As social technology growth continues to march on and dynamic learning grows to be the need of the day, it is little surprise that social media has now become an integral part of learning as well.
Various elearning development companies are integrating the popular social media services like Twitter, YouTube etc. right into their courses and LMS. A couple of months back, the Adobe Captivate blog demonstrated a twitter widget that can be integrated within a Captivate Flash output to send a tweet (as questions/suggestions/comments etc.) about the content of a learning module and get answers/opinions from others following the course tag. This is just one example. The options, however, are multifold.
These social media elements can also be integrated in the elearning courses or applications developed using Flash technologies. There are many Flash/ActionScript libraries available for this purpose, some of which are listed below.
1. Twitter – There are many libraries available for Twitter integration. The complete list can be found at Twitter API wiki. Below are two of the commonly used ActionScript libraries –
a. Tweetr – This is one of the most commonly used twitter ActionScript 3.0 libraries. It’s up to date and has support of the new Twitter features like retweet and lists. Moreover, it boasts of a PHP proxy class that can be used to overcome the cross domain issues of Flash. This library has good documentation and tutorials and also supports URL shortening.
b. TwitterScript – This is the one of the ActionScript 3.0 libraries that has been created in the early days of Twitter by Twitter itself. However, they open sourced it later for the ease of updating. This library hasn’t been updated since March 2009 and hence doesn’t include support for the new Twitter features like lists and retweet.
2. Facebook – The most commonly used class for Facebook integration is facebook-actionscript-api. Developed by Adobe and Facebook, this API is fully supported by both. Adobe’s developer center website includes many tutorials for beginners and advanced users on using these classes.
3. YouTube – The YouTube API for Flash, allows developers to load the YouTube video player in Flash files. This player can load any public video and perform various functions like play, pause, seek, control volume etc. YouTube has the APIs for ActionScript 2.0 and ActionScript 3.0, both of which are developed & supported by YouTube itself.
Note: YouTube recommends ActionScript 3.0 for any development and also advises to upgrade the existing ActionScript 2.0 applications to ActionScript 3.0.
4. Flickr – Filckr officially doesn’t support any API for Flash but there are quite a few options available, of which as3flickrlib is the most popular. Along with facility for authentication, uploading photos etc., it also has good documentation and tutorials for users.
5. Picasa – Picasa Flash API is an ActionScript 3.0 library for Picasa Web with no official Picasa support. This library can only be used for obtaining the images from Picasa web; it’s security restrictions don’t allow adding new images. Recently Google has added support for authentication from Flash, so writing the data would also be possible in the near future.