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Site Graphics and Multimedia Design Forum

Flash to display dynamic data
How to create an animation with changeable content?

 3:19 am on Jan 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello all... I know just enough about Flash to teach other people the basics and enough to want to do more. Problem is, I am isolated at a high school where no one in the whole county even knows as much as I do about it and that leaves me with no one to ask my hundreds of questions to. So..... please help.

What I was thinking of making was a Flash animation that showed the layout of my school building and when the user moused over a room a box would pop up with information about the room (ie. the teachers in it, subjects taught, phone extention, etc.). I think I figured out how to do this, but my idea came with static information to be displayed in the box that popped up. What I was wondering was is there some way to have the information drawn from a database where the information could be referenced say in boxes (like A10, B10 and C10) then if the info changed I could just change the spreadsheet rather than go into the actual flash and change the info there?

I hope you get what I am talking about. I have a feeling this is pretty heavy duty stuff I am thinking about but I thought I would ask anyway.




 4:01 am on Jan 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would think it to be easier to use flat text files for this task, each room would have its own text file that can be edited outside of flash.

Have a look around at flashkit.com they have a sample swf for importing text.

Maybe a database would be better, but me and db's don't seem to get along to well. ;)


 4:30 am on Jan 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

What server side language do you have available to connect to databases. What you are asking is not that tough. Also what version of Flash are you using?


 1:46 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Using Flash 5 (not MX, it costs almost $2000 to outfit my whole lab with new software). As for server applications, that is a great question. I am sure I could put anything I wanted there, the administrator is pretty agreeable. The only question would be... what to put there.


 3:16 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

What are you running on the web server. Is it a linux box with apache or is it a windows box with IIS?


 8:26 pm on Jan 5, 2003 (gmt 0)


You can also get an Adobe product called Graphics Server (formerly AlterCast) that will take text input from a file and then alter a graphic based on that input. You would create your pop-up box as an image and then the Graphics Server would remake that image when you changed the file holding the text to be displayed in the pop-up box.

The Graphics Server works very well, for example, on product icons for websites. Say my widget picture icon has text that lists its current price. If I want to change the prices for widgets then I just change the price in the database/text file and feed that into the Graphics Server which basically runs a script which pulls in the new price onto the appropriate layer and re-saves the graphic file.


 3:08 am on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Excel can export to a flatfile database

Does that mean he would have to upload the SWF along witht he text file?


 3:11 am on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Flash allows website integration to pull info from regular web ways and you can also read in content from a text file without a server side language.


 3:59 am on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

seems kiwanji went over to flashkit.

anyway, php with the ming-module (swf creation on the fly) might be an appropriate, os independent solution for you.


 6:39 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello all, no I am not gone. This seems a bit above my head. I did find a javascript that will do most of what I want. I don't like it that it wont be in Flash, but at least the job will get done.

"Flash allows website integration to pull info from regular web ways and you can also read in content from a text file without a server side language."

I am interested in what Korkus said. I would like to make this as simple as possible and not having to use applications running on the werver would be the best bet.

That said, I got word that our server "is a Unix box (FreeBSD) with Apache". Does that mean anything to anyone else? And this is after I have taken a networking class. Sad isn't it? I understand what Unix is but I am not sure how to make it so that this situation would work.

Like I said before, computers were supposed to make life easier.


 6:48 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Getting data from a text file without server side scripting.

tutorials on PHP and flash

If you want quick and easy use a text file for dynamic info in a Flash movie. Since you are using apache you should have access to PHP. You can integrate databases and all PHP stuff into the flash movie on the fly.


 8:49 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks Korkus, thats the first piece of scripting in Flash i have ever understood!

I would just have trouble creating the text form.

Would Flash be able to call a text file made by a cgi script? (ex: NewsPro spits out a TXT file to be included by SSI).

Could I also call a variable located in a regular .pl or .cgi file?


 10:04 pm on Jan 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

You should be able to use the txt file and call variables using cgi. I haven't used cgi but that stuff is not very hard with ASP.


 4:14 pm on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the link to the permadi site. I think I can make this work.

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