Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, PR.com Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Adobe Flex

Adobe Flex: Article

Integrating Remote Shared Objects with Flex and Flash Communication Server

In this project, a remote shared object on a Flash Communication Server contains data that changes frequently

Communication Server (FCS) together provide an amazing toolbox that will undoubtedly provide inspiration to thousands of developers and projects. Unfortunately, without concrete examples and guidelines for good practices on their integration, we spent many hours on tiny issues that, with additional information, could have been easily circumnavigated.

Those hours of trail-blazing are the inspiration for this article. This article tackles the basic integration of how to use a remote shared object on FCS with Flex. Our goal was to make this integration as simple and straightforward as using a web service from within a Flex MXML file. Flex and FCS provide the foundation for Internet applications that deliver continually changing data to the desktop. This technology, called data push, allows a developer to update information on a user's screen without a browser refresh. In our company, we use this technology to build interactive auction sites that, within moments of a new bid, deliver updated prices on thousands of items to users around the world and update business systems that track critical orders, from estimate through final delivery. This coupling of technology can help you build any application where presentation, collaboration, and up-to-the-moment information is paramount.

Before continuing, I must emphasize that this is a basic implementation and a basic example. If you want to dig into more complex implementations, read, "Developing Rich Clients with Macromedia Flex" and "Programming Flash Communication Server." These books have become invaluable to our organization, and I can't say enough positive things about both of them.

The Project and Approach
In this project, a remote shared object on a Flash Communication Server contains data that changes frequently. It is imperative that the client immediately receive this data without any need to refresh.

In our approach, we connect to FCS server, attach to the remote shared object, and display the data in a Flex DataGrid control. Then, using FCS and Flex, we push changes to the client with Flex data-binding capabilities, so that the DataGrid displays updated data as changes occur.

The Project Scope
You can accomplish 95% of this project solely through MXML constructs, without ever writing a line of ActionScript; however, there are a few issues to understand.

  • Flex has components available for WebService and RemoteObject connections that you can easily access through MXML. Our team wanted to offer this same feature for FCS connections and gain some event listener and broadcasting capabilities.
  • The SharedObject class is static, and therefore it is not used from within MXML in the same way as familiar Flex components. Our team thought that a wrapper for this class that interacted with FCS and provided the user with viable events would be a useful.
If the above points are a bit foreign right now, that is okay. They will become clearer in the course of this and other articles; also, using the following components, you can still work with FCS.

Please take a moment and review FCSService and SharedRemote class documentation, available from the fcs_flex_sample.zip that you downloaded at the beginning of this article.

  • FCSService documentation (fcsservice_class_readme.html)
  • SharedRemote documentation (sharedremote_class_readme.html)
  • Examples of using the two classes together (two_classes_example.html)
  • FCSService.as
  • SharedRemote.as
Now read on to assemble the application.

The Layout
The following example creates a DataGrid control that displays in 90% of the available horizontal and vertical space.

You can create the following MXML file and name it flexFCS_01.mxml, or you can open the solution file (flexFCS_01.mxml) available in the ZIP file that you downloaded in the Requirements section of this article.

Example 1: flexFCS_01.mxml
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<mx:Application xmlns:mx="http://www.macromedia.com/2003/mxml"
xmlns="*" creationComplete="initializeApplication(event)">

      var myData:Array;
      function initializeApplication( event )

    //We are called by the creation complete event of the application tag
    //Instantiate a new Array
      myData = new Array();
<mx:DataGrid id="display_grid" dataProvider="{myData}" width="90%" height="90%"/>
<!--Created a DataGrid and bound the dataProvider to myData--> </mx:Application>

The example specifies the dataProvider property for the DataGrid control as a variable named myData. In the creationComplete event of the <mx:Application> tag, the example calls initializeApplication, which instantiates myData as an instance of Array.

When you run this example, you a DataGrid control and other information displays. Next, you will add the functionality.

Flash Communication Server
Flex and FCS create a client/server environment. Using the MXML code in the flexFCS_01.mxml file, Flex creates a client application that executes on a user's machine. FCS acts as the server in this relationship, providing data and updates to the client.

This article is about interfacing two components, not programming FCS. For more on FCS check out the books mentioned in the beginning of the article. For now, I provide a basic server-side script to demonstrate the interface.

Place file, main.asc (included with the ZIP file in the Requirements section) on FCS server in a directory called random in the \Flash Communication Server MX\applications\ directory.

This file sets up a simple shared object on FCS server. The object has 10 slots, named 0-9. Each of these slots will have a random number (Figure 1). This random number changes every two seconds and FCS pushes the results to the client.

The Connection
At this point you have a simple client application, created in Flex, and a FCS application. Now you will make the client display the changing data from FCS. You accomplish this in two phases. First, you connect to FCS and the Remote Shared Object. Second, you receive information back from FCS and process it for display purposes.

First, add the following highlighted lines to Example 1 (flexFCS_01.mxml) or open the solution file, flexFCS_02.mxml, which is available from the fcs_flex_sample.zip that you downloaded at the beginning of this article.

More Stories By Michael Labriola

Michael Labriola is a founding partner and senior consultant at Digital Primates IT Consulting Group. Digital Primates analyzes client business processes and develops custom solutions that extend the latest technology.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
SYS-CON Italy News Desk 03/01/06 06:11:57 PM EST

Communication Server (FCS) together provide an amazing toolbox that will undoubtedly provide inspiration to thousands of developers and projects. Unfortunately, without concrete examples and guidelines for good practices on their integration, we spent many hours on tiny issues that, with additional information, could have been easily circumnavigated.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...