The first question you need to ask yourself when laying the groundwork for a Flash MX based kiosk on a touch-screen system is: "Will I be able to make the kiosk do what I need it to do with Flash alone, or will I have to use additional software to complement Flash MX?" Perhaps you may need to control hardware devices or peripherals attached to the kiosk. For example: Your kiosk project may need to receive input from a bar code scanner that is attached to the kiosk, or receive input from some other specialty input device.

Obviously, these extra devices may dictate the platform or operating system that is the core of your kiosk, but one avenue to consider if you are deploying on a Microsoft-based platform, such as Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, would be to use an ActiveX control to handle talking to the hardware. FScommands or geturls issued from within your Flash MX application to a hidden frame in a browser-based design could trigger commands that contain embedded ActiveX objects. These ActiveX objects could be programmed to talk (at a lower level than Flash is currently capable of) to the actual system drivers, such as a bar code scanner serial driver, or even the operating system itself.

Another solution would be to run a web server directly on the kiosk and use a back-end scripting language or middleware to handle the communication to your hardware. Writing a custom Apache module or an ISAPI or DLL for Microsoft IIS to talk to your hardware is certainly an option you may pursue. Although those are not necessarily skills that every Flash MX programmer has in his personal toolbox, these are the types of challenges you may come up against in developing a kiosk system with Flash MX as the primary user interface and application. Thus, you should keep an open mind to additional expenses or development costs associated with using Flash MX in this manner should the situation call for it.


If you have a large-scale deployment that requires customized control over the environment, then you might also explore the option of licensing the Flash Player Source Code SDK directly from Macromedia. Macromedia has an online application form at:

There are very stringent requirements set forth by Macromedia for this program, and not everyone who applies will be able to participate. Macromedia has geared this program to third parties who can meet certain financial and business criteria. These criterion, along with others at Macromedia's discretion, are used to determine if a company can participate in this program. So this option might not be for the individual Flash MX developer, but it is a good thing to know about and have as an option to consider if the project you are working on would merit a license. If Macromedia approves you, you have full access to the Flash Player source code, whereby you could customize it directly from the original C++ source code to talk directly to the device you are deploying on. Imagine the possibilities of being able to add functionality to the Flash Player at that level. Currently, this program covers the Flash 5 Player. Nothing has been announced as of the writing of this book in regards to the Flash 6 Player.

These are just a few examples of a variety of hurdles you may need to overcome. The best way to identify these obstacles or challenges in a project is to begin with a detailed road map of what exactly your kiosk needs to do, and what specialty hardware will need to be used. This should be as detailed as possible so that you may lay out your plan of attack. The main items listed next should definitely be considered when creating such a road map because they are crucial to designing and deploying a Flash-based kiosk. This is in addition, of course, to the road map or functionality outline of the Flash application itself.

  • Will the Flash Player be all that is required for full application functionality?

  • Will the kiosk be browser-based, standalone, or a custom Flash container?

  • What types of input devices will the kiosk require other than the touch screen?

  • Will the kiosk require custom hardware or software to complement the Flash Player?

  • Will the kiosk require a live network connection?

  • Will the kiosk be using dynamically generated data?

  • On what platform will the kiosk be deployed?

  • How much screen real estate will the kiosk require?

  • What type of touch screen will the kiosk need?

  • In what type of environment will the kiosk live?

  • What is the demographic of the user of the kiosk?

  • What special needs of the user should be taken into consideration?

Macromedia Flash Enabled. Flash Design and Development for Devices
Macromedia Flash Enabled. Flash Design and Development for Devices
ISBN: 735711771
Year: 2002
Pages: 178 © 2008-2017.
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