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Can you clarify your question?
Flash doesn't directly manipulate any files.*
You can manipulate XML data in as2 and as3 but not actual files. For as3 is much easier. But flash is a client that runs in the browser... so you can't manipulate ANY files on the server without server side scripting.
*except local SharedObjects... but that's not relevant to your question
I will have to clarify. I understand that I Flash is a client-side interface.
What I'm asking is if AS3 is robust enough for me to say, write another guestbook application without using a datagrid or over-coded Actionscripts just to pull data from an XML file. The data grid simplifies things with its ability to just plug into the XML file, which is fine and all, but I'd like to be able to have the data show up any way I like without using that component, or any other component that will do it for me.
The server-side functionality I can handle just fine.
OK. I needed to check because we get a few people here asking how they can save files with flash etc.
The data-binding and connectors etc that I presume (based on your description) you've used with the datagrid example are intended as a way to avoid having to code your own XML conversions and communications. I've never actually used them myself. I probably should use them more... but I tend to work with XML directly.
You could have done what you are describing in as2 using the flash XML object and creating your own dedicated UI for your guestbook, based on dedicated actionscript for interpreting and working with your XML data format. But of course that would mean quite a bit more coding if you wanted something more streamlined than the databinding setup. The same would be true for as3 if it were possible...I just checked and databinding/schema is not enabled for as3 datagrid. But maninpulating and working with XML itself in as3 is much easier, so that might help compared to as2.
You could also avoid XML altogether and use amfphp (there is a version of this for asp as welI believe), which means you could expose some of the server side functions to the flash client (remoting). And with amfphp/remoting you don't have to worry about the XML serialisation/deserialisation part, plus data transfer is more compact/quicker than XML. This is the option I would opt for if I were doing what you describe... but that's just my preference.