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Adobe Flash Builder 4: Data-centric Features for PHP - Page 2

by: PHP Builder Staff
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June 8, 2009

Coding the Service

Make sure that the PHP service that was generated is currently selected in the main window. If you are working in the full version of Flash Builder without having installed a PHP editing plug-in, Flash Builder opens the generated service with a different application on your computer (most likely Adobe Dreamweaver, if it is installed on your local machine; otherwise, it defaults to the application that is associated with the PHP file format).
The PHP class that was generated for you is a stub for basic Create, Replace, Update, and Delete (CRUD) operations that are typically part of a remote service. Uncomment the code within the operations of the class. You can use this code as a template for your services, or remove the code entirely and create the code for the operations from scratch. However, if this is your first time testing the new data-centric features of Flash Builder, I strongly recommend sticking with the stub code for now. The service class used for this article was only slightly modified: Basically, I replaced item with user wherever it appeared. You will also need to change the database parameters accordingly as well as table names and fields where they appear so that they correspond with your actual database. The application built in this article pulls contact information from a table called User, so I had to modify the service stub accordingly.
When you are finished coding the service, you must configure the return types for each operation. However, before you do that, this is a good time to open the package that was added to the Package Explorer for your project earlier. The package is named services.UserService, where UserService is the name that you assigned to your service. In this package, you will find two classes. The one that holds the same name as your PHP service that is intended for customization. Notice that the class extends your service's super class. The name of the super class will have _Super_ attached to the beginning of the service name. Do not modify this class. You can override any of the methods in the super class as necessary.
Configuring Return Types
Your Flash application must know what to expect for the data type that will be sent and returned for each method. To configure your method return types, right-click one of the operations from the Data/Services tab, then click Configure Return Type.
This process can be a bit tricky if you aren't aware of a few things. First, it is best to configure the getAllUsers method first. Assuming that your service does not have any errors, you should get a response with an object that has more objects in the payload, provided that you inserted a few entries into your database for testing purposes. Next, enter a name, such as User, as shown in Figure 6.



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Figure 6

This is the new process for creating value objects. You can still code value objects the way you did with Flex Builder, but it would be counterintuitive to use the same methodology with Flash Builder, considering the speedier workflow you gain by letting Flash Builder automate this process for you. Plus, the value objects that Flash Builder generates are more like value objects on steroids, in that they do a whole lot more than just wrap a bunch of values for strong data typing between the client and server. For example, the return type set for getAllItems is a User object, even though it is actually a collection of User objects. This is because the auto- generated result handlers are smart enough to know the difference between a single User object that is returned versus a collection of User objects. In other words, you don't have to type the result to an ArrayCollection and go through the whole typing, binding, and object-mapping process as you would have done with Flex Builder.
When configuring the getAllUsers and getUsers_paged methods, you'll have to shift the paradigm that you may have gotten used to with previous versions of Flex. In the past, you would have declared an ArrayCollection, typed the response data to it, and then bound your list or data grid to the variable. There were also things like class mapping, which made the process even more difficult. Luckily, that's all in the past.
So, the code that was generated when your value object was created is smart enough to figure out when it has a collection of User objects as opposed to a single User object. Therefore, as you can see in Figure 7, the return types for getAllUsers, getUser, and getUsers_paged are all of type User.



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Figure 7

When you configure the updateUser operation, you could send the ID and user details as a single object or two separate objects' it really doesn't matter. The main thing to understand is that you are not sending a User object here. The PHP service does not care about the strongly typed User object you have on the client side, nor does it need to. Just send the data as an Object, as seen in Figure 8.



Click here for larger image

Figure 8

The reasoning for sending the new user data over as a generic Object is clear upon reviewing the Structured Query Language (SQL) statement that was auto- generated for the PHP service stub:
public function updateUser($userId, $user) {
  $this->connect();
  $sql = "UPDATE User SET last_name = '$user->last_name', first_name = '$user->first_name',
  email = '$user->email', phone = '$user->phone', company = '$user->company', job_title =
  '$user->job_title', person_type = '$user->person_type', lead_source = '$user->lead_source',
  tags = '$user->tags' WHERE id = $userId->id";
  mysqli_query($this->connection, $sql)
  or die('Query failed: ' . mysqli_error($this->connection));
    mysqli_close($this->connection);
}


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