Friday, April 25, 2003


Firefly refers to a set of components available on the new Flash MX Data Connection Kit. From the website:

The Data Connection Kit provides prebuilt connections to web services, XML data, databases, and application servers so you can easily access, save, and display data.

I saw a demo yesterday of how easy it is to create "data aware" components which hook together into rich, dynamic applications. Very impressive stuff. You can find out more here:

The foundation of this architecture consists of a client-side data management engine that is represented by three components: Connector, Dataset, and Resolver. These components provide developers with complete control over their data.

The Connector connects to a database and gets data. ( Reading ?)There are different connectors.SQL server connector is used for running SQL statements). Connector gets data and gives it to dataset.

The Dataset stores data. ( Manipulating ?)It does not care where the data comes from. It is connectors job to get the data and datasets job to store it.When the data is modified, the Dataset records the changes in an XML-based set of instructions called a DeltaPacket

The Resolver component saves data. ( Writing ?) Different resolvers are used for different data sources. When data changes, it takes the data from the deltapacket and updates the data in the original data source.

XML Shadowing tracks changes that are made to the Dataset in real time and generating a DeltaPacket which is sent to the server to update the original data source. This helps in creating optimized applications that can update changes to multiple records at one time, thus reducing network traffic and allowing multiple users to work with and update the same data source simultaneously.

The Firefly Components Visual Property Editor (VPE) makes it easier for developers to build rapidly data-rich applications within Macromedia Flash MX. Components such as FxGrid, FxDataSet, Connector, and Resolver have their own VPE which combines all of the properties, events, and settings that can be used to set up and customize the component.

Demo of a time management application built with firefly components at


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