Welcome!

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

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, ColdFusion

Adobe Flex: Article

SWFAddress - Deep Linking for Flash

A new open source project

SWFAddress is a new open source project that provides deep linking and search engine indexing for Flash Websites and applications. In other words, it enables the Back, Forward, and Reload buttons of the browser and creates unique URLs that can be sent over e-mail or IM. Recently it reached version 1.0 and quickly gained the attention of top design agencies and interactive developers. SWFAddress started as a small experiment that aimed to enhance a typical Flash Website by presenting the portfolio of a fellow photographer. It adopted all the best practices available on the Internet and became one of the best solutions among the growing number of similar libraries. After a successful release candidate, SWFAddress went beyond history management and bookmarking by providing an innovative approach for dealing with search engines. SWFAddress's way to success is based on simplicity, a rich feature set, and quality. SWFAddress is the third free software project of Asual DZZD, a small company from Sofia, Bulgaria. Previously known for its user interface framework, EnFlash, and ActionScript preprocessor, EnLarge, Asual continues to provide new ideas and solutions that target the Adobe Flash Player Platform. All the company's projects rely on the hosting services of Sourceforge.net and take part in the growing community of OSFlash.org. SWFAddress is released under the terms of the open source MIT license.

Technical facts about the project include:

  • SWPAddress is a combination of the JavaScript and ActionScript classes that communicate via the ExternalInterface introduced in Flash 8.
  • Provides three different ActionScript classes for each version of the language.
  • Supports Flash Player 8+ and all the major browsers including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera.
  • Uses mod_rewrite with PHP and UrlRewrite with JSP to provide SEO support for Google, MSN, Yahoo and Ask.
  • Comes with sample scenarios for Flash, Flex and MTASC.
SWFAddress was the first add-on for the fantastic SWFObject script by Geoff Stearns. Seamless integration with such a popular Flash embedding solution was one of the key values that attracted the developer community. The increased request for SWFAddress will probably lead to support for alternative methods such as the default Flex 2 templates or custom-made Flash writing scripts. SWFAddress can be quickly added to a Website that uses SWFObject only by inserting the JavaScript file like this:

<script type="text/javascript" src="swfobject/swfobject.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="swfaddress/swfaddress.js"></script>

The internal implementation of SWFAddress is simple and straightforward. Once a Flash movie containing the library is embedded in an HTML page, it automatically initializes itself and provides the developer with notification of state changes that need to be implemented. This might not be the easiest task for everybody, but SWFAddress streamlines the process by fully supporting testing workflow inside the Flash Program and Standalone Player. URL changes can be invoked from mouse-click events, frame actions, or HTML links.

Here is sample code that can be added to a MovieClip button:

this.onRelease = function () {

      SWFAddress.setValue("/portfolio");
}

For links in HTML-formatted TextFields, the following approach should be used:

<a href="asfunction:SWFAddress.setValue,/portfolio/">Go to Portfolio</a>

SWFAddress has a single onChange event where the navigation logic needs to be coded. The complexity may vary depending on the Website, but if it's planned from the beginning, it may improve maintainability by centralizing all the controller actions. A simple navigation handling can look like this:

SWFAddress.onChange = function () {

      var navigation = new Object();
      navigation.home = {frame: 1, title: "Welcome"};
      navigation.about = {frame: 10, title: "About Us"};
      navigation.contact = {frame: 20, title: "Contact Us"};

      var value = SWFAddress.getValue();

      website_mc.gotoAndStop(navigation[value].frame);

      SWFAddress.setTitle(navigation[value].title);
}

The setTitle method allows you to add unique titles to every section of the Website and they will appear in the browser's titlebar. It should be used inside the onChange event in order to correctly display the initial title value when the page loads.

The SEO support of SWFAddress is probably the most unique feature of the project. It enables the generation of real links that expose the appropriate content to search engines. The magic happens with some interesting URL rewriting and some trivial server-side code. The following is an example how it works for a Website located at http://www.domain.com that contains a portfolio section.

SWFAddress uses http://www.domain.com/#/portfolio/. The URL that can get indexed is http://www.domain.com/portfolio/ and therefore it should exist as a link in the HTML code of the page. When someone visits the indexed address, the rewriting functionality makes a redirect to the URL that SWFAddress expects. Everything happens transparently for the end user and further navigation through the Website correctly changes the Address bar value. The situation is different when the same link is followed by a search engine bot. In this case the address is rewritten without any redirection to http://www.domain.com/?swfaddress=/portfolio/. The page that handles all this should use a server-side technology in order to generate the appropriate content depending on the "swfaddress" parameter value.

Requests containing GET parameters such as http://www.domain.com/#/portfolio/?desc=true&year=2001 are handled similarly. The search engines will index http://www.domain.com/portfolio/?desc=true&year=2001 and the script will expect http://www.domain.com/?swfaddress=/portfolio/&desc=true&year=2001.

The result is a fully indexed Flash Website with deep linking support.

The following sample queries showcase how the SEO sample hosted at Asual.com is indexed:

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:asual.com+aliquet
http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=site:asual.com+praesent
http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=site:asual.com+torquent

While this approach improves the usability of Flash content over the Web, it also requires an additional effort, such as some manual work for static Websites and some smart code for dynamic ones. The best case will be a Flash CMS that automates the whole process.

Something similar has still not been created for AJAX-heavy Websites, although a part of it is documented in the Unique URLs pattern on AjaxPatterns.org. It will be great for both Flash and AJAX if a technique like this gets adopted and improved over time.

SWFAddress promises to continue adding interesting functionality like AJAX support, transparent user tracking with Google Analytics, and enhanced event handling. It should definitely be considered for your next Flash project.

More Stories By Rostislav Hristov

Rostislav Hristov works for Asual Interactive Systems. Based in Sofia, Bulgaria, Asual provides outsourcing services to clients all over the world.

Comments (0)

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.