6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 23, 2007 11:53 AM by Greg Dove

    Discussion on CMS solutions for Flash / XML (Opinions / Stories)

    stephan.k Level 1
      Dear Forum

      I wanted to pick your brains and see what everyone's opinion is on CMS solutions for Flash.

      I am building mostly small / medium size websites (10-100 pages) and every once in a while a request for a CMS comes up for dynamic video / audio / images or text (news sections for example). I've so far built it all myself with php and mySQL since it wasn't too complex but it still ends up eating up a huge chunk of the project's time and budget as you all know probably and most of the time the budget is too tight for it.

      Since I'm also not the greatest php / mySQL programmer I was thinking of looking into CMS solutions such as wordpress or dupral or even google's photo application as an alternative (save time / money and maintenance trouble...) and then use their RSS / XML capabilities to read in the data into flash.

      Any words of wisdom from the Flash / CMS pro's ? Is this a good / viable idea ? Pros / Cons? any suggestions for CMS products?

      Thanks in advance. I'm curious to hear your war stories.

      Cheers

      Stephan K
        • 1. Re: Discussion on CMS solutions for Flash / XML (Opinions / Stories)
          Greg Dove Level 4
          I like the flexibility and possibilities exposed with Drupal. Adobe seems to as well. They recently converted their flex showcase over to Drupal.

          But then I haven't tried other options so its a bit one-sided and I don't really have any war stories I'm afraid.
          • 2. Re: Discussion on CMS solutions for Flash / XML (Opinions / Stories)
            Level 7
            I know this all too well... I did the same as you, started with an all PHP
            solution, but it was a bit too much for me to maintain as I'm no PHP guru -
            so I decided to create a Flash based CMS that we use for most all our sites
            now. There's still PHP and MySQL on the backend, but the PHP is now just
            service classes for remoting (AMFPHP). I use a module based design, so I can
            load in as many or as few modules as necessary per site, and then typically
            one clients news is a little different so I can fairly easily customize the
            modules as well.
            I know, this doesn't help you much, it's just the route I took - I never
            looked much at products like Drupal. I'm going to though... If you want to
            see my CMS visit: www.arandell.com/cms/backdraft use guest/guest for the
            login.

            --
            Dave -
            Head Developer
            http://www.blurredistinction.com
            Adobe Community Expert
            http://www.adobe.com/communities/experts/


            • 3. Re: Discussion on CMS solutions for Flash / XML (Opinions / Stories)
              stephan.k Level 1
              Very interesting. Thanks for the insight GW and
              DMennenoh.

              I'm relieved to hear that I'm not the only one scrambling around with these issues. I really wish I could always get enough time and money for the jobs to outsource everything.

              Drupal does look very interesting to me and I'll try to set some time aside to dig into it a little bit. Would my RSS / XML approach work with Drupal? Meaning can Drupal export or display pages in RSS or XML format that then can be fed into flash? Is this what the Flex showcase is done?

              Any thoughts on updates of Drupal? I read that you still need to upate the software once a new version comes out to keep up with all the security issues. Does this create a lot of maintenance / compatibility issues?

              What about API's of Flicker or Google for photos for example. Anyone used those for Flash?

              The backdraft sollution looks fantastic. Great work! I also like the design. It's very intuitive. What exactly are service classes for remoting? Is there a special server involved (flash remoting...). Or is it a name to describe the way you're using php classes.

              Cheers,

              Stephan K




              • 4. Re: Discussion on CMS solutions for Flash / XML (Opinions / Stories)
                Greg Dove Level 4
                Drupal has a services module that lets you expose services - e.g. access to different types of content etc. Currently you can do this via XMLRPC, amfphp and also json which are separate modules. That covers, flash ajax etc. It does publish rss feeds etc.

                The flex showcase uses the amfphp/services modules combination.

                That's one way of doing I've also implemented page data loading into flash via loadVars with some kludgy hacking of some existing drupal javascript modules.

                For me its taken a while to get to grips with, but its starting to make sense (and its really my first foray into php and javascript).

                • 5. Re: Discussion on CMS solutions for Flash / XML (Opinions / Stories)
                  Level 7
                  >>What exactly are service classes for remoting? Is there a special server
                  >>involved (flash remoting...). Or is it a name to describe the way you're
                  >>using php classes

                  Service classes are PHP scripts used with AMFPHP, for Flash remoting.
                  Remoting is much more efficient, faster, and easier, than the old LoadVars
                  method - which is slow and cumbersome. With remoting, you can just call
                  functions on the server, and send and receive objects, arrays, etc. No more
                  serializing your data with LoadVars... ack.

                  No matter which route you go with, learn remoting. As GWD mentioned, Adobe
                  uses Drupal with AMFPHP as well.

                  --
                  Dave -
                  Head Developer
                  http://www.blurredistinction.com
                  Adobe Community Expert
                  http://www.adobe.com/communities/experts/


                  • 6. Re: Discussion on CMS solutions for Flash / XML (Opinions / Stories)
                    Greg Dove Level 4
                    Dave: I agree with you about amfphp. FYI I also tried something a little different with Drupal and LoadVars. I had started using amfphp and will continue to do so as well, but I opted for a json parser inside flash and used the onData method of the LoadVars as the source. All that's required on the server side is the json_encode function, which is very easy on that side. And the requests from flash that get the json responses can then be to exactly the same urls as the normal html page versions (they're differentiated on the server by adding a post variable flag and a custom header), which is why I did it that way - flash gets a data version of the page instead of the browser which gets the html version from the identical page url. There's a small hit on the flash side with deserializing the json packet I guess but its not really noticeable. I'm pleased with the results but in a way it was a kind of experiment.
                    I continue to use amfphp/remoting as well for other stuff... eg. calling server side code like emailing etc.