Making Flash Behave

Nelson showed me two tools today that will come in handy on a interactive map and charting project I’m cooking up for The Washington Post.

I like how Flash gives me a stable platform for mixing graphics and programming, but I don’t like how it breaks web practices like being able to go “back” to the previous view or bookmark the current view. These two tools address these issues.

I’ll need to rewrite parts of SWFAddress since I prefer programming to a single frame, not across multiple, linear frames.

swf address logo

SWFAddress is a small, but powerful library that provides deep linking for Flash and Ajax. It’s a developer tool, allowing creation of unique virtual URLs that can point to a website section or an application state. SWFAddress enables a number of important capabilities which are missing in today’s rich web technologies including:

  • Utilizing browser history and reload buttons.
  • Bookmarking in a browser or social website
  • Sending links via email or instant messenger
  • Finding specific content with the major search engines

SWFObjectis a small Javascript file used for embedding Adobe Flash content. The script can detect the Flash plug-in in all major web browsers (on Mac and PC) and is designed to make embedding Flash movies as easy as possible. It is also very search engine friendly, degrades gracefully, can be used in valid HTML and XHTML 1.0 documents*, and is forward compatible, so it should work for years to come.

This tool makes it easier to setup the FlashVars on the HTML side that will be read in as part of the URL for the Flash movie and initialize the view state to a predefined location or data theme.

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