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The Tip of the Flash MX Iceberg

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Want to incorporate your webcam feed into your Flash-based Web site? Want to see example URLs and get the lowdown on some new features of Flash MX? This article by Robert M. Hall includes explanations and free example source code you can incorporate into your projects.
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Introduction

Professional web developers everywhere are talking about Macromedia's revamp of its product line. There is a cornucopia of new features and capabilities waiting to be exploited. For many developers, the ability to import and export video using the Sorenson Spark codec is worth the upgrade price. I have found that the ability to import JPEG images and MP3 audio files on-the-fly to be a great timesaver for some of the work I have been doing. It also appears that there is still a whole slew of features to Flash MX that have yet to be fully released or documented by Macromedia, but there have been plenty of hints.

Background Info and Recent Examples of Forthcoming Features of Flash MX

There has been a lot of talk on the various web forums and mail lists dedicated to Flash about many newfound (but as of yet undocumented) commands that currently exist in the Flash MX authoring environment and the Flash 6 player. The best source of excitement about these features comes from an interview with Jeremy Allaire, CTO of Macromedia, that can be found here: http://www.itwriting.com/mxinterview.php. In part two of that interview, Jeremy mentions forthcoming server-side technology from Macromedia that will "...allow you to deliver real-time, peer-to-peer, or one-to-many or many-to-many real-time communications applications, with shared data, audio and video. All that is built into the client today."

There have also been several press releases by Macromedia, hinting at these new capabilities. Probably the biggest hint of all is the Macromedia Flash 6 Player Settings control that allows the user to toggle controls over allowing specific domains access to controlling their microphone and video camera, and to allow selection of specific devices.

This is some very exciting news! For another not so obvious hint, hook a webcam up to your computer, get the latest Flash 6 player and head over to the following website: http://www.randommedia.co.uk/.

Enter the "Dream Domain," and explore. Many of you out there are probably scratching your heads, wondering how the heck the developers at Randommedia were able to incorporate the dynamic creation, uploading, and storage of video using only the Flash 6 player. Only time will tell, but it looks like Mr. Allaire's words are right on the money, and that Macromedia will be delivering on its promise of some very interesting new technologies revolving around the creation, sharing, and storage of real-time audio and video.

To provide one more amazing example of what is in store, take a look at this slick demonstration featuring Mr. Allaire himself: http://www.macromedia.com/software/mx/presentation/. Next time you try to justify using Flash MX, and want to show the power and capabilities of Flash MX to your boss, this would be very handy to have in your arsenal. There have been several other example URLs floating around the Net on forums, discussion boards and mail lists, so you might dig around for even more interesting examples.

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