Tutorial details:
Written by: Paul Gubbay / www.cybersage.com
The tutorial was co-authored by: Paul Gubbay (CyberSage Software, CEO) and Jason Williams (CyberSage Software, CTO ).
Difficulty Level: advanced
Requirements: Flash MX

Introduction

The Flash MX component architecture introduces a powerful and flexible way to leverage existing code, both your own and that written by others.? The opportunity to develop Flash components to be reused by others is limited only by your imagination.? Learning how to use these components, however, should not be left up to your user?s imagination.? As more components become available it is important that both developers and designers be able to easily make use of them.

This article describes the process required to create help files for custom built Flash components and seamlessly integrate them into the Flash MX environment.?In the next sections, you will learn how Flash help files are organized and how to create them for your custom-built components.

The Flash MX Help Files

To integrate your component help into Flash MX, you are required to create at least one XML file that contains the help text and code hints. Flash MX also allows you to place the help definitions into two separate XML files, one for code hints and one for reference help.? To keep things simple in this tutorial we will use two files and refer to them as:

  • Code Hint File
  • Reference Help File
  • Code Hint File

    The Code Hint XML file describes the hierarchy of folders and their associated items within the Actions toolbox on the left side of the code pane. Folders may contain one or more subfolders and/or items as shown in Figure 1.

    This XML file also contains information that allows Flash to support syntax color highlighting and the enhanced coding feature called code hints.

    Reference Help File

    The Reference Help file consists of the XML needed to describe the hierarchy of folders and associated items in the Reference Help displayed by Flash MX.?Reference Help contains the text that your users will read to gain insight into how to use your components.

    Creating Help For a Simple Component

    In the following example, we will show you how to create reference help and code hints for a simple object called FSimpleClass. When we have finished, you will be able to use code hints and reference help for FSimpleClass directly within Flash MX.