Book Image

Flash with Drupal

By : Travis Tidwell, Dries Buytaert
Book Image

Flash with Drupal

By: Travis Tidwell, Dries Buytaert

Overview of this book

Due to its power and expandability, Drupal has become one of the most popular open source content management systems. At the same time, Flash has been adopted for its ability to create beautiful and dynamic web applications. By combining these technologies, you can create Flash applications that are both visually stunning and rich in content. This book is an in depth discussion and tutorial on how to integrate Flash applications with Drupal CMS. It will describe the best techniques and practices for integrating Flash technology with the power and flexibility of Drupal by building real-life Flash applications. Within this book, you will learn how to build Flash applications that show text from within Drupal and also present images, music, and video within a single Flash application. You will also be able to take advantage of the expandable fields and content filtering provided from the CCK and Views modules to add flexibility and power to your Flash applications. Finally, you will learn how to add your own custom functionality to Drupal and then utilize that from within your Flash applications leaving you with a world of possibilities. This book starts out with a simple introduction to Flash and Drupal technology where you will create a simple Flash application and then embed that within Drupal. From there, each subsequent chapter builds on the previous chapters tackling a new and challenging task. For each new task, you will take a step-by-step approach to building a real-life application that utilizes the feature introduced within that chapter. You will also explore alternative design approaches that will eliminate the current design challenges that developers face when building Flash-driven Drupal sites; and all this while staying true to the Object Oriented Principles that govern the foundation of the ActionScript 3 language. By the end of this book, you will be able to apply all the lessons learned from this book to any other use case you may encounter.
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Flash with Drupal
About the Author
About the Reviewer

Chapter 1. Flash with Drupal

It is no secret that the web sites that become the most popular on the Web are those which possess a series of traits that appeal to the masses; most prominently, content and beauty. Because of this trend, many web developers strive to produce sites that are not only beautiful, but also rich in content. In order to satisfy the beauty requirement, Flash has easily risen to the top as being an ideal portal to deliver dynamic and beautiful web experiences to its users. At the same time, with the explosion of content on the Internet, Drupal has stood out, among other content management systems, as a powerful and expandable means to manage content. It only seems natural, then, to combine these two incredible technologies together to create the ultimate user experience.

In this book, we will learn how to integrate Flash with Drupal by taking a hands-on approach to building real-life Flash applications for Drupal CMS. Each chapter will introduce a different and more difficult challenge, where we will continually build onto the skills learned from the previous chapters. It is my goal, that by the end of this book, you should be able to venture off on your own and build your very own Flash applications that integrate beautifully with Drupal. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to take a step back and understand the motivation for this book. We also need to touch base on some of the basics for integrating Flash with Drupal, which include:

  • Why Flash with Drupal?

  • Who is this book for?

  • Getting started with Drupal

  • Adding content to Drupal

  • Getting started with Flash

  • Creating a Flash application

  • Adding Flash content to Drupal

Why Flash with Drupal?

Within the past couple of years, there has been a major paradigm shift in the world of product development. Everything from phones, web sites, and automobiles has been affected from this movement, where the importance of functionality has seemed to have been replaced with style and usability. No longer do the products that offer maximum features sell more than their competitors. Instead, the products that offer style and ease of use are the ones that rule the trade and are considered to be the "next big thing".

Web development is no stranger to this trend. Just take a look at some of your favorite web sites and you will realize how important style and usability are to the world of web development. With this movement taking hold, it is easy to see how Flash technology has risen to the top as being the portal of choice for many web site user interfaces. Flash offers many tools that make it easy to create stylish and easy-to-use applications, and because of this, many people know a Flash web site when they see one (and usually, remember it). What is not so apparent about Flash, though, is its lack of ability to effectively manage and deliver dynamic content. Fortunately, this is where Drupal shines.

With the explosion of content on the Internet, Content Management Systems (CMS) have become mainstream for any web site administrator, who wishes to manage the onslaught of new content on his/her site. Although there are many different flavors of CMS, Drupal is rapidly becoming the system of choice because it offers a powerful and extensible framework that can mould to any application. However, when it comes to style and usability, Drupal requires a lot of work to get the look and feel in the way that you and your visitors would expect from any top-notch web site. With that said, one can easily see how the combination of Flash and Drupal is a match made in heaven between beauty and the brain.