This book should be subtitled Everything you wanted to know about XML and Flash but were afraid to ask! It introduces you to XML and shows you why, where, when, and how to use XML in Flash.
I wrote this book for both Flash designers and developers. It provides a great starting point if you havent worked with XML before. Youll understand about the history of XML and learn about creating XML documents. Ill show you where XML fits into the web development world, and well look at some of the related recommendations including XPath, XML schemas, and Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT).
If you have Office 2003 for the PC, youll also learn how Word, Excel, and Access 2003 can generate XML documents for use in Flash. Your clients can use these software packages to generate XML content for the Flash applications that you build.
The bulk of the book will work with XML in Flash. Ill show you the different ways that you can include XML content in your applications. Well start by writing ActionScript to load and modify XML documents. Then well take a closer look at the data components that ship with Flash and use them with UI components like the List and DataGrid. Data components are great if you prefer to work visually. They can speed up the development process because you dont need to write any ActionScript. Ill also show you how to script these components .
The rest of the book looks at web services and XML sockets. Ill finish by showing a process that will help you to decide how to work with XML in Flash. By the end of the book, youll have built several Flash XML applications that youll be able to use in your work and personal projects.
The examples in the book assume a basic understanding of ActionScript, but you dont have to be an advanced coder to make them work. Ive purposely kept the design of these applications very simple and used function-based code rather than ActionScript 2.0 classes. I believe this approach makes it easier for people who arent full-time coders.
Although the book includes some server-side code examples, it doesnt aim to teach server-side coding. Im a .NET developer so Ive included VB .NET code. Ive included a PHP version as well, and you can also create your own server-side files, written in other languages.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as Ive enjoyed putting it together. During the writing process, I was continually amazed at the power of XML as a web technology. To me, the combination of Flash and XML is unbeatable, and I hope youll discover the same thing. I see Flash as the future of the Web, and XML will help to cement that position.