Beginner's Guide to Adobe Flash/Components/User Interface

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Similar to HTML form components, Flash's user interface components let you interact with the users that use your site and gather information. Examples of such components would be buttons, checkboxes, text fields, and drop-down menus. The user interface components that exist within Flash 8 are described below:

Accordion: This component is a clickable menu to display different Flash content in the same space-saving frame. An example of a situation when you would use the accordion component, would be when creating a flash web site that needs various customer forms to process information in an organized way. The forms would consist of 3 sections of contact information including billing address, personal information such as interests and hobbies, and other information for further descriptions about that specific user. The accordion will display clickable tabs in which it will display a name that corresponds to that section/form. So, there would be tabs tiled horizontally for our 3 sections of, contact information, personal information, and other information. By clicking on the tab to that specific section, a form will display based on that specific link selected within the accordion component.

Alert: This component is similar to that of a JavaScript component that will display a popup window with a message of a detailed alert that usually functions within a form. The alert component is a pop-up message to communicate to the specific user that is viewing your project. This is often used as an error function to report invalid content within a form that needs to be changed or typed again.

Button: A button is a clickable region that processes information. You will usually use the button component when using a form within flash. If you wish to create a fancier button beyond what the default settings of flash provide, you can simply create a button symbol and modify it that way by using various stages of up, down, hit, and over.

Checkbox: This is form component used to allow the user to select multiple options within a field or question. For example if you were filling out a form at a Doctor's office that needed information on past illnesses and surgeries and a list was given to you of various things you could have went through. The user would be able to check off the ones that apply to them.

ComboBox: This component is exactly the same as a drop down menu provided by most user interfaces when selecting one specific option out of a list of options.

DataGrid: Think of this component as a table of rows and columns that displays data. You would usually this component when you want to transfer data from your server and display it in a flash table form. However, you could also use this to collect local data gathered by local forms within a flash project.

DateChooser: This component is basically a clickable calendar in which the user can select a date without guessing the format it should be in and type from scratch. This saves all the time for date processing, wither its a news post, a date of an important event, or a birthday. This component comes in hand when, for example, you’re putting together an online event scheduler and you want people to be able to click different dates to see a list of the vents scheduled for that date.

DateField: This is a combination of a the above component of a "Date Chooser" and a "text field", the Date Field component visually reinforces a person's choice by filling a text field with the date he/she selects. For example, if a calendar is displayed with clickable links of the dates within that month, somewhere around that calendar will be text fields that will display the actually date you selected within that calendar.

Label: This component let you add a single line of no editable, no clickable text to your flash project. This is commonly used as a short description tool to name fields or large bodies of text.

List: You would use the list component to create a clickable, scrollable list form which someone can "Shift + Click" to select multiple options. This component is fairly close to the "Combo Box" component except the available options can be selected within a window instead of a drop down and multiple selections can be made.

Loader: A loader component is a no scrollable window that lets you display an animation or bitmap image along with your main animation. By customizing the Loader component, you can show the animation or bitmap full-size or modify it to match the Loader dimensions you set.

Menu: This component is very useful if you’re creating a full-fledged program in flash and want to let your audience navigate your program by choosing from familiar drop-down menus. The menus you create using the menu component are similar in style and function to the file and edit menus in flash , although you do have to have quite a bit of Action Script knowledge to customize and use them.

MenuBar: The menu bar component is a horizontal navigation bar of clickable buttons. This component's handy if, for example, you're creating a complex web site in flash you want to display an identical, space-saving menu bar at the top of each page. Basically it's a navigational component that you can customize and use in multiple instances.

NumericStepper: You would use this component to create clickable list of numbers. This is a simpler way for people to use than a type-in-your-own-numbers text field. This component makes it easy for you to limit your audience's choices to predefined set of valid numbers.

ProgressBar: The horizontal Progress Bar component is a visual indicator of how long flash expects to take to complete a process. This can be used as a loader screen when loading your flash project and its various components. This is a great component to create from scratch and customize with a loader bar animation.

RadioButton: This is a combination of a few components that have already been discussed such as the Combo Box and the Checkbox component. A list of items or displayed in a list and a circular button is presented next to that data to select only one option within that list. Its displayed like a Checkbox, but used like a Combo Box where only one selection can be made.

ScrollPane: Similar to the Loader component, the Scroll Pane component lets you include an additional animation or bitmap image in your main animation. But, unlike the Loader component, the Scroll Pane component includes scrollbars that the user can use to control the content they see.

TextArea: The Text Area component is a multi-line, scrollable text field that's useful when you want your audience to be able to type a long comment, or any other information longer than a few words.

TextInput: This component lets you create a single-line text field. Using this component lets you give your audience a freeform text field just long enough to type what you want them to type. This is a good idea to use when making short input forms such as, name, phone, and email address.

Tree: Similar to the List component, the Tree component displays information in a hierarchical fashion. This component’s useful if, for example, you're creating a complex web site and you want to add a site map option that shows your audience the categorical view of your site, from the home page down.

UIScrollBar: The UIScrollBar component is a fancy, color-customizable scrollbar you can add to a Text Input or Text Area field to make your text field’s math your overall color scheme.

Window: The window component is a movable, titled window to display an animation or a bitmap file. You might want to use this when you’re creating a tutorial in flash you want to display each how-to animation in separate windows so that your audience can reposition each window and close it easily when they're ready to move on to the next topic.