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Benefits of the New Skinning Architecture

Benefits of the New Skinning Architecture

The Flash MX 2004 components are based on the Version 2.0 component framework, the latest framework provided by Macromedia. One of the many changes the new framework required is a re-thinking of how components will support skinning. In the previous version of Flash, there wasn’t much of a formal system behind how skinning was implemented. Generally component developers just made sure that they had movie clips in the library for when a component needed to display something. In that way a user could easily edit a library symbol if they wanted to change the look of a component. This was very simple for users, but also very limited.

As you might have guessed, a simple approach has many drawbacks. The biggest of which was the ability to skin different instances of a component separately and have control over skinning through code. Since all instances shared the same library symbol, instance-level skinning wasn’t possible (at least not without a lot of extra work). Furthermore skinning required you to work with the library and didn’t provide you with other options. With the new component framework, users have a lot more flexibility over how they can skin components. With this added flexibility though comes greater complexity, which requires a solid understanding of the many options to best take advantage of the skinning architecture.