Lazy deserialization improves WebService performance in Flash MX 2004

In response to a support request for our charting components I was looking into how a v1 component utilizes a v2 data source, such as the results from a WebServiceConnector. In stepping through the code, I noticed something surprising: the XML returned from the web service is deserialized on an as-needed basis instead of all at once. In the XML world this is called “lazy deserialization” and it’s a big feature I’ve never heard anyone mention as related to Flash MX 2004.

Curious? Here’s how it works…
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Undocumented Flash Player 7 Features: Recursion limit and script timeout

I couldnÂ’t sleep for some reason Sunday night so I decided to look through the File Format Specifications that Macromedia published recently. To my surprise there are a few things in there that I found interesting.

The cool chapter to check out is the “What’s New in Macromedia Flash (SWF) File Format 7”. In this chapter, there is mention of “ScriptLimits” which is a tag that sets the Maximum recursion depth and the script timeout seconds of a swf. Usually the MaxRecursionDepth is set to 256 as anyone who’s had the player loop a few too many times, and the ScriptTimeoutSeconds is responsible for that dialogue that pops up after 15 seconds.

It turns out that in the new player you have the ability to control those settings, wherein before you had to always make sure your movie behaved within those restrictions. I donÂ’t recommend people modify these settings, but if it is ever needed itÂ’s good to know it is there. Also there is mention of the default value of ScriptTimeoutSettings which apparently varies by platform (between 15 to 20 seconds). IÂ’m not sure if this is for Mac/Windows or actually for low-performance devices like pdaÂ’s but I didnÂ’t know about this variation before.

There are some other interesting things in there. If you have never looked at the file format specs, I definitely recommend it if you canÂ’t sleep and feel like getting deep into the byte code of your precious swfÂ’s.

More reasons not to trust instant messenger

We’ve been using Yahoo instant messenger for a few years within our company–we’re all spread out amongst several different offices. We’ve run into issues before where characters get converted to smileys unintentionally–as often happens with code–or with messages never being received, but today for the first time we actually had a message sent incorrectly.

yahoo error

Chafic’s window is on the left and mine is on the right. Notice the code in the middle, <html get’s converted to Zhtml. Not sure what caused that.