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
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.