Pixel Acres

Blog Archives: Toolbox

Papervision 3D

Papervision 3D logo

If you work with Flash at all, by now you will have heard of Papervision 3D, the open source project that has turned the Flash world on its head by introducing a 3rd dimension. I had a quick play with Papervision 3D a few months ago and found it surprising easy to pick up. It is now in public beta so I decided to dust off my old project and rewrite it in Actionscript 3.

File download icon

I spent an hour yesterday sprucing up the ‘file download’ icon I use on one of my websites, and I’m putting my Photoshop file up here for you to use if you like. I’ve made it very easy to change the color scheme of the icon, or to modify the graphic on its label, so you’ll have no trouble adjusting it to suit your own needs.

Row of file download icons

Minor update to FormBuilder

I have made a minor update to my FormBuilder PHP class. It now includes support for ‘password’ and ‘hidden’ field types.

Next up I will be adding functionality so that the submitted form variables can be emailed to any address. Stay tuned…

FormBuilder: HTML forms made simple

Important: I no longer maintain FormBuilder. If you need a standalone PHP form builder I recommend Swiftmailer.

Even though HTML forms tend to be much of a muchness, each is different enough to require customized markup, styling, and validation. Sometimes it feels like reinventing the wheel. Over the past year I have been progressively streamlining the way I build my forms, and recently got to a point where I realized it wouldn’t take much more work to create an all-in-one PHP class that generates form markup, validates input, and displays error messages to the user. So that’s what I did, and I’m sharing it here in the hope someone else finds it useful too.

Elastic Flash with scrollbars

In the past couple of years it has been common for Flash developers to design elastic sites, rather than sites with fixed dimensions. These elastic sites fill the browser window, and content is positioned programatically on the stage according to the size of the viewport. The trouble with this approach is that because the width and height of the embedded Flash swf are set to 100%, the browser will never display scrollbars. If the user sizes their browser window too small then content will begin to disappear off screen. Due to the lack of scrollbars, this hidden content is inaccessible to the user.

By writing a small JavaScript function that is triggered when the window is resized, we can overcome this restriction. When the window size is detected to be smaller than a minimum width/height specified by the designer, the Flash movie will stop scaling, and scrollbars will be forced to appear.

DeepLink: Flash deep linking class

The inability to bookmark ‘deep’ content has long been an accessibility criticism leveled at Flash. In fact, with a bit of Javascript and Actionscript trickery it is possible to create bookmarkable URLs that provide direct access to a Flash movie’s internal content. And with the introduction of the ExternalInterface class in Flash 8, this two way communication between Javascript and Flash just got a lot easier.

Inspired by the work of Theo Hultberg and Asual, I have developed a simple Flash class that demonstrates the implementation of deep linking in a Flash movie. While I don’t propose that my DeepLink class should be used as a substitute for Ausual’s excellent SWFAddress, it might provide a useful building block for exploring what the ExternalInterface class is capable of.