Contrary to what you might think, Flash isn't just all tweensand motion blurs. The application comes with powerful data-retrievalcapabilities, which allow you to hook your Flash movie clips up to adatabase (or any other external data source) and dynamically build movieclips that are easy to update and modify. Find out more, in this roughguide to the data-driven Flash universe.
So you've figured out the basics of the Flash toolbox, created your first tween, and added some wild animation to your Web site. You've built animation clips with fading reverbs, and created buttons which change shape as you mouse over them. And you're wondering what to do next.
Well, wonder no more.
While there's a lot you can do with the tools Flash gives you, it's when you hook it up to the wild and wacky world of the Web that you truly begin to appreciate the power (and genius) of the application. Today's Web is built around dynamic, data-driven Web sites, and Flash, which comes with built-in capabilities to read data from a variety of data sources, is well-suited to it.
The new data retrieval features in Macromedia Flash 5 (and better) allow developers to retrieve information from server-side databases and use this information to dynamically construct animation clips on the fly. As you might imagine, this opens up new possibilities for the creative Web developer, and sets the tone for a new generation of smart, dynamic and very cool Web applications.
In this article, I'm going to give you a little preview, demonstrating how Flash can be hooked up to a MySQL database to dynamically construct database-driven animation clips. Most of these examples are fairly simple - you might even find them *too* simple - but they should serve as a gentle introduction to the new capabilities Flash gives you, and perhaps even help to answer that "what next?" question by sparking some ideas in that tangled web of neurons you call a brain. So strap yourself in tight - this is gonna be an exciting ride!