12 May 2008

Flex on Wordpress

This is the name of probably the most interesting SWFAddress sample I showcased at 360Flex Europe. A week ago I found some time to deploy it on and now everybody can experience this linkable and indexable Wordpress powered Flex based website.

The whole idea for this thing came up when I was working on a Flash CS3 based client project that needed a CMS and potentially community features. I already had good experience with Wordpress and I have always believed that it offers the best administrative interface out there. Utilizing such a system for content management is good because it automatically offers you a clean indexable HTML that can be used as a data source for a richer Flash/Flex/Whatever interface. In this sample the Flex movie directly consumes the HTML pages generated by Wordpress and parses the parts it needs without using additional XML dialects. It doesn't use posts and comments but only pages and probably can be extended in the future if there is enough interest.

Although it looked easy at first and I had to overcome some difficulties with Flex. The E4X expressions I used with AS3 in Flash didn't worked exactly the same in Flex 3 so I dived into experiments and tweaks that finally allowed me to achieve everything I wanted. I found it strange that some normal things from the CSS land are not that easy with Flex. Thankfully there are ready to be used solutions for repeated backgrounds and hover link styles. The integration of the SWFAddress PHP code in Wordpress was relatively easy and the result works exactly the same as our SEO sample. The SWFAddress ActionScript implementation became nothing more than a single proxy that requests the corresponding HTML.

19 Mar 2008

Deep linking at 360Flex Europe Conference

I will have the pleasure to take part in the upcoming 360Flex Europe Conference which will be held 7-9 April 2008 at StarHotel Business Palace in Milan, Italy. It's the first European Conference dedicated to Flex/AIR and I'm sure that the atmosphere will be flooded with enthusiasm and interesting ideas. What I really like about 360Flex is that it's more about professionals rather than marketing oriented and I hope to meet lots of nice people there.

As you probably expect my session will be about deep linking with SWFAddress and how it applies to Flex. I hope that by the time of the conference I'll be able to release SWFAddress 2.1 and talk a little bit about the latest improvements and additions. Overall I will focus mostly on practical examples on the following topics:

  • Using SWFObject and SWFAddress with Flex Builder 3
  • SWFAddress vs Flex 3 BrowserManager
  • Deep linking with Flex and Ajax as an alternative to FABridge
  • Extending Flex components with SWFAddress functionality
  • Building indexable Flex content on top of WordPress

If you plan to attend the conference and have any interests in that field don't hesitate to use the comments form and ask for a slide on specific topic. See ya there.



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