Welcome!

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

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, Java, ColdFusion, FlexSeminar.com

Adobe Flex: Article

"Real-World Flex" by Adobe's Christophe Coenraets

Tips and tricks from Adobe's intrepid Flex Evangelist

Some people take the dog for a walk, other go play a round of golf. Not Christophe Coenraets. His idea of a good time is to illustrate Flex and JMS integration by extending a simple "realtime feed" application that he built a while back! Web Developer's & Designer's Journal is proud to bring you each month two of the month's best tips from Adobe's intrepid Flex Hero.

Using Flex 2 with Flash Media Server
I recently built a proof of concept that included a call center integration scenario. The use case revolved around a user getting stuck while trying to complete an online process, and engaging in a real time collaboration session with a customer services representative to sort out the problem.

The nature of the collaboration between the end-user and the support representative was very rich and included the following features:

  1. Chat
  2. Videoconference / video chat
  3. The support representative was able to "drive" the end-user's UI
  4. The support representative was also able to remotely fill in the user's form. In other words, data typed in the support rep's application automatically appeared (in real time) in the user's app.
From the end-user point of view, all this was done "in context" without ever leaving the application, and without starting any other application.

The application turned out to be really easy to implement with Flex 2:

  • Features (1) and (3) were enabled by the new Message Service in Flex 2.
  • Feature (4) was enabled by the Data Services in Flex 2. Using the data services, two clients can point to the same destination (the same data set). Changes made by one client are automatically reflected in the other client. No code required!
  • Feature (2) was enabled by the Flash Media Server.
Here's a simple example of how to integrate Flex and Flash Media Server to support rich media streaming and video-conferencing. This is surprisingly easy to do with just a few lines of code.

To run this example you will have to:

  1. Install FlexBuilder 2. You can download the beta here: http://labs.adobe.com/.
  2. Install the Flash Media Server (you can download a free developer edition here: www.adobe.com/products/flashmediaserver/
  3. Download the sample application code here: http://coenraets.com/apps/fms.zip
  4. In C:\Program Files\Macromedia\Flash Media Server 2\applications\flex_videoconference, create a directory called flex_videoconference and copy the main.asc file in that directory
  5. Create a FlexBuilder project and copy fms.mxml and VideoContainer.as in that project
  6. Run fms.mxml
The application starts your webcam, publishes the captured video stream to Flash Media Server.and then "plays" the video streamed by Flash Media Sever in a second video component.

Embedding HTML in a Flex Application using an IFrame
I have recently been involved in several projects where there was a need to embed HTML content in a Flex application. Depending on the specific requirements of your application, there are a couple of approaches you can use...

  1. The Flex Text components (Label, Text, TextArea) support basic HTML formatting through their htmlText attribute. You can find an example of this approach in the Samples Explorer where the Code Viewer uses the HTML capabilities of the TextArea to provide syntax coloring.
  2. You can embed a Flex application in a page that also contains traditional HTML. The Flex application can communicate with the HTML document (and the other way around) through JavaScript. You can also embed multiple Flex applications in a page. These applications can then communicate directly with each others using the LocalConnection API.
Note: I am not advocating that you use this technique as your default approach to combine Flex and HTML content. Depending on your application, the approaches (1) and (2) described above may represent a better solution. If these approaches don't meet your specific requirements, the technique implemented in the attached example can be very useful.

In some cases, these approaches may not go far enough: You may need a single Flex application that embeds HTML content with no restriction in terms of HTML tags and features supported.

In this case, another approach is to position an IFrame on top of a specific area of your Flex application to provide a container for the HTML content which will then appear embedded in the application. This technique may initially sound complex or cumbersome to implement, especially if the different containers of your Flex application resize dynamically and you have to keep the IFrame in sync. In the attached example, I abstracted the complexity of this approach in an IFrame component written in mxml. The IFrame component extends Canvas and is used like any other Flex container. Behind the scenes, it acts as a proxy for the actual HTML IFrame (Figure 1). For example, when the IFrame component is resized or moved it automatically asks the HTML document to resize/move the actual IFrame.

More Stories By Christophe Coenraets

Christophe Coenraets currently works as a Senior Technical Evangelist at Adobe. Before joining Adobe, Christophe was an evangelist at Macromedia, focusing on Rich Internet Applications and Enterprise integration. Prior to Macromedia, Christophe was the head of Java and J2EE Technical Evangelism at Sybase, where he started working on Java Enterprise projects in 1996. Before joining Sybase in the US, Christophe held different positions at Powersoft in Belgium, including Principal Consultant for PowerBuilder, and Manager of the Professional Services organization. Before joining Powersoft, Christophe worked as a developer and architect on several retail and BPM projects. Christophe has been a regular speaker at conferences worldwide for the last 10 years.

Comments (3) 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
SShah 06/14/06 05:02:53 AM EDT

Hello,

i have tried this example but getting the error that NetConnection object cannot be connected.Can anyone help me resolve this issue.

Web Developer's & Designer's Journal 05/22/06 04:16:47 PM EDT

Some people take the dog for a walk, other go play a round of golf. Not Christophe Coenraets. His idea of a good time is to illustrate Flex and JMS integration by extending a simple 'realtime feed' application that he built a while back! Web Developer's & Designer's Journal is proud to bring you each month two of the month's best tips from Adobe's intrepid Flex Hero.

Web Developer's & Designer's Journal 05/22/06 03:30:48 PM EDT

Some people take the dog for a walk, other go play a round of golf. Not Christophe Coenraets. His idea of a good time is to illustrate Flex and JMS integration by extending a simple 'realtime feed' application that he built a while back! Web Developer's & Designer's Journal is proud to bring you each month two of the month's best tips from Adobe's intrepid Flex Hero.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.