Using the Flash Exchange Flash

Within a few months of the Flash 5 release, Macromedia introduced the Flash Exchange. Like the Dreamweaver Exchange, the Flash Exchange enables you to download custom objects and libraries (ActionScripts, Smart Clips, user interface (UI) elements, and so on) for use in the Flash 5 authoring environment.

To use the Flash Exchange, you need to visit www.macromedia.com/exchange and have a Macromedia membership user ID and password. Click the Membership button on the Exchange home page to sign up for your free Macromedia membership. After you have established a membership, you can go back to the Exchange home page and enter the Flash Exchange portion. There, you need to download and install the Macromedia Extension Manager (approximately 2MB).

After you have installed the Extension Manager, you can download extensions for Flash 5 from the Flash Exchange. For the next tutorial by Branden Hall, you need to download and install the WDDX Serializer/Deserializer. To download this extension:

  1. On the Flash Exchange page, select App Servers from the Find more extensions drop-down menu.
  2. On the newly loaded page, click the WDDX Serializer/Deserializer link.
  3. On the Extension Detail Page, click the Mac or PC download icon (depending on your OS), located on the right side of the page. Note the location on your hard drive to which the file is downloaded.
  4. After the extension (.MXP file) has finished downloading, open Flash 5. Choose Help➪Manage Exchange Items. This launches the Exchange Manager application.
  5. In the Exchange Manager, choose File➪Install Extension (Ctrl+O or Command+O). Browse to the location where you downloaded the .MXP file for the WDDX Serializer/Deserializer. After you have selected the file and clicked Open or OK, you are presented with a disclaimer dialog. Click Accept, and the extension installs into your Flash Common Libraries folder.
  6. To use most Exchange extensions, open the extension’s Library from the Window➪Common Libraries folder. For the WDDX Serializer/Deserializer extension, an .AS file (ActionScript-coded text file) that defines functions and methods for the Serializer/Deserializer is copied into a new ActionScript folder located inside the Flash 5 application folder. In the following tutorial, Branden Hall discusses the use of his WDDX Serializer/ Deserializer extension.

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