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Flex Data Communications

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Flex Data Communications Nick Kwiatkowski, Michigan State University Data Communications Why communicate? Your Flex applications most likely want to have fresh data ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Flex Data Communications


1
Flex Data Communications
  • Nick Kwiatkowski, Michigan State University

2
Data Communications
  • Why communicate?
  • Your Flex applications most likely want to have
    fresh data from a database or other webservice
  • You may need to send current data to your
    end-users
  • Three-Tiered applications
  • Data -gt View -gt Controller
  • Your data tier doesn't have to be local!

3
Data Communication Basics
  • Flex currently supports three types of data
    communications with external sources
  • XML via HTTP Requests
  • SOAP Web-Services
  • AMF / Remote Objects
  • With this combination, you can virtually talk to
    any back-end server

4
HTTPService
  • The HTTPService MXML tag allows for the most
    basic communication level between you and a web
    server
  • Mostly used for legacy middleware applications
    and static XML documents
  • Any application that can generate proper XML on
    the fly can talk to your Flex app using this tag

5
HTTPService
  • How it is used
  • Place the HTTPService tag at the application or
    component level (root level) of your current MXML
    document.

6
HTTPService
  • Common Parameters
  • id Used to name the component
  • url The full URL to the component
  • result The event function that will be fired
    when the result came back successfully
  • The XML document will be stored in the
    event.result object
  • fault The event function that will be fired
    when the result did not come back correctly.

7
Web-Services
  • SOAP or Web-Services can easily be called using
    the ltmxWebServicegt component.
  • Web Services allow you to communicate data back
    to the web-server, and retrieve typed objects
    (strings, numbers, arrays, queries)
  • Because it is based on XML, it is very verbose,
    and often slow for large sets of data.

8
Web-Services
  • How it is used
  • Place the ltmxWebServicegt tag at the root level
    of the document (application or component) that
    you are working on.

9
Web-Services
  • Common Parameters
  • id Used to name the object
  • wsdl Points to the WSDL (Web Service
    Descriptor) file. This file is different for
    each language
  • showBusyCursor Changes the current pointer to a
    rotating clock to let the user know something is
    happening

10
Web-Services
  • Passing parameters
  • You can pass parameters to web-services by naming
    operations (methods or functions).
  • The operation tag allows for result or fault
    functions

11
Web-Services
  • Passing Parameters
  • You CAN use binding statements within your
    parameters (to bind to users input, for example)
  • Webservices are Case Sensitive, so make sure that
    your parameters match case
  • Some application servers, such as ColdFusion
    dont care about case-sensitivity
  • Watch out with ColdFusion, because it transforms
    all cases to Uppercase when transmitting data!

12
AMF
  • AMF, or Remote Objects are the most efficient way
    to transmit data between your application server
    and your Flex Application
  • Data is transmitted in Binary, so it is fairly
    compressed
  • Objects will stay in their native form when
    transmitted
  • Very easy to use

13
AMF
  • So, why NOT use AMF?
  • Only ColdFusion, ActionScript and Java are
    supported by Adobe.
  • PHP has an open source solution, however.
  • Fairly hard to setup your environment
  • Requires files to be copied down from your
    development / deployment environment
  • Makes a lot of assumptions that can hurt you your
    first time through.

14
AMF
  • What your need
  • You need to get a copy of services-config.xml
    from your environment.
  • ColdFusion this is your ltwebrootgt/WEB-INF/flex/
  • JRun this is ltwebrootgt/ltear filegt/WEB-INF/flex/
  • If you do not develop your applications locally,
    you need to modify this file.
  • Copy the ColdFusion destination section and
    my-cfamf sections to meet your needs.

15
AMF
  • Services-Config?
  • This file is compiled into your project and will
    convert the destination portion of your
    RemoteObject call to the tcp/ip hostname and port
    numbers
  • Depending on how this file looks, your
    application can be very portable, or not portable
    at all.

16
AMF
  • How it is used
  • Just the same as WebService, but instead of the
    WSDL parameter, you use the destination and
    source parameters
  • Destination Destination from the
    services-config.xml file
  • Source If using ColdFusion, this the path to
    the CFC, in dot notation

17
Advanced Communication
  • By customizing the services-config.xml file, you
    can also enable some advanced communication
  • By using the ltmxProducergt and ltmxConsumergt
    tags, you can produce content to other
    applications or Coldfusion Event Gateways.
  • This allows for Many-to-One or Many-To-Many
    applications with little or no work.

18
ColdFusion Demo
  • What is it, and how is it used with Flex.

19
ASP.NET Demo
  • What is it, and how is it used with Flex?

20
PHP Demo
  • What is it, and how is it used with Flex?

21
ColdFusion and Flex
  • When using ColdFusion with Flex Builder, there
    are certain wizards available to the developer
    which helps make data communications quicker.
  • These need to be installed manually with Flex
    Builder follow the directions in the readme.
  • You also need to configure the Data Sources
    within ColdFusion before you can begin.

22
ColdFusion and Flex
  • Within the Preferences dialog box, go to the RDS
    configuration to setup your connection with
    ColdFusion
  • Context Root and User Name are un-used unless you
    are using the Multi-Server version of ColdFusion

23
ColdFusion and Flex
  • Open the RDS Dataview tab by going to Window -gt
    Show View -gt Other -gt Coldfusion -gt RDS Dataview
  • You will then be shown all the Data Sources
    available to Coldfusion. You can browse the
    data, too!
  • Double-Click to launch the query browser.

24
ColdFusion and Flex
  • Right click on a table to template out CFCs for
    your Flex apps
  • Demo!

25
Where to find more info
  • AMF-PHP Project
  • http//www.amfphp.org
  • Adobe DevNet
  • http//www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/
  • Adobe LiveDocs
  • http//livedocs.adobe.com/flex/2/
  • Community Flex Project
  • http//www.cflex.net

26
Where to find more info
  • Adobe Flex 2 Training from the source
  • Jeff Tapper, et al

27
Questions?
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