Asual

Monday,
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 asual.com 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.

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