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The NumericStepper Component

One of flash's hidden gems

In this example, we'll use the component dynamically to create multiple dynamic iterations of text fields via the createEmptyMovieClip() and createTextField() method.

The value property of the NumericStepper instance is retrieved and used to iterate through a loop, which creates a series of text fields. On each subsequent change of the component's value, the screen is redrawn with the number of text fields reflecting the value within the component.

The source FLA file for this example is called NumericStepperDynamicText.fla and can be found in the code archive for this article.

Note: The code archive includes another example of this FLA in which the dynamic creations are placed randomly on the stage. The file's named NumericStepperDynamicRandomText.fla

While this example shows how to dynamically control the creation and destruction of Movie Clips and text fields, I'm going to skim through the dynamic creation code. Instead, I'll concentrate on the logic flow through the example so you can get on with dissecting the example and modifying it for your needs.

Setting the Stage

  1. Create a new Flash document with default properties and rename the default layer Actions. Add below it a layer called Components.
  2. Drag an instance of the NumericStepper component from the UI Components section of the Components Panel into the first frame of the Components layer. Name the instance StepperMain.
  3. With the NumericStepper component instance selected, add the following values within the Property Inspector: maximum:100, minimum:0; stepSize:5, value:10.
From a setup point of view, that's all we need to do. The rest of the example is controlled via ActionScript.

Adding the ActionScript

  1. Select the first frame of the Actions layer and add the following code within the Actions Panel:

    var palletteArray = new Array();
    palleteArray = ["0x7FAAD4", "0xFFDF7F"];
    function setTheme() {
    _global.style.setStyle("themeColor", palleteArray[0]);
    _global.style.setStyle("backgroundColor", palleteArray[1]);
    _global.style.setStyle("fontSize", 11);
    _global.style.setStyle("fontWeight", "bold");
    _global.style.setStyle("color", palleteArray[0]);
    }
    setTheme();

    var stepsListener = new Object();
    stepsListener.change = function() {
    removeDeadClips();
    createTextBoxes();

    };
    stepperMain.addEventListener("change", stepsListener);

    function createTextBoxes() {
    if (stepperMain.value>stepperMain.minimum) {
    var yPos = 30;
    var yStart = stepperMain._y;
    var yStep = 20;
    var xStart = 150;
    var textMC = _root.createEmptyMovieClip("textMC", 10);
    for (var i=1; i<=stepperMain.value; i++) {
    var field = textMC.createTextField
    ("sampleText"+i, i, xStart, yStart+yPos, 200, 25);
    field.multiline = true;
    field.wordWrap = true;
    field.border = false;
    //Format Text
    formatText(field, i);
    var yPos += yStep;
    }
    }
    }
    createTextBoxes();

    function formatText(field, number) {
    var textFormatter = new TextFormat();
    textFormatter.color = palleteArray[0];
    textFormatter.bullet = false;
    textFormatter.underline = false;
    textFormatter.font = "_sans";
    textFormatter.size = 12;
    textFormatter.bold = true;
    field.text = "Dynamic Text Creation #: "+number;
    field.setTextFormat(textFormatter);
    }

    function removeDeadClips() {
    for (z in _root) {
    if (typeof (_root[z]) == "movieclip") {
    _root[z].removeMovieClip();
    }
    }
    }
    As before, we set up the change event handler. This time, it fires two functions (removeDeadClips() and createTextBoxes()) when the value of the NumericStepper component changes.

    After setTheme(), the first function to be called at startup is createTextBoxes(), which takes the initial value of the stepperMain instance, and creates an empty movie clip. It then iterates through a for loop using the stepperMain.value property as the limiting value.

    As we iterate through the for loop, a series of text fields are created and formatted using the formatText() function. This sets general properties of the text field, including color from the palletteArray array, and adds some simple dynamic text.

    When the stepperMain NumericStepper instance value is changed, the removeDeadClips() function is called from the event handler. It removes the empty movie clip we created to hold the text fields.

    Note: While only a single Movie Clip is created dynamically on the stage, and we could simply remove it using removeMovieClip(), I chose to use the function in this example. This approach provides extra benefits in that, if I wish to create multiple Movie Clips later on, I can simply alter the function to suit my needs, and point it at a particular level or nested Movie Clip instance.

    After the stage has been cleared up, we call the createTextField() function again, to create the empty Movie Clip and dynamic text fields.

  2. Save your Flash document and preview your work.
It's as simple as falling off a bike! This example shows the basics of using the component as a starting point that triggers dynamic object creation.

Just the Beginning...
While the examples presented in this article have shown a few different uses for the NumericStepper component, the possibilities really are without limits. Use your imagination and the skills you've developed here, and you can create some interesting applications of the component.

More Stories By Steven Grosvenor

Steven Grosvenor is founder of Phireworx.com. His job title changes more often than his socks, but we're sure he does something important for a Managed Internet Security company in Manchester. A Ph.D. in Molecular Virology has served Steven well in the web industry, bearing no relevance at all, but this hasn't stopped him progressing so deep into code that nobody else understands. When not worked to death, his wife and young children ensure he can relax at home.

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