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MAX 2005 – Visual Programming in Macromedia Flash & SOAP Web Services

Take advantage of the benefits of Flash

4.  Add the ActionScript functions that handle these events. The code in Listing 3 does some interface work like enabling and disabling components while the search is in progress. Most importantly it iterates through the results returned from Google, formats them using HTML, and displays them in the txtResults TextArea instance (make sure you set txtResults' HTML parameter to true in the Component Inspector to display the HTML properly). If you want to change the data or formatting, consult the Web Services panel to see the output parameter schema returned from the doGoogleSearch operation.

on (click) {

var onGoogleSearch = function()
// Show the barber pole and disable search
_root.application.frmSearch.frmLoading.visible = true;
this._parent.txtResults.text = "";
this._parent.lblSearchTime.text = "";
this.enabled = false;
this._parent.txtQuery.enabled = false;

var onGoogleSearchResult = function()
var res = this._parent.GoogleSearch.results.resultElements; // shorthand
for (var i = 0; i < res.length; i++)
var s = "";
s += "<a href=\"" + res[i].URL + "\"><font
size=\"+1\"color=\"#0000FF\"><u>" + res[i].title +
s += res[i].snippet + "<br>";
if (res[i].summary != "") { s += "<font
color=\"#999999\">Description:</font>" + res[i].summary + "<br>"; }
s += "<a href=\"" + res[i].URL + "\"><font color=\"#009900\"><u>" +
res[i].URL + </u></font></a> - " + res[i].cachedSize;
s += "<br><br>";
this._parent.txtResults.text += s;

// Hide the barber pole and reenable the search
_root.application.frmSearch.frmLoading.visible = false;
this.enabled = true;
this._parent.txtQuery.enabled = true;

// Trigger Data Source Behavior
// Macromedia 2003
this._parent.GoogleSearch.addEventListener("send", onGoogleSearch);
this._parent.GoogleSearch.addEventListener("result", onGoogleSearchResult);

You're ready to publish your application. Publishing is the equivalent of building or compiling in Visual Studio and other IDEs. Select File > Publish or just press Control-Enter to publish using the default settings.

Now try out some Google searches!

Benefits of Flash
Let's review the benefits of Flash MX Professional as a visual programming environment:

  • More like the visual programming environment you know. There's no denying that Flash has a long heritage as a design and animation tool. With Flash MX Professional visual programmers can build visual applications that can - but don't need to - take advantage of the rich media capabilities of Flash. Forms, object-oriented ECMA-262-compliant ActionScript, components, and events make Flash programming more like VB programming than ever before. With unique rich media capabilities at your fingertips, Flash offers a lot more than traditional visual programming tools.
  • Rich applications. Even if you're not a designer, you can take advantage of easy-to-use Timeline effects and behaviors to add motion graphics to your form applications. Try doing this in Visual Basic!
  • True cross-platform, cross-device compatibility. Flash content can be viewed on almost any platform, including web, wireless, embedded devices, and (with Macromedia Central) on the desktop. Flash code is more reusable than Java code. You can move Flash applications among platforms without significant redesigning or recoding. For instance, converting the Google search application so it works on mobile devices or handhelds that support Flash Player 7 requires nothing more than resizing or rearranging the components on the Stage to fit a smaller screen size.

    Macromedia Flash MX Professional is not a replacement for a Windows application IDE like Delphi or Visual Studio. However, visual programmers who want to author rich applications for deployment online, on handhelds, or on devices will discover familiar scenery in this new version of Flash.

    Google API: www.google.com/apis/ To examine the entire project, download the FLA source file:

  • google_web_api.zip (1.4 MB)
  • More Stories By Ian Bogost

    Ian Bogost is an academic videogame researcher, game designer, and educational publisher. Ian is Assistant Professor of Literature Communication and Culture at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he teaches and researches in undergraduate and graduate programs in digital media. He is also the founder of two companies, Persuasive Games, a game studio that designs, builds, and distributes electronic games for persuasion, instruction, and activism and Open Texture, a publisher of cross-media education and enrichment materials for families. He has over a decade of experience in digital media production for film, music, games, advertising, and eBusiness.

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    Most Recent Comments
    darcymonash 08/19/09 12:46:00 AM EDT

    A good description on how to perform work and create new things in Flash. Its on the initial stages that I have come across such good expertise on it by going through your article. Its just like the starting of me learning How to draw Yoda and then perfect it.

    NicJob 10/17/05 07:29:18 AM EDT

    I agree that hierarchical forms take a bit of getting used to for Windows forms designers but you are right that the benefit is striking.

    SYS-CON Australia News Desk 10/15/05 08:04:27 PM EDT

    Visual Programming in Macromedia Flash and SOAP Web Services. If you are a visual programmer working in environments like Visual Basic, Delphi, REAL basic, or PowerBuilder, you may hesitate to take advantage of the benefits of Flash because of concerns about learning a new, unfamiliar environment. To show how easily you can transfer your existing knowledge to Flash MX Professional, in this article I will explain how you can create a simple web search application that queries the Google web API using SOAP web services:

    MXDJ News Desk 10/15/05 05:30:42 PM EDT

    MXDJ Special - Visual Programming in Macromedia Flash. If you are a visual programmer working in environments like Visual Basic, Delphi, REAL basic, or PowerBuilder, you may hesitate to take advantage of the benefits of Flash because of concerns about learning a new, unfamiliar environment. To show how easily you can transfer your existing knowledge to Flash MX Professional, in this article I will explain how you can create a simple web search application that queries the Google web API using SOAP web services:

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