Objects: Flash MX Cookies
         written by ilyas usal a.k.a. pom

Shared Objects are a new feature of Flash MX. They are used to store data on the user's machine, the same way cookies would. Hopefully, the data can only be read by movies originating from the same domain that created the Shared Object, which means that it can't be read by just anybody.

The amount of data that you can store depends on you, of course, and on how much data the user will accept (see the technotes at the end of this tutorial). Shared objects can be used to remember names and address, save a score, a drawing, anything. Pretty cool, hue ?

In this tutorial, we'll see how to store a name; the first time the user comes, he'll have to enter his name, and the next time he comes, he will be recognized by the application. Then we'll see how to save a drawing.

The following is an example of the List Box you will create by following this tutorial:

[ fill the form, go somewhere else on the site and come back ]
The tutorial
Before we start, please download the partial source. Don't worry, the partial source will not have the key elements to make it'll do that with the information found in this tutorial. Click here to download the source.
  1. Once you have opened the file that you've just downloaded, you will see that it contains four layers: background, which is totally unuseful, text which contains all the textbox, label and code. The last two layers are empty for the moment.

    In the text layer, you can see that there is text in frame 5 and in frame 10. In frame 5, there are two input box, one for the surname, one for the first name. Click on the first one, and in the Properties panel, enter in the field var: name. Select the other and enter firstname.


[ properties panel ]
  1. Now go to frame 10. There are two dynamic box, the first one with Welcome Ilyas Usal in it, the second with Your computer sucks big time in it. You will name the first one message, the other one with os in it. Last thing before we code, we need to label the timeline. In frame 5, enter the label form, and in frame 10 the label done.

[ the timeline ]
  1. It's time to code a bit. The first part is the detection of the existence of the Shared Object. If it exists, then we'll go directly to the done frame, but it it doesn't, it will take us to a form where we can enter the data. Put it in the first frame of the code layer:

  1. Let's see how this works.

    user = SharedObject.getLocal("user_profile");
    This is how we declare our Share Object. The getLocal function takes 2 parameters, objectName and localPath but only the first one is necessary. It is the name of the object that you create, that is to say the name of the file (.sol) on the user's computer. These objects will be located in their own file, so that there won't be problems with overwritting.
    This function returns a reference (that we called user here) to a locally persistent shared object called user_profile that is available only to the current client.

    if ( == undefined){
    If the Shared Object already exists, then name has already been defined. You can access the data contained in the Shared Object like this :
    If the name is undefined, this user has never been here.

    if ( == undefined){

    That's why we take him to the form, where he can enter his name and everything.

    } else {
    firstname =;


    If the name is defined, then we store the data contained in the Shared Object in variables.

    firstname =;
    When this is done, we go to the frame lebeled done where we will display the information concerning the user.
  2. Now let's go to frame 5, that is to say the form. We have two input box which we named earlier, and on button that we will use to submit the input. You should now put this code to the button :

  1. on(release){
    When the user presses the button...

    computer = System.capabilities.os;
    We start filling our Shared Object. This function has nothing to do with Shared Objects though. It just gets the properties of your system, in our case the operating system. You can find all the other functions in the Actionscript Dictionnary. We will have something like computer = "Windows XP" for instance. = name;
    We put the value of the input box in the Shared Object.

    We save everything in the .sol file and that's it. Everything's saved.

    Now you know everything : how to read and how to write in a Shared Object. The last step should be a walk in the park for you. So go to frame 10. In the code layer, enter this:

  1. There. That's it for the first part of this tutorial. There will be more soon, don't worry. If you want more information, you can look at Macromedia's Tech notes:

The final source code for this tutorial is provided below. Simply click the download fla link!


download fla

I hope the information helped. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to post them on the Message Board. I should be there, along with others flashers to help you.

pom 0]


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