I'm finishing up writing specs for a game that will require me to make some technology choices, and wanted to get your opinions. I'm targeting FP9.

Basically the game is multiplayer and will call it's core data from the server. The server keeps all this data in a DB, which will likely be MySQL.

I need access to the following facilities, and have listed my current ideas (in order of preference) alongside each one (in italics):

-Server Side Scripting: Flex/AS or JavaScript(?, please see comments below)
-Database integration with backend/server script: SmartFox Server Pro, AMFPHP
-Client-server comms between backend and Flash client, sockets-based: SmartFox Server Pro (or lower)

OK. Unless I'm sorely mistaken, SFS Pro seems like the ultimate solution available at present for multiplayer communication in Flash, am I right? Are there any reasons to choose something else (aside from cost)? Furthermore I found out that apparently SFS does socket connections to databases as well (...well, well). Is this so? And are the DB accesses well-optimised? Please enlighten me as to the up- and downsides of SFS Pro.

I have read of AMFPHP being used for games, although also heard it could be a bit slow; I develop some fairly simple RIAs in my work but I've yet to use socket-based connections. I've only used basic Flash-PHP-MySQL (returning name/value pairs), XML and text files to feed data into Flash.

I'm pretty new to AS3.0, it's super() so far but I'm not aware of what new data access options it may provide. I do know it uses E4X, which may help as SFS, for one, can pull in data as XML. Maybe someone can offer more options in terms of how to connect the application server to the database server.

The other major issue I want to clarify then, is the server-side scripting which would form the backbone of the game.
What I know is that you can do server-side ActionScript using Flex (don't know much else about this), use JavaScript which as I understand ties in directly with SFS, or that I could probably use something like PHP as well. My primary skills are AS and PHP, as for JavaScript I have much to learn.

Would welcome your (relevant) opinions. Thanks!

PS. I won't welcome comments about this being too much to learn at once, as I typically learn by biting off more than I can chew.