Preparing traditional developers to develop in Flash requires some new terminology and careful separation of code and interface elements.
by Ian Bogost
Oct 21, 2002
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Modern desktop applications rely on an event-based model, where the program reacts to user input. In event-based programs, GUI components such as buttons and list boxes generate events, and the program responds accordingly. Since most web applications rely on middleware like COM+ or EJB, they are object-based rather than event-based. Events in a browser are converted into request-response communications, with application directives passed through an interface language like COM to an object request broker.
One challenge facing developers is how to manage code inside Flash movies. Developers programming Flash combine these two methodologies in the context of the Flash timeline. Buttons and other interface elements can generate events to which ActionScript methods may respond. In addition, the timeline itself generates events, such as when the playback head enters a frame. Developers can attach their code to objects such as Movie Clips and to timeline frames. As a result, interface elements, timeline organization, and code commingle in the Flash IDE, which can wreak havoc on code manageability. Figure 2 and Figure 3 show actions attached to both a timelime keyframe and to a Movie Clip tracked as a button.