Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Creative Suite

10 Minutes with Flash: Creating a Custom Panel

  • Print
  • + Share This
Do you sometimes wish there was a Flash panel to access online resources such as the Macromedia Flash Exchange and FlashKit? Well, now there is. In only 10 minutes, Robert Hoekman, Jr. shows you how to create a custom panel that pulls up Flash tutorials faster than you can say "Resources."
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Flash MX 2004 has a lot of panels, but sometimes I wish there was one for accessing online resources such as the Macromedia Flash Exchange and FlashKit. That way, I could just jump to those sites from within Flash. It's just too much work to open a browser window and type in a URL. So I decided to make my own panel and add it to my custom panel set. Then it occurred to me that this would make a good topic for an article.

This panel won't be some elaborate panel that serves up search results from FlashKit because I have only 10 minutes to show you how to build it, but this tutorial will reveal how to get started if you decide to make some custom panels of your own.

Just Another Flash Movie

The secret to making a custom panel is to know that a panel is really just another Flash movie. In other words, you'll make a simple movie with a couple of buttons in it and save it to a specific folder in the Flash install directory.

To create the movie:

  1. Create a new Flash document and save it as Resources_panel.fla. You can save it wherever you want.

  2. Change the stage dimensions to 210x150. This is somewhat arbitrary because the panels built into Flash have varying sizes, but when panels are docked, they are typically about 210 pixels wide (give or take, depending on your particular panel layout).

  3. Rename Layer 1 to buttons.

  4. Add a new layer to the timeline named actions.

  5. On the buttons layer, use the Text tool to type Flash Exchange on the stage.

  6. Convert the text to a Button symbol named exchange button. You can edit the button's Over, Down, and Hit states if you like, but it's not necessary.

Next, as with any other button in any other movie, you need to write some ActionScript that tells the button what to do. In this case, you want the button to launch your browser and open the Macromedia Flash Exchange (an online resource for Flash extensions and components). First, however, you should to set a few properties for the movie so the panel acts like a panel instead of a Flash movie. To make this happen:

  1. Select frame 1 of the actions layer and open the Actions panel.

  2. In the Actions panel, add a stop() command:

  3. stop();
  4. Next, add the following code:

  5. Stage.align = "LT";
    Stage.scaleMode = "noScale";
    Stage.showMenu = false;

This script tells Flash to align everything in the movie to the left side of the stage, prevent scaling, and hide the contextual menu. Why add this code? We do this because a panel can be scaled within Flash, and we want to keep things organized. Without the preceding code, the contents of the panel would shift positions.

Next, you need to finish setting up your buttons. To do this, you can write the script that tells the exchange button instance what to do; then create a second button that opens the FlashKit web site.

  1. Select the exchange button instance and assign it the instance name exchange_btn via the Properties panel. We need the instance name to target the button through ActionScript.

  2. To use the button to launch the Flash Exchange, add the following script to frame 1 of the actions layer:

  3. exchange_btn.onRelease = function() {
        getURL("http://www.macromedia.com/exchange/flash");
    };
  4. Create the FlashKit button by typing FlashKit on the stage and converting the text to a Button symbol.

  5. Assign the new button the instance name flashkit_btn.

  6. Add the following code to frame 1 of the actions layer to make the button launch FlashKit.com in a web browser:

  7. flashkit_btn.onRelease = function() {
        getURL("http://www.flashkit.com");
    };

Your completed ActionScript should match Figure 1.

Figure 1Figure 1 The completed script for the Resources panel.

If you want to add more buttons to this panel later on, just follow the preceding steps. For now, though, we'll move on to publishing the movie as a panel.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020