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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.
Once the XML is loaded in Flash, you can start to sort through the content to determine what you want to use. So as you can see, it's really currently just a big dump of the XML, verbatim everything that's in the XML file. I want to start sorting through these individual items to start accessing their content. So I'm going to go to the Timeline to that very first frame in the AS layer and I am going to go to window to open up my Actions panel. Notice at the top, here is why I load in the XML, defines what file it is and once it's completed loading, it traces out all of the data.
Okay, so that's where that big dump of data comes from. It comes from this. But what I want to do is start tracing out the individual items. So before this closing curly brace, I want to create a new variable. In fact, I am just going to delete this information because I'm going to create a new variable and it's going to be called theXMLData and it's going to be an XML file and it's going to be equal to new XML. And then within these parentheses is that data.
So that's why I just deleted the trace statement. So what I want to do is take all of the content in here and put it right in this variable called theXMLData. Now that all the data is in there, I can start tracing out some of it. So I am just going to type in 'trace (length,' because the first thing I want to get is the length of this XML. So the length, colon, and that's in quotes and I can add Plus and I can start to type in theXMLData and I want to actually get the title.length.
Length is a property available to the XML class. So again, that's why I've created this new XML, because I can start accessing things like the length. So that's what's going to be displayed when I run this code. It's going to trace out the length, but I am going to type in a couple more things in here. I am going to type in another trace statement and instead of the length, I am going to get the title, the actual title, and I am going to go ahead and use this information right here. So I am just going to copy it and paste it right here.
So what's happening right now is it's going to get the title information but what node in the lineup of the title am I going to get? So am I going to get the first item, the last item? Because they're all numbered. There's about 12 titles in there, because there's 12 different portfolio pieces. So what I need to do is I need to type in title and I need to reference a number. So I am going to do brackets and within those brackets, I'm just going to type zero. Now that's going to get the title of the very first item, starting at zero, and make sure I close that parentheses, just like that, and I want to do the same thing.
In fact, I am going to copy this, Command+C, Command+V and I am going to start getting more of the information. So Description and theXMLData I am going to change title to Description, just like that. So it's going to get the description of the very first item. Again, I am going to paste in that code again, and I am going to get the large image. That's going to be the large image name, and instead of the title or description, it's going to be largeImage. And lastly, I am going to go ahead and do the thumbnail and I am going to change this title to thumbImage.
Now I need to make sure these various items exist within the XML. These are the various tags that I've defined, but these do match up and what I am going to do is I am just going to go ahead and run this code. First off, I'll do the check syntax and it does say it contains some errors. So I am going to go ahead and take a look at some of that, and for this one, theXMLData.title.length, it's giving me an error, and it's probably that semicolon there.
So I am just going to go ahead and hit Check Syntax and then that gets rid of the error. So it's looking good now. Let's do a Test Movie. It runs. I am just going to just close this because I want to close my Actions panel as well and peek into the Output panel. So notice that it does get the length, so it says that there's 12 items and then it gets the very first information of the very first node, which is actually Node 0, but it gets the title of it. It gets the description.
It gets the large image path and the thumbnail. So it doesn't show me any of the various tags. It just shows me the content within the tags, and as you can tell, this information here is much more useful for me. So what I want to do is I want to get the other data as well. So I am going to open up the Actions panel. Now what I want to do is I am going to create a loop because I want to loop through all of this and I want to show all of the content for all of the various nodes. So for these trace statements, I am going to type in a for. I am going to create a for loop and I am going to make i equal to a number.
It's going to be a Number and that's going to be equal to zero. It's going to start at the zero node and it's going to loop through this data. And then I am going to type in i. As long as i is less than the total length of this XML information, then keep on running through the code. So I am just going to copy this code and paste it up here. So this code is really going to execute multiple times. So this is where we do a comparison to see if i is less than the total length of this information.
And lastly, I need to type i and then do Plus, Plus. So what that does is it adds one each time this code is executed. But I need to make sure I finish writing this code because I need to do an open curly brace and then a closing curly brace. And I encourage you to, each time you add these curly braces, you write a function or anything, go ahead and check this Autoformat button and it will go ahead and nest all of those trace statements. Now I can see what's in the for loop.
So it's going to run through all of this information, starting at zero. It's going to do it for the length of the array and each time it loops through, it's just going to go ahead and add 1 to i. Now I don't want it to keep sort of printing out in the Output panel the item that's in the first position. I want it to change each time. So I am going to replace these zeros with an i, because what i is is it becomes zero the first time through, then it adds one. Then it becomes 1 the second time through and then becomes 2 the third time through, and it does that 12 times.
So if I just reset this back to i and I check my syntax, it does say that it doesn't have any errors and I am going to do a Test Movie. Close that SWF file. I am going to close my Actions panel and as I look at this information, I can see that all of the data is in there, none of the tags, but just the raw information that I want to take and use in my Flash file is all there and quite frankly, it's ready to be used. So through the code I have just written, I am able to access this information and then the next step, obviously, would be to use it in my Flash file.
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