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It's not clear from your posting if you mean Flex triggering actions on the client or on the server.
If it's on the server you can use lots of methods either via FDS or calling a servlet via an httpRequest.
If you are trying to trigger some action on the client outside of the Flash player you can't do that. The Sandbox security will not allow that to happen.
AIR may allow your application to call local resources but then you're running a desktop application not a Web App.
Thanks a lot for the reply JK, I appreciated. I need it on the server side only. It could be executing a command line tool that communicates with another application, or more diserable running a java method that communicates with the other application. So an http request can achieve that?
Just an FYI even though this isn't needed in this case -
AIR cannot start third party apps at all (without ugly workarounds), unless Adobe has decided to reverse their position on this recently. Alot of people have been asking for this and it may be added at some point. Feature request link below.
A HTTPRequest can invoke anything that the server page can do. I use asp.net, and so have access to the dot.net framework functionality.
If you call a jsp, you can invoke a java commands.