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Flash MX Pro 2004 - Text Area Component

FlashFlash 5 introduces specialized movie clips called SmartClips. The major drawback was that SmartClips exported into the first frame of a movie, and could cause serious loading delays, a nightmare for anyone on dialup. Flash MX introduced an improvement in the TextField component which reduced the need to export it as a SmartClip. Enter TextArea. In this article, we’ll discuss the TextArea component in detail, as well as covering some of the possible bugs that might be encountered while working with it.

Author Info:
By: Jefferis Peterson
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 56
January 26, 2004
  1. · Flash MX Pro 2004 - Text Area Component
  2. · Transition
  3. · The TextArea Component – First Encounter
  4. · Bugs
  5. · Using the TextArea
  6. · Steps

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Flash MX Pro 2004 - Text Area Component
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Flash MX Pro 2004 – TextArea Component History

When Macromedia released Flash 5, it introduced specialized MovieClips called SmartClips. These SmartClips were reusable and exportable. Simply by typing in a URL pathway in the properties panel, it could change the text inside the clip. In other words, it was easy to drop a text box with a built in scroll bar onto the stage and use the data link to load some text. Here's a picture of what it looked like in Flash 5:

TextField Component Flash 5

Any text file with embedded HTML tags (like bold or italic) worked. A text SmartClip (in this case one named prices) could have a Title (Pricing) and be linked it to a file on the website (prices.txt) - all within the Properties and Parameters Inspector. With the advent of SmartClips, a container could be exported once from your Flash Library, but the text itself could change from frame to frame by assigning new variables. In the code below, I used the same "story" SmartClip and gave it a new instance name (Marketing), set its place on the stage with x/y values, and assigned a new title and text file, all in a button action.

on (release) { // button action
    _root.attachMovie("story", "Marketing", 4); 
    // names new instance
    _root.Marketing._x= 434;  
    // sets x position
    _root.Marketing._y= 40; 
    // sets x position
    Marketing.dataURL = "design.txt";  
    // sets data file to load
    Marketing.titleField = "The Importance of Design"; 
    //sets Title Bar

The one major drawback of Flash 5 was that all SmartClips exported into the first frame of a movie and could cause serious loading delays. A dial-up customer might be treated to a full minute of blank screen before a loading bar even appeared. Not good for a web site.

Flash MX (Flash 6), introduced an improvement to the TextField Component which reduced the need to export it as a SmartClip. It added a scroll bar that could be dragged from the Library and dropped onto any dynamic text field (Fig. 2). It was a great, time saving feature for content oriented developers.

Fig. 2 - Scroll bar auto assigned to a TextField named "display."

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