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Ming (flash)




The SWFAction class




SWFAction {
/* Methoden */
SWFAction SWFAction::__construct ( string $script )


The script syntax is based on the C language, but with a lot taken out- the SWF bytecode machine is just too simpleminded to do a lot of things we might like. For instance, we can't implement function calls without a tremendous amount of hackery because the jump bytecode has a hardcoded offset value. No pushing your calling address to the stack and returning- every function would have to know exactly where to return to.

So what's left? The compiler recognises the following tokens:

  • break
  • for
  • continue
  • if
  • else
  • do
  • while

There is no typed data; all values in the SWF action machine are stored as strings. The following functions can be used in expressions:

Returns the number of milliseconds (?) elapsed since the movie started.
Returns a pseudo-random number in the range 0-seed.
Returns the length of the given expression.
Returns the given number rounded down to the nearest integer.
concat(expr, expr)
Returns the concatenation of the given expressions.
Returns the ASCII code for the given character
Returns the character for the given ASCII code
substr(string, location, length)
Returns the substring of length length at location location of the given string string.

Additionally, the following commands may be used:

duplicateClip(clip, name, depth)
Duplicate the named movie clip (aka sprite). The new movie clip has name name and is at depth depth.
Removes the named movie clip.
Write the given expression to the trace log. Doubtful that the browser plugin does anything with this.
startDrag(target, lock, [left, top, right, bottom])
Start dragging the movie clip target. The lock argument indicates whether to lock the mouse (?)- use 0 (FALSE) or 1 (TRUE). Optional parameters define a bounding area for the dragging.
Stop dragging my heart around. And this movie clip, too.
Call the named frame as a function.
getURL(url, target, [method])
Load the given URL into the named target. The target argument corresponds to HTML document targets (such as "_top" or "_blank"). The optional method argument can be POST or GET if you want to submit variables back to the server.
loadMovie(url, target)
Load the given URL into the named target. The target argument can be a frame name (I think), or one of the magical values "_level0" (replaces current movie) or "_level1" (loads new movie on top of current movie).
Go to the next frame.
Go to the last (or, rather, previous) frame.
Start playing the movie.
Stop playing the movie.
Toggle between high and low quality.
Stop playing all sounds.
Go to frame number num. Frame numbers start at 0.
Go to the frame named name. Which does a lot of good, since I haven't added frame labels yet.
Sets the context for action. Or so they say- I really have no idea what this does.
And there's one weird extra thing. The expression frameLoaded(num) can be used in if statements and while loops to check if the given frame number has been loaded yet. Well, it's supposed to, anyway, but I've never tested it and I seriously doubt it actually works. You can just use /:framesLoaded instead.

Movie clips (all together now- aka sprites) have properties. You can read all of them (or can you?), you can set some of them, and here they are:

  • x
  • y
  • xScale
  • yScale
  • currentFrame - (read-only)
  • totalFrames - (read-only)
  • alpha - transparency level
  • visible - 1=on, 0=off (?)
  • width - (read-only)
  • height - (read-only)
  • rotation
  • target - (read-only) (???)
  • framesLoaded - (read-only)
  • name
  • dropTarget - (read-only) (???)
  • url - (read-only) (???)
  • highQuality - 1=high, 0=low (?)
  • focusRect - (???)
  • soundBufTime - (???)
So, setting a sprite's x position is as simple as /box.x = 100;. Why the slash in front of the box, though? That's how flash keeps track of the sprites in the movie, just like a Unix filesystem- here it shows that box is at the top level. If the sprite named box had another sprite named biff inside of it, you'd set its x position with /box/biff.x = 100;. At least, I think so; correct me if I'm wrong here.


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Mark Omohundro, ajamyajax dot com
15.02.2009 20:05
// tip: if you want to STOP an animation using SWFAction(),
// add a nextFrame() method immediately after, like this:

$p = new SWFSprite();
// ...
// ...
$p->add(new SWFAction("stop();"));
$p->nextFrame();  // stops right here

// this also seems to work, stopping a movie *exactly* where you want
// but only if not using SWFSprite() movie clips... then try the above.
$m->add(new SWFAction("stop();"));

// also: setFrames(n) doesn't seem to stop animation immediately...
// by design, or perhaps a current version/older release bug(?)
// the above was only tested with Ming 0.3beta1.  hope this helps.
jon at nux dot co dot uk
6.09.2008 18:27
A little story that may help some others - part 2

and this didn't work... why not.. the trace gave me a clue:

Warning: createEmptyMovieClip is not a function

After a bit of digging around I found that this was because the flash movie was not running in the right version. There is a ming option that is mentioned in other posts but does not seem to be well documented and that is:


This makes the world of a difference as it sets what version of flash ming outputs its movies as.

So the monent I added:


To the top of my php I not only did the createEmptyMovieClip function work but so did the loading and the variable was accessible. Huruh!

So my final code now looks like this:

$m = new SWFMovie();
$m->setDimension(480, 400);
$m->setBackground(0xff, 0xff, 0xff);

$m->add(new SWFAction('
        myvar = "variable to pass to flash";
        this.createEmptyMovieClip("mc", 99999);
        mc.loadMovie ("/flash_file_created_by_hand.swf");
header('Content-type: application/x-shockwave-flash');

instead of this:

= new SWFMovie();
$m->setDimension(480, 400);
$m->setBackground(0xff, 0xff, 0xff);

$m->add(new SWFAction('
        myvar = "variable to pass to flash";
        LoadMovie("/flash_file_created_by_hand.swf", "mc");

/* -- make movie clip 'mc' that we will load flash_file_created_by_hand.swf into -- */
$s1 = new SWFSprite();  /* (1 frames) */
$s1->nextFrame();  /* (end of sprite frame 0) */
$i1 = $m->add($s1);
$m->nextFrame();  /* (end of frame 0) */

header('Content-type: application/x-shockwave-flash');

I dont pretend to be a flash guru.. but i know it took me a while to figure this all out.. so I thought that this post might one day be of help to someone.
jon at nux dot co dot uk
6.09.2008 18:26
A little story that may help some others - part 1

Upgrading from:

I have used ming for several years now for injecting variables into flash, usually for menus. In a recent move to a new server all the ming/php stopped working. Ming was working and properly installed but the variables just weren't apparent within the flash movie.

The old server is running:
ming-0.2a_1         LGPL'ed Flash 4/5 movie output library with many languages
php4-ming-4.4.1_1   The ming shared extension for php

The new one is running:
ming-0.3.0_3        LGPL'ed Flash 4/5 movie output library with many languages
php5-ming-5.2.6_1   The ming shared extension for php

So the way I have always done this is to put all my data together in php, and then put it into an array/variable in Flash. I then create a movie clip and load my movie.swf (made by hand in flash) into the movieclip.

I know there are now cleaner ways of getting data loaded into Flash (even directly from Flash without ming) but as I have many many movies out there using ming it is far easier to change a few lines of php to get them working again than change every flash movie.

So anyhow, here is the code:

= new SWFMovie();
$m->setDimension(480, 400);
$m->setBackground(0xff, 0xff, 0xff);

$m->add(new SWFAction('
        myvar = "variable to pass to flash";
        LoadMovie("/flash_file_created_by_hand.swf", "mc");

/* -- make movie clip 'mc' that we will load flash_file_created_by_hand.swf into -- */
$s1 = new SWFSprite();  /* (1 frames) */
$s1->nextFrame();  /* (end of sprite frame 0) */
$i1 = $m->add($s1);
$m->nextFrame();  /* (end of frame 0) */

header('Content-type: application/x-shockwave-flash');

So what stopped working. Well this took me a while to work out, and even know I am not 100% sure but I can tell you what does work and how I got there.

Firstly I needed some more debugging, and so installing the flash debug player and 'Flash Tracer' enabled me to see trace output of the ming movie and my loaded movie (flash_file_created_by_hand.swf).  If you don't already know then this is worth knowing about. I had to play around a bit to get the debug player to write its log file, but it is worth it.
Make sure you have the write settings when you publish your movie otherwise you will not be able to see the trace output.

So now I can see trace... well I used to this run a few checks to see for instance if the movie clip was there :

$s1->add(new SWFAction('
    trace ("location of movie clip is: " + this._target);

and so I played around.. and I could see that the movie clip 'mc' was being created and that the movie flash_file_created_by_hand.swf was being loaded into  it but well not much else. So I still coudn't see what was happening to the data. I currently suspect that the loadMovie was loading the movie into level0 or _root rather than into /mc ( as thus wiping out the ming vabiables.. but I can't be sure. Given that the trace of the target etc happens before the loadmovie function I think this is entirely possible.

Anyhow, I thought I may aswell try to do this a differt way.. that is create the movieclip from actionsript rather than with php/ming.. ie:

$m->add(new SWFAction('
    this.createEmptyMovieClip("mc", 999);

instead of:

/* -- make movie clip 'mc' that we will load flash_file_created_by_hand.swf into -- */
$s1 = new SWFSprite();  /* (1 frames) */
$s1->nextFrame();  /* (end of sprite frame 0) */
$i1 = $m->add($s1);
$m->nextFrame();  /* (end of frame 0) */
PHP User
4.02.2008 17:21
Typo in first example above:

  $m->add(new SWFAction("/box.x += 3;"));

Should be:

  $m->add(new SWFAction("box.x += 3;"));
tore dot aurstad at ntebb dot no
24.11.2007 16:09
There is some difficulty adressing objects in the swfmovie using swfaction, at least when using Windows and Flash Player 9. I debugged the .swf file generated with php ming in
Adobe Flash CS3 and saw that my references on swfdisplayitems was not set correctly. I tried labelling a submovie (swfsprite object) "showmovie", but the actionscript did not seem to be able to reference the object. The debugging in Adobe Flash 9 showed the "showmovie" object to instead have the labelling "_level0.instance1", I adjusted the code and then was able to manipulate the objects in my swfmovie. The naming scheme seems to follow this "_level0.instanceX" labelling, check by debugging your .swf movies generated from php ming at least in Windows+Flash player 9 to check if swfdisplayitem's method setname also does not work here.

Tore Aurstad, Norway
samrerb at gmail dot com
13.08.2006 6:03
for creating a play/pause button I used this script:
//pause button
$b = new SWFButton();
$b->addAction(new SWFAction("stop();"),SWFBUTTON_MOUSEDOWN);
$i = $movie->add($b);

//play button
$b = new SWFButton();
$b->addAction(new SWFAction("play();"),SWFBUTTON_MOUSEDOWN);
$i = $movie->add($b);
it has to be run during every frame for the buttons to be in every frame... hope that helps somebody....
26.01.2006 19:41
fscommand, the proper way to call a javascript function from a flash animation seems not to work in Ming at the moment, here is a commented example on how to do that :
ifrost at uos dot de
25.10.2004 15:50
If you want to open an URL in a new window, define a shape ($ashape) and use this code:

= new SWFButton();
'getURL("","_blank");' // _blank is the target like in html

But if you want it in the same window use this addAction():

jerryscript at aol dot com
5.01.2004 3:28
Ming 0.3 (current cvs) can use most MX actionscript, just set the swf version to 6

3.11.2003 21:45
fscommand() doesn't work (at least in Ming 0.2a), but there is a workaround.
Instead of:
jamesNOSPAMbarros at hotNOSPAMmail dot com
13.09.2002 20:35
Printing Flash Movies

When a browser tries to print flash, the autoscaling can make it look ugly. users have to right click on the flash and select "print" to get it to print properly. (so that thier flash player is handling the printing, not the browser) If you dont want to require this of your users, you can create a print button with the following action:

getURL('print:', '/');

by default, this prints ALL frames. to avoid this, just put:

where $m is your SWFMovie. the #p label denotes a printable frame. (this also allows you to build your movie, then throw the print button into the next frame and not have it show up when you print. )
diem at writeme dot com
5.02.2002 18:11
Sorry Guys ....
the /box.x syntax is for fash version 4 ... and is used for flash version 5 ....
Ming >= 0.2 assumes version 5 by default .... to use version 4 syntax, you must use ming_useswfversion before ...

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