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10 Minutes with Flash: Working with Web Services

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Are you a good speller? Could you use a web service that grabs the definition of a word from DICT.org and display the results in a Flash interface? Robert Hoekman, Jr. shows you how to connect to web services and display the resulting data in Flash. And, as always, he does it in 10 minutes.
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In this installment of the "10 Minutes with Flash" series, we'll build a Flash application that displays the DICT.org definition of any word you feel so inclined to look up. And yes, we will successfully complete this seemingly massive task in 10 minutes or less!

NOTE

To complete this tutorial, you must be using Flash MX Professional 2004 and have an active Internet connection.

Web Services for the Uninformed

"Web services" are offered up via WSDL (Web Service Definition Language) files. The happy web service developers out there create WSDL files (which are XML-based) that give application developers a way to grab data and present it to users. By accessing WSDL files, you can create an application that displays stock quotes or weather reports, locates ZIP codes, or sends text messages to a cell phone (just to name a few possible uses). In this case, we'll use a web service that grabs the definition of a word from DICT.org and display the results in a Flash interface.

To do this, we'll start by creating the interface using several of Flash's built-in user interface (UI) components. Then we'll use Flash Pro's Web Service Connector component to connect to the web service. Finally, we'll bind the data to the UI components.

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