined with the RIA power of Flex 2, there’s no end to what you can do. But – as for every web programming language, security considerations for designing even the simplest web sites with Flex and PHP are crucial and often overlooked.