Third-party tools are very important for exploring different ways to integrate special content, such as 3D or video. Explore some of your options through downloading trial versions. These third-party tools are built specifically with integrating with Flash in mind. Also, integrating server-side software is sometimes necessary depending on what you need to get done. The following links include some good reference sites for application server software.
Toon Boom Studio: www.toonboom.com
Professional animation and drawing tool primarily used by animators and then directly imported into Flash.
Swift 3D: www.swift3d.com or www.erain.com
A stand-alone 3D program that is used to create content that can be imported into Flash. You can also use an exporter to save SWF files from 3D Studio Max.
Sorenson Squeeze: www.sorenson.com
Software that's used to compress media that can be imported into Flash. You can output as video, SWF files, or FLV files (among others) that can then be used in your Flash applications.
Wildform Flix: www.wildform.com
Flix compresses your video so it can be imported into Flash. Much like Squeeze, Flix can be used to create many different kinds of video files, including SWF and FLV files. There are several different versions of this software available. Wildform also offers other tools that can be used in conjunction with Flash.
Create animations and more, easily and without having to create a FLA file in Flash. Many interesting effects are available from the website.
ActionScript Viewer (ASV): www.buraks.com/asv
This software is incredibly useful if you have ever lost a FLA file. ASV allows you to view inside a Flash document and view the code that is used to make it work. You can also view Timeline placement of instances and grab graphics from inside of the SWF file. It does not re-create the FLA file for you (this is simply not possible).
Flash Jester: www.flashjester.com
Tools used to extend the capabilities of Flash.
SWF Studio: www.northcode.com
Tool used to extend the capabilities of Flash Projector files.
This is a C library for generating SWF files and is a series of wrappers for Python, C++, PHP, and more.
Flash Remoting: www.macromedia.com/software/flashremoting
The official word on Flash Remoting MX. Remoting components that you can install with Flash MX 2004 are included in this area of the site. Flash Remoting includes support for ColdFusion MX (included with the server), .NET, and Java. Flash Remoting for .NET and JAVA is not free.
Official Site for Flash Remoting with PHP. This third-party tool is not supported by Macromedia, although it is free.
Flash Communication Server: www.macromedia.com/software/flashcom/
The official part of Macromedia's site for the Flashcom server.
ColdFusion MX 7: www.macromedia.com/software/coldfusion/
The official word on ColdFusion MX 7: an application server that works very well with Flash. The server script you send your form information to was written using CFML, the markup language for ColdFusion.
Get started learning ASP.NET. This site is a good jumping point for learning how to use this server-side language.
The place to start learning or using PHP for your work that integrates with a server.