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Programming Flash Communication Server Paperback – Oct 15 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 856 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (Oct. 15 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596005040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596005047
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.8 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,895,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Brian Lesser works at Ryerson University as Assistant Director, Application Development and Support in Ryerson's Computing and Communications Services.

Giacomo "Peldi" Guilizzoni is a software engineer working on Macromedia Breeze Live, possibly the most complex Rich Internet Application powered by Flash Communication Server ever built. He has been involved in the FlashCom community since the very beginning and to this day maintains the only FlashCom-centered blog on the Web at

Joey Lott is a founding partner of The Morphic Group, a Flex and Flash consulting company. At The Morphic Group Joey serves as a technology director, building some of today's most innovative Flex applications and advocating for the use and adoption of agile software development methodologies. He has written many books on Flex and Flash-related technologies, including Programming Flex 3, ActionScript 3 Cookbook, Adobe AIR in Action, and Advanced ActionScript 3 with Design Patterns.

Robert Reinhardt is the lead co-author of the Flash Bible series and the Flash MX ActionScript Bible (Wiley), as well as the lead co-author of Rich Media MX: Building Multi-User Systems with Macromedia MX Software (Macromedia Press).

Justin Watkins is the senior multimedia programmer for Career Education Group. Justin leads a team of Flash programmers and developers to produce synchronous and asynchronous applications that thousands of online students use daily. Justin is one of the lead developers on the open source PHP alternative for Flash Remoting. Justin has contributed articles to devmx (, a community-based Web site for Macromedia developers.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Silgard on July 24 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is terrible. Luckily for it, this book also happens to be the only resource currently available for the Flashcom server.

Errors in the code, shoddy examples, and poor descriptions abound; if you are not already a capable Flashcom programmer you will be hard pressed to find much redeeming value from this book. For someone looking to learn how to create working applications using the Flashcom server, without any prior Flashcom experience, this book is almost completely useless.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Understand FCS March 8 2005
By E. Schlenker - Published on
Format: Paperback
My company has been working with FCS for a while now, it really helps us communicate with customers and remote offices quite easily. So I picked up this book as soon as it came out, and it's done a great job of filling in the holes of my FlashCom knowledge. This is the book that I wish I had over a year ago when I was learning FCS for the very first time. Seriously. Instead I had some Macromedia books that read like owners manuals. Those were painful days.

Anyhoo, there's tons of example code in there. From wonderfully explicit "Hello World" type stuff, to keeping track of people in a virtual lobby. They really show you how to get at the power of FCS quite well.

Also, on a related note, one of the authors works on FCS for Macromedia, and his blog gives Flash Com info right from the horse's mouth: [...]
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A must-own for FlashCom developers Jan. 15 2006
By Satipatthana - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a very well-written book written by many famous FlashCom developers. It does not only give a comprehensive guideline on how to develope FlashCom applications, it also introduces best-practices and design patterns for developers. It also has many useful and real-world examples.

However, I believe this books is between beginner and intermediate level. You must know some ActionScript in order to get into what this book is talking about.

I highly recommend this book for FlashCom developers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Indispensable for developing with FlashCom July 5 2005
By attackAnt - Published on
Format: Paperback
Programming Flash Communication Server, Lesser et al., O'Reilly, 2005

Reviewed by Damian Taggart

As far as I know, Programming Flash Communication Server by Brian Lesser, Giacomo Guilizzoni, Robert Reinhardt, Joey Lott, and Justin Watkins is the ONLY thorough reference for creating, using and optimizing real-time communication applications built with the Flash Platform.

This book, in conjunction with the Macromedia Flash Communication server documentation, will empower your development process, giving you all the resources needed to develop and deploy FlashCom web applications with the confidence that comes from having a sophisticated understanding of the how to Flash Communication Server functions.

The book covers Server-Side ActionScript (SSAS) in addition to both ActionScript 1.0 and 2.0 implementations on the client side. Along the companion website ([...]) and sample applications, you'll be able to set up and test many proof-of-concept application instances in surprisingly short lengths of time. As stated in the book, much of the code provided will needs some tweaking before you put it into production -- to reflect the vagaries of your particular network and client-base.

I'm not sure I'd recommend reading this book cover-to-cover, as it is 800 plus pages -- but it is divided up in easily navigable, relatively stand-alone sections. Some highlights for the various sections include:

* an introduction to the platform and server architecture

* how to manage clients

* generating detailed server logs and reports

* setting up a surveillance application using Flash

* implementing local and remote SharedObjects

* publishing live and on-demand video

* video conferencing

* and of course, scalability and security in FlashCom applications

This book hasn't left my desk since I got it and began working heavily with Flash Communication Server. If you're going to be using the FlashCom platform, you need this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A must have reference for FCS June 3 2005
By Brajeshwar Oinam - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have been trying hard to read all the chapters of Programming Flash Communication Server but have never been able to finish off all 800+ pages of the book. I have finally finished the reading almost the entire book. Now, that I would rather use the book as a complete reference for Flash Communication Server Application development, its time to write a review! The authors are those whom I have, well we all have, looked upon as the best in the industry, especially with Flash and related technologies. Well before the book hit shelves, I knew that this was going to be *THE* book for Flash Communication Server. With authors like Peldi and Brian Lesser, there can be no mistake in saying that this is the must-have book if you are into application development for Flash Communication Server.


The Forward by Macromedia's own Flash Communication Server Architect, Pritham Shetty, starts to show the book's worth right away. As I finished the Forward, I was already referring to Pritham Shetty as the *Father of Flash Communication Server*. His story of heading the FlashCom team, their study of the market, technologies and finally their decision to come up with a real-time communication infrastructure to take Flash and Macromedia into a new, profitable business in the telecommunication world was not just interesting but very inspiring. Their idea of supporting a range of real-time applications like classroom, company meeting, front door cam, customer service, car race, remote presence led them to implement base features: audio, video or data as streams, real-time and on demand and data synchronization was a tantalizing read. It tickled my brain buds not just for the technical acrobatic stunts but for the innovation that went into the making of this cool software.

That was a simple toy which children can make to create a simple mechanical telephone. Two cans with a small hole in each one connected by a piece of string that is drawn through the hole and secured with a knot inside the can. One kid talks into one while the other listens. If the cans are pulled away from each other so that the string is tight the vibration is carried down the string from one can to the other. Then interestingly enough, I was able to speak a Japanese word for communication which let loose wild ideas and innovations among developers. Shortly afterwards Flash Communication Server was released in September 2002.

If you are interested in the history of Flash Communication Server, then the Forward from Pritham Shetty is a must read. He is literally the man behind Flash Communication Server.

Part I

I have to say sorry that I don't have much to say about Part I of the book as I skipped over a lot of it. But then here is the short teaser, "If you are new and starting off with Flash Communication Server Application Development, read this part carefully so that you will know what you are dealing with, what each term means where each fits in. It gives gives a good foundation for understanding the remainder of the book, including your first sample application. Bottomline, make sure you skim Part I if you are already familiar with Flash Communication Server; but read it carefully if you are a novice or beginner.

Part II

Once you get cleared with the basics in Part I, Part II treats you to the inner depths about Streams; Audio, Video, ActionScript Data and their related technicalities. This part isn't that lengthy but gives you subtle insights into Audio, Video and Data Streams. One of the parts which you can take a detailed look is the last chapter on Media Preparation and Delivery. The Media Preparation and Delivery chapter gives us the much needed knowledge, information, tips and tricks for the Flash Communication Server Developers who come from a programming background - more coders than Video/Audio enthusiasts. You will learn details about the various terms, terminology, information about Audio, Video, Codecs, that Constant Bit Rate (CBR) compression is for Live Streaming while a recorded Video Stream can enjoy a Variable Bit Rate (VBR) etc. I could be called an Audio/Video novice but this chapter made me confident about dealing with Flash Video and I'm not kidding here.

Part III

Part III is where the fun begins. The description of Shared Objects at length was really appreciated though I wish (my personal take) that the section on Proxied Shared Objects could be a bit extended and elaborated than just the few paragraphs and one example. Then there are of course chapters on Flash Remoting for Flash Communication Server, and Remote Methods. I am not sure if that was purely intentional to put a small piece of ColdFusion complementing Flash related technologies here; my particular interest was the write-up of a ColdFusion example for an FTP-Server class, and another for Stream Management. That really gave some idea of the possibilities we can do with the combined power of Macromedia Technologies.

The Server Management API chapter reminded me of a funny anecdote when our team first saw the codes of the FlashCom Admin Console that is being used in Flash Communication Server. Some code is present that was authored with the intent of being fault-tolerant and user-friendly, and consequently may not be the best illustration of the most efficient way of writing Flash Applications. Eh!

Part IV

If the fun started with Part III, then Part IV is the climax. As you get down to this part, you are likely to exclaim, "Oooh! Server-Side Components." As I near the later part of the book, I began to think if the chapters were carefully chosen to fulfill the proverbial "keep the best for the last". Get yourself pampered with the chapter on the Component Framework, it is a real treat.

And Ah! the portion on Design Patterns and Best Practices serves well as the spiced Masala just like the much needed condiment of an Indian cuisine. Don't miss the "delegating updates" and "building facades on the server" sections in particular.

Topics in the "Building Scalable Applications" chapter such as Scalability and Load Balancing was one topic which I am sure everyone will find valuable - especially after reading how many people have had to come up with their own Flash Communication Server Load Balancing solutions. I would like to thank the book authors again here, the book came as a boon just in time for a project our team was involved with.

The book finally closes its chapters with some good information on Network performance (latency and bandwidth), and the three As of securing a Flash Communication Application: Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting.

About the Authors

Actually I went straight off to this part after the Forward from Pritham Shetty to read about few of my favorite idols. Nothing much to read there, nothing funny, nothing out of the ordinary but that they are amazingly good developers, iconic digeratis that I admire.

Special thanks goes to Brian Lesser and Bruce Epstein of O'Reilly for the care they took so that I get my Review Copy in time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Indispendable Aug. 17 2005
By R. Tinfow - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in the exploring or exploiting the power of FCS, this book is indispensable. We have multiple programmers who have been working with FCS for more than two years. We really rocketed into new areas of development once we had the book in hand.

I can't imagine not having this essential reference and source of ideas.