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October 3, 2003

"Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide": When Programmers Get Flashy, Users Get Lucky

Sebastopol, CA--Today's hottest topics in web development are web services and Rich Internet Applications (RIAs)...and Flash Remoting is pivotal to both. Tom Muck's Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly, US $39.95) equips readers to take advantage of this breakthrough, server-side technology to integrate rich Macromedia Flash content with their existing applications in order to create RIAs that connect to remote databases and services. The end result is fast and flexible client/server applications that resemble highly functional desktop applications with their complex interactivity and ability to deliver nearly instant--and seemingly constant--gratification to end users.

What's so flashy about Flash Remoting? It's invisibly powerful. According to author Tom Muck, "Flash Remoting allows the Flash movie to do what it does best--interact with the user--and allows the server-side application to do what it does best--process information." Acting as a gateway to the server, Flash Remoting offers true, seamless client/server communication that is transparent to the user.

It's also efficient. "I make my living as a ColdFusion and SQL Server programmer, and I much prefer how a desktop application works to a web application," claims Muck, senior applications developer for Integram and coauthor of six Macromedia-related books. He likens the traditional HTML experience--the click-and-wait-to-load client/server communication with a browser--to a dreadfully inefficient phone conversation: "You ask a question and hang up the phone. You friend calls back and answers the question, then hangs up. You call him back, add something to the conversation, and hang up again." Muck is drawn to Flash Remoting because it does away with that ridiculousness; instead of being page-based, the technology is based on a single, central interface with no page reloads (a browser need only download the subset of information that has changed from page to page).

And it's versatile. "Flash and Flash Remoting are bringing the same interactivity and usability to the Web that GUIs brought to the desktop a generation ago," reports Muck. The result is a robust user interface that can be deployed across browsers, platforms, and devices. Flash Remoting smoothly connects to Macromedia ColdFusion MX, Server-Side ActionScript, Java, .NET, PHP, or SOAP-based web services. Server-side code does not require any Flash-specific syntax; and because ActionScript's syntax is nearly identical to JavaScript, web scripters can quite easily transition to Flash.

Flash Remoting technology may be new, but many major sites are already adopting it for valuable and varied uses (developing online stores featuring catalogs and shopping cart systems; sound and video clip libraries; banner ads with built-in shopping carts, click-through tracking, and full-site search capabilities; online auction interfaces; extensions to Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc.; front-ends to databases for administrators; and much more). Here, in Muck's "Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide," is everything you need to know to do the same--whether you're a Flash programmer who wants to interact with an application server on some level, or you're an application server programmer who wants to learn to interact with Flash applications.

This book includes:

  • Flash Remoting fundamentals (including UI components, RecordSets, internals, and more)

  • Server-side environments (with individual chapters covering Flash Remoting development with ColdFusion MX, Server-Side ActionScript, Java, .NET, and PHP)

  • Advanced Flash Remoting techniques, such as calling web services from Flash Remoting, extending UI components and ActionScript objects, best practices, testing and client- and server-side debugging

  • Real-world application

  • A thorough Flash Remoting API reference

Flash Remoting pushes the limits of what is currently possible on the Web. "Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide" offers readers the chance to learn how it works--and how they can put it to work for themselves.

Additional Resources:

Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide
By Tom Muck
With Branden Hall, Joel Martinez, Alon Salant
ISBN 0-596-00401-X, 612 pages, $39.95 US, $61.95 CA, 28.50 UK
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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