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Author: Nuno Mira | Website:

Listing image files in a directory with PHP

Min Flash version:

ActionScript version:

Accompanying thread:

Other requirements:
A PHP enabled server (at least with version 4.3)

What you’ll learn:

You’ll learn how to read the contents of a folder full of images and to create XML dynamically using PHP.
Then, you’ll load the XML into Flash and create a slideshow.


You have lots of images that are being shown in a Flash site. It’s just images, no description, no date, no author... so a Data Base (or a CMS) would be overkill for the task.
Obviously you could create the XML file by hand, but that’s why I said “lots of images”.

If this isn’t enough to convince you, you can also consider that the image files are replaced frequently or that all your client knows is using an FTP program.


You create a PHP script that reads the contents of a folder and generates the XML content dynamically.


Flash loads this XML content and starts loading and displaying the images.

This PHP script may either create an actual XML file on the server, or output the XML content directly.

Creating an actual XML file requires that the client (or whoever) runs the script manually, every time new images are uploaded, but it saves server resources. She does this by visiting the URL of the script in her browser, e.g:
In this case images.xml is created (or updated), and that’s the file that Flash will be loading.

Having the PHP script output the XML content requires no further intervention from anyone, but wastes server resources as for each request, the contents of the directory will be read (obviously this has little or no impact with just a few images and not too many requests).
In this case, list-files.php will be loaded directly by Flash.

» Level Intermediate

Added: 2011-03-17
Rating: 1 Votes: 1
(10 being the highest)
» Author
Nuno Mira has been a Flash Developer for 9 years. He loves teaching, and learning. When he isn't coding he may be surfing or snowboarding.
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