Showing Drupal’s CCK Module Fields in Flash

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Building a Recipe widget in Flash

We will start out by first increasing the size of our stage in Flash to 500 x 640. Once we have done this, we will need to resize our background so that it fits to the new stage. We will start this by first selecting the whole background region, and then converting that into a new Movie Clip by selecting Modify | Convert to Symbol from the Flash menu.

Flash with Drupal

This will t hen bring up a new dialog, where we can give our new Movie Clip a name, which we will call mcBackground. We then need to make sure that we check the Enable guides for 9-slice scaling, which will allow us to resize the background without affecting the rounded edges.

Flash with Drupal

Once we create a new movie clip from our background, we will then enter this Movie Clip and then adjust the 9-scale guides so that they only cover the rounded edges.

Flash with Drupal

We can now ex it the background movie clip, and then resize the movie clip to a new height of 632 using the Properties panel. Our next task is to move the current title field to the top-left of our Flash application, and then create some background regions that will hold our new fields. The design of how this will look is completely up to you, but here is an illustration of what I just described:

Flash with Drupal

Now that our layout is ready for new content, the next step is to add new TextFields to hold our recipe content.

Adding dynamic TextFields for Drupal content

The important thing to note here is that we will need to create a new layer for each text element within our Flash application, so that we can keep track of each field separately. We will do this within the timeline by creating three new layers for each of our new fields, and by then labeling them so that we can easily determine what they contain.

Flash with Drupal

Now that we have each one of these separated, we can add new text fields in each layer, to be used for the description, ingredients, and the instructions. For each new Text field that we create, we will need to make sure to give them an instance name so that we can reference them within ActionScript. Each of these instance names should reflect the names of the fields that we created for our Recipe content type, which will be description, ingredients, and instructions respectively.

Flash with Drupal

When we are done, we should have something that resembles the following:

Flash with Drupal

We are now ready to hook up these TextFields to real Drupal content.

Using ActionScript to show Drupal CCK fields

We can start this off by opening up our main.as file, and then we will shift our focus to the onNodeLoad function.

// Called when Drupal returns with our node.
function onNodeLoad( node:Object )
{
// Print out the node title.
title.text = node.title;
}

This function gets called after our service call to Drupal’s node.get service call and returns with the contents of the node. Since we have new TextFields for each custom recipe field, we can use the node object, passed to the onNodeLoad function, to reference the data from these custom fields, and populate our TextFields with that data. Since the contents of this node object are somewhat a mystery, there is a fantastic tool that is provided with Drupal that will allow us to examine how this node is structured. We will then be able to use that information to fill out the contents of our onNodeLoad function to show our complete recipe node.

Using the Services Administrator

We now need to shift our focus back to Drupal, where we will navigate to the Service Administrator section by going to Administer | Services. The Services module comes equipped with a fantastic tool for analyzing any service routine when working with external applications. It allows for you to call any service routine, with any specified argument, and then see the result of that routine call. This can be used to easily analyze the data structure that our Flash application will receive after it makes a call to any of the service routines available.

Since we are using the node.get service routine to load each recipe node, we should be able to examine how the Description, Ingredients, and Instructions fields are represented, and then easily apply that to our Flash application. Let’s do this by clicking on the link that says node.get in the node section. This will bring up the following page:

Flash with Drupal

The Services module automatically places a valid Session id in the session field, so we can just keep this field as it is. Because of this, all we really need to provide is the nid (node ID) of our Recipe node—since the fields field is optional.

In order to determine the node ID for any node within the Drupal web site, simply navigate to Administer | Content, which will list all the content within the Drupal web site. The node ID can be found by hovering over any content link and then reading the last number in the URL. For example, if we hover over our Recipe node, we should see a URL similar to http://localhost/drupal6/node/5, which means that our node ID for this node is 5.

After we have the entered the node ID in the nid field, we can now click on the button that says Call Method. This will then show the results of that call within the Results section just below the Call Method button. To the untrained eye, this may look intimidating, but really what this is showing is the results for all the data contained within the recipe node that we just created, including the Ingredients and Instructions. If we look within this data structure, we should see something that looks similar to the following:

[field_ingredients] => Array
(
[0] => Array
(
[value] => 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
5 (6 inch) flour tortillas
[format] => 1
)
)

Within our Flash application, we can now access the Ingredients field in the node object (which is what is returned when you call node.get). The ActionScript code to reference this field should look similar to the following:

node.field_ingredients[0]["value"]

Now, let’s apply this concept to show the ingredients and instructions in our Flash application.


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