Archive for December, 2005

Integration tier with ActionScript 3

Of all the new features of ActionScript 3, one of the coolest has to be the ability to create new instances of the movie MovieClip class via ActionScript, then add them, move them around, and remove them from the display hierarchy as required. This gives us a much more flexible level of control over the movieclips in a Flash movie.

One side benefit of this, is that we finally have the ability to separate the integration tier of our movies, that which communicates with our server sending and fetching data, from the control and display tiers, which are concerned with management of data within our movie, and the display of data to the user.

For example in AS2 we can create a GetXML class that loads XML data from a specified source, then broadcasts an event when that data is loaded. Other classes can then decide what to do with this data and how to display it to the user. They may even decide to defer the display of this data until some other event. However, if the data we are dealing with is an image file, we don’t have anything like the same control.

A standard practice would be to load the image into its container MovieClip using loadMovie, or the MovieClipLoader class. A drawback of this is that the image is displayed as soon as it is loaded, unless we choose to hide the container clip. Also this means it is usually our control and display tiers doing the loading of the data, breaking down the separations between these and our integration tier.

With ActionScipt 3, we can use the new Loader class in a separate integration tier, in a similar way as we would for XML data etc. We can return the instance of the Loader class, containing our loaded swf or image file when we receive our integration tier events. It is then a matter of using our control tier to decide whether to display this data, using addChild to add the instance to our display list, or simply to hang on to it until it is needed in the future. This is exactly the sort of deferred use scenario, which up till now would have been impossible, and as an added benefit we have separated our integration tier completely from the other elements of our code, this leads to much better OOP, and code that is much easier to re-use in the future.

One great use of these techniques would be an image caching utility, which would load images beforehand as a user was navigating through a site. This utility would take care of displaying the images as needed, and with much quicker response times from the perspective of the user.

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Massmedia, now hiring.

We’re looking for some more Flash talent here at Massmedia. Here’s the beef.

Flash Developer

  • Industry-leading digital communications company
  • Minimum 3 years professional experience
  • Professional, down-to-earth persona
  • Creative warehouse environment in Surry Hills with pool table and drum-kit
  • Are you an experienced Flash Developer with a drive to create industry-leading solutions?

    Would you relish the opportunity to work with a passionate, innovative team of 30 in a great environment?

    Your Role as a Flash Developer

    Due to expansion, MassMedia Studios is looking for a new Flash Developer. A Flash Developer at MassMedia Studios is responsible for developing content based around the Macromedia Flash development platform for delivery over the internet and on multimedia devices such as CD-ROMs, kiosks and potentially, mobile devices.

    This includes the development of games, user interfaces, banner ads, presentation material, applications, e-learning and computer-based training.
    The Flash Developer must also be capable of integrating dynamic, database-driven content and be experienced at publishing to various applications and systems.

    If that sounds good you can find out more details on Seek, or visit the careers section of the Massmedia site. Email your applications to or apply via the websites application form.

    We’ve got some exiting projects coming up, so it should be a blast.

    Hope to hear from you eager job seekers soon (so i can have a christmas holiday ;) )

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    Music Genome Project

    This is absolutely awesome. You enter the name of a band you like, and it finds similar music, then streams it back as a radio station via flash player.

    You can store music in a favourites page, and it links to amazon and itunes so you can buy the tracks you like.

    Great way to discover new bands.

    Go play!

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    40°C in Sydney yesterday! You want summer? Well there it is.

    Going to the pool after work was awesome. The air-con in the office however decided to blow the fuse box for an hour again, hopefully it’ll hold up for a few more months until the electricity company fix the supply to our block.

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    The artist formerly known as Macromedia.

    I left my browser on the macromedia homepage overnight, came in to work and hit refresh. BAM! Adobe branding.

    Part of me wishes i’d taken a screenshot of the old branding for posterity, but you can’t stop progress I suppose.

    At least there’s still help > about flash professional though right?


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    Undocumented flash 8 features

    An article on the flash blog, talks about the undocumented setTimeout() function in flash 8.

    I remember seeing this in the examples of pre-release code that was found in the 8 player, and documented by sites such as OsFlash. I didn’t realize until now that this function wasn’t documented in the official flash 8 docs. Why would this be?

    Does anybody know of any more examples of functionality that was reported when player 8 was at beta, but never made it to the final product?


    They say your worst client is you.

    I always find it difficult to design for myself, (the continuing lack of a main page for this site is testament to that). And web companies creating their own site are no exception, especially if you have different departments with differing needs as to what information needs to be presented.

    It’s been a long hard road, but Massmedia have finally released out shiny new site. The countless graphic revisions we went through to get it right nearly drove our senior designer Tony Dolan, over the edge into the pit of despair and madness. In the end though all parties are happy with the result.

    We’ve thrown all the crayons in the box at it, it’s got DHTML goin’ on all over the place. Our HTML guys have really shone through. I also got to use the Flash/Javascript integration kit for the first time, it’s linking the homepage banner to the navigation. It may not be pushing it to the limits, but it’s still pretty sweet I think.

    All we need to do now is have a bit of AJAX in there, and a few Flex components, and we’ll have pretty much used everything.


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