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Building a Flash Message Board System

Chapter Description

Before Flash MX was released, message boards were almost always HTML constructions. Now they can be deployed using Flash MX and a backend server-side system to great effect. This sample chapter shows you how.

In your online travels, chances are you've come across a message board of some kind. Message boards are complex data systems set up on certain Web sites that allow for online community interaction between the site visitors themselves.

Message boards can replace traditional help desks and customer support in many respects. They allow for the back-and-forth posting/replying to textual topics and threads.

Many are the nights when I run into a problem during the construction of a Flash project. When I need guidance quickly, I go to the Flash forums (message boards). They are well visited, and a lot of brilliant coders filter through the posts there supplying answers. After posting a specific problem, I can usually expect some sort of reply with corrected code in a day or so. That's a huge success for a community site. Before Flash MX was released, message boards were almost always HTML constructions. Now they can be deployed using Flash MX and a backend server-side system to great effect. This chapter shows you how.

Flash MX Message Board Features

The Flash MX message board presented in this chapter (Figure 3.1) has many of the features you expect from a traditional message board system:

  • Topic entries (admin-defined—users cannot add topics)

  • Any visitors can read posts, but must register and login first to be able to post themselves or reply to another post

  • Threads based upon topic entries

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 Our Flash MX messageboard in action.

A new Flash MX component, coupled with dynamic movie clip/text field creation, and new text formatting capabilities allow this system to go far beyond any previous Flash-based message board system. To administer this message board system, you can edit entries by hand (not advisable) or you can create your own admin panel (suggested).

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