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What is the best way to handle Flash Forms?

I am currently creating a website in Flash CS4 using AS2. I need 2 forms. One is a basic contact form that I would like the fields submitted to a database and an email notifcation sent to admin and user. The other collects demographic info with various fields plus upload a photo. I would also like the fields submitted to a database and an email notifcation sent to admin and user.
I have been searching the internet for weeks trying to sift through the best way to handle flash forms. -----Flash to ASP or PHP ? Do  use XML? A MySql  database? Then there is Flex...!

I am familiar with flash however the coding has me a bit stumped. Though I am willing to learn. I have purchased several flash components from Flash Den and other sources to simplify my task. I have also followed several online tutorials. They just give me enough information and leave out the process of connecting the form to the servers. I am just more confused. Can you please help me ?

Any help wouldbe most appreciated!

1 Solution
As you have worked out, there is the client-side (Flash/Flex), server-side (ASP/PHP) and some mechanism to communicate between them. In your situation, the client is collecting the information through forms, sending it to the server-side which does most of the work, ie. communicating with the database, sending emails, etc, so you are going to have to do as bit of coding on the server-side too. Fortunately, what you are trying to do is quite common so you should be able to find plenty of resources to help you.

As far as what is easiest for you to get started, I personally use PHP on the server-side because it's free and available on almost all web servers. It has built-in classes for connecting to a MySQL database - also free - which simplifies things too. So how do you get the information from Flash/Flex to PHP? You can either send it using XML or using a remoting technology. I use a free remoting technology which is also very popular called AMFPHP. I think this is the key to getting you going in the right direction, as AMFPHP is very easy to use but, more importantly, there's lots of tutorials to get you started, mostly involving writing to a MySQL database. I also think Flex is easier than Flash for your purpose because it's designed with connecting to a remote server in mind. If you are a student, work in an educational institution, or are an unemployed developer, you can get Flex Builder for free.

So, in a nutshell, if you can get Flex, do a Google search for 'Flex AMFPHP tutorial' and you should be almost there. If you are using Flash, I'd also use AMFPHP and you should find some good tutorials there too. If you are using ASP, look at WebORB. Hope that helps.

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