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Flash Media Server Architecture

Let me now provide an overview of the Media Server Architecture.

The Macromedia Flash Media Server 2 platform is composed of two parts: the server and Macromedia Flash Player. Applications built on this platform consist of a client Macromedia Flash application (SWF file) that is run by Flash Player, and a server component that communicates with the client. The server component consists, minimally, of an application folder you’ve created on the server that is running Flash Media Server. This folder can contain server-side ActionScript (ASC) files and other resource files that the media application uses.

The server and the Flash client application communicate using the Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), an unencrypted TCP/IP protocol designed for high-speed transmission of audio, video, and data messages. You can administer the server over HTTP using the same server administration application programming interface (API) over HTTP as you would over RTMP.

In a typical scenario, a web server delivers the Flash client to Flash Player over HTTP. The Flash client then uses RTMP to establish a persistent connection to Flash Media Server, allowing for an uninterrupted data stream to flow between client and server.

Multiple users can connect to the same application running on FMS2, which acts as a communication channel between connected users.

Specifically, FMS2 communicates with Macromedia Flash Player by passing command strings and arguments to the URL of your Flash Media Server. Users interact with the server to retrieve information or modify the server configuration. This API is described in detail in the Server Management ActionScript Language Reference, which is included with Flash Media Server software.

Using the RTMP, each Flash client opens a persistent connection to the Flash Media Server, and there is a controlled relationship between the video being delivered and the client interaction. Using the bandwidth detection capabilities of the FMS2, you can provide different content for users based on their available bandwidth. For example, if a user with a dial-up modem accesses your video content, you can deliver an appropriately encoded file that doesn’t require too much bandwidth.

I have covered only the basics here; for more details on installing and managing the server, read the pertinent .pdf help file located in the "documentation" folder created when you installed the FMS2 software. This folder contains separate documentation files for client-side ActionScript, for developing media applications, a server management ActionScript directory, and files for using edge servers. Edge servers are not a different kind of Flash Media Server—they are just configured to run applications from a separate location.

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