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Creating a Dynamic Playlist for Streaming Flash Video

Creating a Dynamic Playlist for Streaming Flash Video

As developers, we are often bogged down with mundane tasks such as site maintenance and updates. If we want to pass these tasks on to clients or colleagues who are not tech-savvy, we have to develop sophisticated interfaces to simplify the process for them and to give them easy access to the data. XML gives the power to control content back to the client, freeing us developers to do what we do best.

High-profile sites, most notably Google Video and, are taking advantage of the integration of Flash video with XML. By editing one flat file, you too can update your video content dynamically.

At a MAX conference, Chris Hock and Srinivas Manapragada from Macromedia (now Adobe) presented an XML-based solution for creating content-driven media players called VideoSource. Using their code as a foundation, you will develop your own dynamic video playlist in this article. This XML-based approach is perfect if you ever need to display multiple video clips but you don’t want to edit your Flash source code every time you add new video content. As an extra bonus, the application actually generates thumbnail previews on the fly.

Note: This tutorial shows you how to create a dynamic playlist for streaming Flash video. To find out how to build a similar playlist using progressive download Flash video, see my article, Creating a Dynamic Playlist for Progressive Flash Video.

The basic framework of the VideoSource application consists of the following (see Figure 1):

  • Flash Media Server (FMS) to stream video
  • XML file as the data source (playlist-demo-1.xml)
  • Custom-made player for playback (VideoSource2.swf)
  • External ActionScript files (,

Server/file diagram of the VideoSource application

Figure 1. Server/file diagram of the VideoSource application

You can download all source files for this project.


To complete this tutorial you will need to install the following software and files:

Flash Professional 8

Flash Media Server 2

Sample files:

Prerequisite Knowledge

You should be familiar with Flash Professional 8 and understand the basics of delivering video through Flash and Flash Media Server (FMS). You should also have a basic understanding of XML.