Archive for March, 2007

Disabling the FLVPlayback component’s controls (including seekbar!)

I’ve stumbled on another one of those “everyone wants to do it, but nobody knows how” issues in Flash: how to disable the controls on the FLVPlayback component.

After quite a bit of documentation-reading, web-searching, and forum-browsing, I’ve come up with a function for easy, on-the-fly toggling of controller-enable-ability.

with a FLVPlayback instance on the stage, add the following to your ActionScript: = function(bEnabled:Boolean){
this.skin_mc.seekBar_mc.handle_mc._visible = bEnabled;
this.stopButton =this.skin_mc.stop_mc;
this.backButton = this.skin_mc.back_mc;
this.forwardButton = this.skin_mc.forward_mc;
this.seekBar = this.skin_mc.seekBar_mc;
this.onEnterFrame = function(){
this.stopButton = this.skin_mc.stop_mc.disabled_mc
this.backButton = this.skin_mc.back_mc.disabled_mc;
this.forwardButton = this.skin_mc.forward_mc.disabled_mc;
this.seekBar = null;
delete this.onEnterFrame;

Now, for a bit of explanation:

The first step is to simply toggle the visibility of the SeekBar handle. With it invisible, there is no way the user can use it, and this seems to be the simplest solution, rather than digging through the MC structure of a component skin and figuring out how that handle is, uh, handled. So, the bEnabled value can double as the visibility value for the handled: true (visible) for enabled buttons, or false (invisible) for disabled.

For the rest of the buttons, it’s not so simple. Users have come to expect a “ghosted” or “grayed-out” appearance for a disabled button, so simply removing them as we did with the scrollbar handle would be bad form. Luckily, the pre-made skin SWFs for the FLVplayback component include disabled states for everything, and we can use these.

Because the component skins use bitmap caching and 9-slice scaling to maximize their flexibility, simply setting the button properties to the disabled MC won’t work, and it requires a bit more of a brute-force approach to get those buttons to appear. Hence, the onEnterFrame and updateAfterEvent() commands. updateAfterEvent() forces an update of the stage, so it will make those disabled-states appear, but it only works as part of a clip event, such as onEnterFrame. So we wrap the whole thing in an onEnterFrame, and then delete the onEnterFrame function to save on processing and memory.

I should note that I developed this using the SteelExternalAll.swf skin. The documentation indicates that the skins are built using a universal structure, so it should work for any of them, but I’m not making any promises.

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Customing icons on the Flash 8 Tree Component

Back to one of my favorite topics – UI Component customization. Flash’s Tree Component provides a Windows Explorer-like hierarchical menu for displaying data in a “folder” structure.

The structure it displays uses 2 separate icons, a “folder” icon for folder nodes, and a “disclosure” arrow for opening and closing the folders.

To see an example of this, place a tree component on the stage and give it an instance name of “myTree.” Then, use the following loops for some dummy data in the tree:


The Tree Component Documentation lists various styles that can be set on the component, and it seems that these properties work without first installing a theme.

I’m not sure the exact reason for this, but the component seems to want to open and close folders based on clicking the “disclosure” arrow, not the folder icon.

So, what if you wanted one icon only? For this example, I’ll use the +/- metaphor that the Windows registry and some other apps use. first, create your “plus” and “minus” movie clips, and give them linkage IDs of “plus” and “minus”, respectively.

Then, use setStyle to apply these to the tree:


This turns the disclosure arrows into plus an minus signs, but the cliché folders are still there:


The solution is to create a blank movieclip and set it as the folder icon. To do this, create a new MovieClip symbol and give it a linkage ID of “blankicon.” Then, add the following to assign the empty icon:


And there you have it…


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