What the Automated Datasource Generator does
James McNess is a Flash developer, game designer and owner of Code and Visual, living in Sydney, Australia. With over ten years commercial experience James specialises in developing Flash games, HTML and Flash websites and also Flash applications for a variety of clients both large and small. He also develops Rainbow - a free online XML editor that can be used as an easy to install Flash CMS for small to medium based websites. You can find out more at: http://www.codeandvisual.comView all articles by James McNess
Required ResourcesThe very first thing you need to do is make sure you have the lastest version of Rainbow (1.5.1 at time of writing) installed on your server. If you are upgrading you can just copy over your existing Rainbow.swf file with the latest. If you havan't previously installed Rainbow you can automatically aquire a 30 day free trial via the easy install wizard located at codeandvisual. The second requirement is that you have integrated SWFAddress into your Flash file. If you don't know about deep linking via SWFaddress start by visiting their site and looking through the demos. Once you understand the importance of deep linking for Flash sites, you won't make a site without it. This tutorial borrows heavily from the SEO example provided by the SWFAddress website capitalising on the combination of Rainbow Live and SWFAddress. Your server will also need to support PHP and allow you to add mod rewrites via a .htaccess file.
Example end resultLet's skip straight to the payoff and show you exactly what you can produce with the datasource generator. It's important to remember that Rainbow does not attempt to recreate the entire graphical experience of your site as this would be a much more complicated process and require a lot of detail work that would defeat the purpose of being a flexible and handsfree generation tool. At the end of the day this is a backup to cater to search engines and those users who haven't joined 99% of the rest of the world with Flash Player installed on their machines. So the main goal is to create a logical and structured experience that will enable navigation through all of the information and images on the site.
Example Flash Original- (Remember, Rainbow does not dictate how you design, animate or lay out your site, it allows you to retain full control over this.)
See the example Flash Site powered by Rainbow
Example Datasource backup version- (Remember, you can style your output HTML however you like via the use of CSS)
Disable your Flash plug in or view on a device without Flash to view HTML version created using Rainbow's automated datasource generator