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Flash Tools for Developers: Matching Formulas to Data - Outline of the Developer's Guide

Doug Ensley, Barbara Kaskosz

The following outline describes what can be accomplished by following the Matching Formulas to Data Developer's Guide after downloading all source files to your machine with Flash 8 installed.  In this article, we are assuming that your are familiar with the basics of Flash's authoring environment. If not, please download the PDF guide from our earlier article "Flash Tools for Developers: Function Grapher," or visit our MathDL Flash Forum Learning Center at

  1. Getting started. Download and unzip the relevant files including the documented source code and the functional templates.  Familiarize yourself with the templates from the user point of view.
  2. The Templates. An overview of the structure of the Flash source file match_template1.fla is given.  Most of the details also pertain to the match_template2.fla file.  We highlight some of the new ideas in this discussion below.
    • Making your own radio buttons. Since Flash Components can make the fla files huge, we discuss how to write one's own class of radio buttons.
    • Using a blank button. To have the mouseover "syntax" and "how-to" effects in this applet, we use a blank button. This technique and its advantages are discussed here.
    • Attaching a clip at run time. The actual text that shows up when the user mouses over the "syntax" or "how to" buttons is part of a clip that is attached at run time.  This keeps the stage clear and allows the text to be edited more easily.
    • Using the classes. Classes used include MatchGraphingBoard, MathParser, RangeParser, and PointParser, the last of which is new to this applet.  Instructions are given for how to alter the functionality of the applet by varying parameters used with these classes.
  3. Description of Custom Classes. As in previous development articles, we give a technically specific description of each of the classes used by these templates.  This level of detail is provided for serious developers interested in modifying the classes rather than just using the classes.
  4. Suggestions for improvement and references. We offer a few suggestions for improvements that an ambitious developer might like to try, and as usual, we list some references that we believe will be useful in working with this material.

Doug Ensley, Barbara Kaskosz, "Flash Tools for Developers: Matching Formulas to Data - Outline of the Developer's Guide," Convergence (October 2006)