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Flash and ActionScript are ideal for creating flexible, easily updatable web sites that are both unique in design and small in file size. In Creating a Portfolio Web Site Using Flash CS4 Professional, Adobe Certified Instructor Paul Trani shows how to exploit Flash to create a web site that showcases work to clients and prospective employers. Find out how to add dynamic navigation, animation, and video to a page, and how to load, sort and display XML that enables portfolio content to be updated without opening Flash. This course is designed to take your existing tweening skills and gotoAndPlay code and walk away with a fully functional Flash site. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now once you can trace out XML content in Flash, the next thing you're going to want to do is to put this data into containers to be accessed when needed, and probably the most flexible container is going to be an array. But as you'll notice, here are all of my different items being traced out. I have the title, the Description, large image, thumbnail and what I want to do is to put all of these in a large container, so all of the titles will go in an array. And what an array is is kind of like if I had a big moving truck and this truck is filled with boxes, well, each box would be an item and in this box could contain any type of item I want it to contain.
In this case, it's going to be a truck full of titles, and each title contains some specific information. So that's what I want to make. I am going to my Timeline panel. I'm going to go to this first frame here and I'm going to go to Window and open up the Actions panel and right at here, at the very top, I'm just going to go ahead and type in Array. Now notice it is a keyword, so I can select it and I can View the Help on it. So here I can read more about arrays, but notice there are some examples right down in here.
So to make an array, I would create a new variable and give that variable a name and then go ahead and create the array and I can have certain values in that array, certain boxes if you will. But I'm going to go ahead and just copy this first line here as a starting place. All right. I can paste this code in and I don't want this to be a oneArray, but again, I want this to hold the titleArray. Okay that's the name of this moving truck, titleArray is an array and here's where I access the array class and I'm just going to clear out this information, because I want to put content in it later.
So I am going to do the same thing for the other items in our XML, such as the largeImageArray and again, this is going to be the same, so I'm just going to go ahead and copy this. Command+C, Command+V just like that, var thumbnailImageArray, and notice that I actually do have two colons there, so I will remove those and I'll start to put this in that more of a readable order because I want to have my descriptionArray right underneath my titleArray and then there we are. All right.
So this does follow sort of the same format that I have down here, sort of the title, Description, large image and then the thumbnail. But now that I have these arrays created, I want to push content into them. So I want to load it up with information. Now I can go back to my Help and you'll notice that arrays do a lot of different things from popping, from pushing. You can read each one, but it adds elements to the array is what push does. So that's what I want to do is I want to push information into it, so it's like loading up the truck. All right.
And the information I want to push is all of this information in here. So it's going to include the title, Description, large image and thumbnail. So what I'm going to go ahead and do is let's go ahead and type in titleArray and push and within those two parenthesis, I'm just going to take this data and I'm going to put it right in there. All right. So that looks good. I will, in fact, delete that, descriptionArray, push content into it as well and it's going to be this information right here.
Drag that on in there. Next up is, of course, the largeImageArray, push content into it, drag that on in there. and start to eliminate these trace elements and last one I need to do is, I've gotta make sure this is right, thumbnailImageArray. That's a very long word, so I'm just going to go ahead and copy it and paste it right here. thumbnailImageArray push data into it as well and it's going to be this data, just like that.
So with that setup, it's going to push all of this information into these arrays and notice how it gets loaded up as it actually comes through here and I've this for loop, so it loops through it for the length of the array. It starts pushing the title in for each title and all the descriptions go in this array and all the images and than all the thumb images go in their specific arrays as well. So now that the information is in there, I'm going to show you how I can use it. So if I scroll down further, you can see that there's this thumbLoader, and what this thumbLoader does is it loads in the first image, the first thumbnail into this thumbLoader.
So what I want to do is I want to start using some of that information down in here. So that very first image, well, you know what I want to do is I want to change its source. I want to change it from this hard coded link to that image to what's in the XML. So I'm just going to go ahead and type in 'largeImageArray' and I'm going to go ahead and do an open bracket, close bracket and then I'm going to type a number in here. So whatever item in the array that I want to put in here, I can go ahead and just type that in there.
So if I want to access the very first largeImage, I can just type 0 in there. All right. Next up, I am going to do the same thing for this title. It's not going to be Basketball any more. It's going to be titleArray and again, open close brackets, and then within those two brackets I'm just going to go ahead and type 0. Lastly, again, this is all hard coded and I want it to come from the XML, so I'll delete it and I can type in 'descriptionArray' open bracket, close bracket, zero.
Make sure we get that spelling right, descriptionArray, make sure all the stuff matches up and these are the items I'm going to get. So it's looking pretty darn good and notice initially, what was in there was of course all about Basketball and I'm leaving this the way it is just to show you that this information that's getting loaded in is going to be different than what the image displays. So I'm going to do Control>Test Movie and I'm going to run it and for Basketball, if I click on that and maybe I click on one of these other ones, but you can see, if I click on this basketball image it changes the text to Our Future Generations and then also it gives the description right down here and then displays that large image.
So it's working out quite well. It's changing that information and it's all based on the XML. So this is really working for me. In fact, I can go through and do the same thing. In fact, if I just copy these three lines, right-click Copy, I could do the same thing for this next thumbnail. Paste that in and then the only change I need to make is change that from 0 to 1, just like that. So now when I run it, you can see that when I select this cafe buena image, it's actually going to be the Basketball image.
So you can see how things are changing. They're no longer what they were, but it's actually referencing XML content. Notice that the thumbnail images don't sync up with the large images. Not to worry. I'm going to sync this up later.
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