I first tried Flash when it was in its Macromedia Version 3 incarnation – it had so many bugs that it should have been the subject of a David Attenborough wildlife documentary. By version 4 though somebody had managed to master it as is evidenced by the website for Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR albumin 2000. A colliding montage of sound and shapes, it was the first site that opened up the possibility to me of a multi-dimensional web without an unhealthy reliance on JavaScript, animated GIFs or Java Applets. 10 years on and the site still looks great.

Fast forward to 2010 and Adobe Flash has held on to its position as the primary animation web authoring tool but it remains a niche choice with many companies afraid to fully embrace a technology that isn’t search engine friendly. However, it retains a loyal following in the creative industries and I would need more than two hands to count the number of exceptional Flash-based sites that land in my feed aggregator in-tray everyday from design showcase sites.

Combining Flash with Drupal has obvious benefits. Flash can bring sophisticated, interactive animation to the table while Drupal is great for a modular backend structure.

If you don’t have any experience in ActionScript, and if you plan to follow the exercises in Flash with Drupalthen intermediate knowledge of the language would be an advantage, failing that previous programming experience is essential.

Likewise, in itself, the book is not an introduction to Drupal. If you are a Flash developer who is interested in using Drupal than this book runs through a basic installation guide. However, you will still need to seek out other sources to fully understand Drupal administration and other aspects of the CMS.

Flash with Drupal is mainly concerned with Flash widgets, audio and video embedding and in particular using the power of JavaScript to connect widgets within a Drupal template rather than creating one massive, unwieldy Flash site.

The author himself is responsible for a number of Drupal / Flash integration modules Dash Media Player and FlashVideo. The book also covers the use of Services, Views, Content Contstruction Kit, Flash Node, ImageField, Audio and number of other modules which provide valuable assistance in the web developers tasks.

Of particular interest in this Packt Publications release is what Travis Tidwell calls a hybrid approach by binding the two technologies together with JavaScript, and his tutorial for creating a Flash user login box is one to bookmark for future reference.

Admittedly, HTML5 promises to encroach on the traditional Flash territory of embedded video and audio but we are some way from multi-browser HTML5 compatibility at the moment. Flash will remain the technology of choice for these purposes for the foreseeable future and those that wish to harness the power of Drupal with that of Adobe Flash can use this book as a source of ideas and a reference point.

It’s not a book for novices but it’s certainly a starting point for those seeking a different approach to Drupal and at 356 pages long it is clear that much thought and work has gone into its creation.

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