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Author: Tiran Dagan | Website: http://www.TiranDagan.com

How to avoid the problematic FScommand and pass info into a Flash movie

Introduction

The only documented way to communicate with Flash is by way of the FScommand. This requires browser support of communication with Flash and is very problematic. In fact, a close examination at the Macromedia Browser support matrix (Look Here) reveals that this method does NOT work with Netscape v 3 & 4 for Mac 68K and Windows 3.1, does not work with any version of Netscape 6.x and does not work with any version of IE for the MAC. There is however a secret trick that can allow you to send information to the flash film from any page, or form. You could even create a SWF file which acts as a form processing page. Wow!

From the top to bottom: The trick

I can’t take the suspense. Here’s what we will do: We will pass the information that we want to deliver to the movie to the containing HTML page. How that information arrives does not matter. It could be by a TYPED=”HIDDEN” form field, or a parameterized URL such as this:

http://www.domain.com/container.html?param1=param1&param2=param2

The trick is to pass it on from the page to the SWF. After you read all of my rubbish you will realize how easy that is. But for now I would like to concentrate on what you could accomplish:

  1. Controlling the movie play – How about setting up a Movie that can handle various user selections, and having links from different pages that affect the way the movie plays after it is loaded. For example: http://www.domain.com/container.html?targetframe=7
  2. Passing form information- How about a html form page that returns a confirmation page written in Flash that displays the user’s selections?
  3. Platform control function – How about browser detection, which is impossible within flash? What if you detected the user is running on a slower Mac and could pass a parameter instructing the film to play at a frame rate of 12 fps instead of 24 fps?

 

The list is endless and you get the idea. The problem is cross platform compatability: How do you do this without FScommand which does not work with all browser and requires ActiveX technology or other evil things (see this article).

» Level Intermediate

Added: 2001-10-17
Rating: 8 Votes: 43
(10 being the highest)
» Author
At the age of 14, Tiran got his first "gig" as a programmer for a film production company. Since then, he has managed large development teams on PC, VAX and Unix. His roots are in the Z80, 8086 and Apple Green Book of operating system mnemonics, but Tiran incorporates his extensive background in art, music and general knowledge into object-oriented programming. His work combines video, audio, animations and server side programming.
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