Development:AMF3

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.2. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: AMF3.

AMFPHP/Moodle2.0/Flex/AS3
  • New Moodle Webservices for use with Flex/AS/ (dec 2009) WS TRACKER 2.0
  • OLD ActionScript 3.0 (Flash CS3 and Flex) page
  • Original ActionScript 2.0 tutorial Development:AMFPHP

AMF in Moodle 1.9

A framework for Flash learning interaction integration with Moodle 1.9 already exists. If you want to get started with AMFPHP in Moodle 1.9 right away, see the SWF Activity Module on Google Code.

TEMP NOTE: Updates Dec 2009

Further to recent questions from parties....

AMF for use in Moodle is currently being completed within web service infrastructure for Moodle 2.0. Developers please see WS TRACKER 2.0

The information contained below is for reference only, Parties interested in development status of Moodle/AMF see above link. Developers interested in /Flex/Flash builder/AS moodle trail activities feel free to contact marcusjpotter'at'gmail.com - who is co-ordinating Moodle trail activities with Moodle HQ.

- Marcus Potter: Will remove notice once docs updated

History: What is AMFPHP?

Action Message Format PHP

AMFPHP is a widely used open source remoting server that allows Flash and Flex client-side applications to call PHP methods directly, as if they were native Flash/Flex ActionScript methods. It is fast and lightweight and presents an efficient, simple and easy to implement method of communicating with PHP and databases.

Preserved Data Types

AMFPHP preserves the following data types between ActionScript and PHP:

  • Array
  • Bitmap
  • ByteArray
  • int
  • Number
  • Object
  • Recordset (mysql_result)
  • String
  • XML (ActionScript 3.0 also supports E4X notation)

Note: Please add to this list if you have successfully tested data types using AMFPHP 1.9.beta+ and ActionScript 3.0.

AMFPHP automatically converts data types between ActionScript and PHP to their native equivalents. For example, it can convert a PHP array into and ActionScript array or a PHP resource, such as a mysql_result into an Actionscript Recordset.

AMF0 and AMF3

Previous versions of Flash, using ActionScript 2.0 (versions 6, 7 and 8), use AMF0. ActionScript 3.0, Flash CS3+ and Flex, use AMF3 by default but can also use AMF0. What's the difference? AMF3 is compressed and therefore lighter and faster. For more details look here. AMFPHP version (1.9) supports AMF3

What is AMF Moodle?

AMF Moodle is a new project (9th October 2008) which aims to integrate Flash and Flex with Moodle's API. The aim is to build a library of services that Flash and Flex developers can use to create secure client-side applications that can interact with Moodle. The first step will be to create a Moodle modules that facilitates deploying custom made, generic Flash and Flex e-learning interactions in Moodle courses and recording user interaction results in the Moodle gradebook.

AMF Moodle Outline

There is a summary of some of the specifications for the new AMF Moodle on the Talk:AMF_Moodle comments page that are under discussion. Once we have a more definite specification, it will be transferred to here. Please feel free to comment, make requests, ask questions etc. on the comments page. It'll really help us alot.

AMF Moodle Participants

The project's participants at the moment are: Matt Bury, Jamie Pratt and Marcus Potter.


Find the AMF Moodle discussion thread here.

For further discussion, please use the Talk:AMF_Moodle page comments tab for this wiki page.

What Are the Differences between Using AMFPHP and SCORM?

Several Moodle developers and contributors have asked the question, "If you want to deploy Flash in Moodle, why not use SCORM?" There is a discussion in the General Developers Forum on the advantages and disadvantages of SCORM.

Installing AMFPHP in Moodle

Download

  • Download the latest version of AMFPHP, currently version 1.9.beta (SourceForge repository).
  • Unzip the file and find the directory amfphp.
  • Upload the amfphp directory to ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/

Edit gateway.php

  • Find the file ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/gateway.php and open it in your favourite text/PHP editor
  • At the beginning of the code, add the line: include_once "../../config.php";
  • Find and edit the line: $gateway->setClassPath($servicesPath); and change it to: $gateway->setClassPath($CFG->dirroot."/lib/amfphp/services/");
  • Upload the edited ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/gateway.php file.
  • That's it!

Setting PHP 5 as Default

Please note: AMFPHP requires PHP 5 to work seamlessly, although some report success with version 4. Many servers run both PHP 4 and 5, but have them set to run PHP 4 by default. If you experience problems, you may have to change the default PHP version in the ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/ directory with an .htaccess file. The following is an example only. Please check that it is correct for your server configuration. If you have a hosted server, they'll probably have an example in their help files. For example:

  • Find the AMFPHP .htaccess file at ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/.htaccess
  • Open it with a text editor. You'll see:
#If you're working with a server which doesn't seem to display errors and you don't 
#have access to httpd.conf and you have a good reason to develop remotely instead of
#locally, you may have luck with uploading this configuration file to the server

php_flag display_errors on
php_flag display_startup_errors on
php_value error_reporting 2047
  • Add another line of code to change the default PHP version setting for the amfphp directory:
#If you're working with a server which doesn't seem to display errors and you don't 
#have access to httpd.conf and you have a good reason to develop remotely instead of
#locally, you may have luck with uploading this configuration file to the server

php_flag display_errors on
php_flag display_startup_errors on
php_value error_reporting 2047

SetEnv DEFAULT_PHP_VERSION 5

Testing AMFPHP in Moodle

Here is an example of a simple AMF Moodle service that checks the login status of your browser.

  • Create a new document in your preferred text/PHP editor
  • Copy and paste the code and save it as UserName.php
  • Upload it to ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/services/

Now is a good time to find out if your server is running the correct PHP version. If your server is running PHP 4 by default, you'll get error messages caused by the "public" namespace.

  • Navigate to the PHP page you just uploaded in your browser: ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/services/UserName.php
  • If there are no error messages then you can continue to the "Testing AMFPHP in Flash" section
<?php
class UserName
{
	public function __construct()
	{
		
	}
	/**
	*checks whether you're logged in to Moodle
	*@returns user login status
	*/
    public function loggedInAs() {
        global $USER;
        if (isguestuser()){
            return get_string('loggedinasguest', 'moodle');
        }else if (isloggedin()){
            return get_string('loggedinas', 'moodle', fullname($USER));
        } else {
            return get_string('loggedinnot');
        }
    }
}
?>

Testing AMFPHP in Flash

Please note: Flash CS3 and Flex come with the necessary classes for using AMFPHP already installed. It is not necessary to install any new classes!

  • Open the Flash CS3 IDE
  • Create a new ActionScript 3.0 class document
  • Copy and past the code below and save it as UserName.as
  • Create a new ActionScript 3.0 FLA document
  • In Properties > Document class: type UserName.as
  • Save the FLA file as UserName.fla in the same directory as UserName.as
  • Publish the UserName.swf, AC_RunActiveContent.js and UserName.html files
  • Upload the published files to your server
  • In your browser, navigate to the location of the UserName.html page
  • Try logging in and out of Moodle to see the change in your login status

ActionScript 3.0 Document Class

package {
	
	import flash.display.Sprite;
	import flash.text.*;
	import flash.events.MouseEvent;
	import flash.events.NetStatusEvent;
	import flash.net.NetConnection;
	import flash.net.Responder;
	
	public class UserName extends Sprite {
		
		private var _format:TextFormat;
		private var _display:TextField;
		private var _call:Sprite;
		private var _gateway:NetConnection;
		private var _responder:Responder;
		
		public function UserName() {
			initFormat();
			initDisplay();
			initCall();
			initGateway();
		}
		
		// create text format object
		private function initFormat():void {
			_format = new TextFormat();
			_format.font = "Trebuchet MS";
			_format.size = 15;
			_format.bold = true;
		}
		
		// create text field to display results
		private function initDisplay():void {
			_display = new TextField();
			_display.autoSize = TextFieldAutoSize.LEFT;
			_display.multiline = true;
			_display.x = 10;
			_display.y = 10;
			_display.defaultTextFormat = _format;
			_display.text = "Click on \"Call UserName.php\" to test.";
			addChild(_display);
		}
		
		// create text button to call UserName.php
		private function initCall():void {
			_call = new Sprite();
			_call.mouseChildren = false;
			_call.buttonMode = true;
			_call.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, callDownHandler);
			var btn:TextField = new TextField();
			btn.autoSize = TextFieldAutoSize.LEFT;
			btn.border = true;
			btn.background = true;
			btn.backgroundColor = 0xdddddd;
			btn.defaultTextFormat = _format;
			btn.text = " Call UserName.php ";
			btn.x = (stage.stageWidth - btn.width) - 10;
			btn.y = stage.stageHeight - 30;
			_call.addChild(btn);
			addChild(_call);
		}
		
		// depress call button and call UserName.loggedInAs method
		private function callDownHandler(event:MouseEvent):void {
			_call.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, callDownHandler);
			stage.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, callUpHandler);
			_call.x += 2;
			_call.y += 2;
			_gateway.call("UserName.loggedInAs",_responder);
			_display.appendText("\n  Calling UserName.loggedInAs ... ");
		}
		
		// reset call button
		private function callUpHandler(event:MouseEvent):void {
			_call.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, callDownHandler);
			stage.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, callUpHandler);
			_call.x -= 2;
			_call.y -= 2;
		}
		
		// connect to AMFPHP gateway
		private function initGateway():void {
			_gateway = new NetConnection();
			// Edit the following line to reflect your server configuration
			_gateway.connect("http://***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/gateway.php");
			_gateway.addEventListener(NetStatusEvent.NET_STATUS, netStatusHandler);
			_responder = new Responder(onResult,onFault);
		}
		
		// show returned results
		private function onResult(res:Object):void {
			_display.appendText("\n  " + String(res));
		}
		
		// show details if call is unsuccessful
		private function onFault(res:Object):void {
			for(var i:String in res) {
				_display.appendText("\n  " + String(res[i]));
			}
		}
		
		// show all net status events (can be status or error events)
		function netStatusHandler(event:NetStatusEvent):void {
			for(var i:String in event.info) {
				_display.appendText("\n" + String(event.info[i]));
			}
		}
	}
}

AMF Moodle Service Library

AMFPHP Service Browser

AMFPHP 1.9.beta comes with a Flex service browser ready installed. It allows you to see your library of services in the ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/services/ directory and call them. It also displays error messages very well. It's an ideal tool for checking out your services before your write Flash and Flex applications that call them.

VERY IMPORTANT!

DO NOT leave the service browser installed on a production server (i.e. public). It will leave your service library and therefore your Moodle API and databases exposed to the public!

List Of AMF Moodle Services

  • User.php - returns user login status, returns an array of config settings you can set, returns a value of a config setting, sets a value of a config setting
  • UserName.php - returns user login status

User.php Updated

If you've already seen the tutorials in Development:AMFPHP, here's an updated version of User.php that works with AMFPHP 1.9.beta. As with UserName.php, upload it tothe services directory at ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/services/. You can test it by navigating to ***MOODLEROOT***/lib/amfphp/browser/index.html and selecting User from the menu of services.

User.php Script

<?php
class User
{
	public function __construct()
	{
		
	}
    /**
     * Returns string indicating whether a user is logged in.
     * @access remote
     */
    public function loggedInAs() {
        global $USER;
        if (isguestuser()){
            return get_string('loggedinasguest', 'moodle');
        }else if (isloggedin()){
            return get_string('loggedinas', 'moodle', fullname($USER));
        } else {
            return get_string('loggedinnot');
        }
    }
    /**
     * Returns an array of config settings you can set.
     * @access remote
     */
    public function configSettings() {
        return array_keys(get_user_preferences());

    }
    /**
     * Returns a value of a config setting.
     * @param string name
     * @access remote
     */
    public function getConfigSetting($name) {
        $name = clean_param($name, PARAM_ALPHAEXT);
        return get_user_preferences($name);
    }
    /**
     * sets a value of a config setting.
     * @param string name
     * @param string value
     * @access remote
     */
    public function setConfigSetting($name, $value) {
        $name = clean_param($name, PARAM_ALPHAEXT);
        $value = clean_param($value, PARAM_NOTAGS);
        return set_user_preference($name, $value);
    }
}
?>

MDL.php

The following is a simple AMFPHP service that retrieves current user session data from Moodle. Save this file in the services directory of AMFPHP, i.e. moodle/lib/amfphp/services/MDL.php.

This class is PHP5 Object Oriented code and acts as a handy repository for accessing user session data. I haven't forgotten the closing ?> PHP tag. It just isn't recommended for OOP PHP5 classes. (It probably should use getter and setter methods of Moodle's API... but I can't find the relevant documentation!)

MDL.php script

<?php
class MDL
{
	public $logged_in = false;
	public $course_id; // course id of current login
	public $course_name; // course name
	public $user_id; // current user's id
	public $data_path; // URL to moodledata directory via moodle/file.php
	
	public function __construct()
	{
		global $CFG;
		require_once('../../../config.php');
		if (isguestuser()){
            $this->logged_in = true;
        }else if (isloggedin()){
            $this->logged_in = true;
			global $USER;
			global $SESSION;
			// set variables
			$this->course_id = $SESSION->cal_course_referer;
			$this->course_name = 'Not yet set!'; // TODO - find out how to get this
			$this->user_id = $USER->id;
			$this->data_path = $CFG->wwwroot . '/file.php/' . $this->course_id . '/';
        } else {
            $this->logged_in = false;
        }
	}
	/**
	*cleans up objects and variables for garbage collector
	*@returns nothing
	*/
	public function __destruct()
	{
		unset($this->logged_in);
		unset($this->course_id);
		unset($this->course_name);
		unset($this->user_id);
		unset($this->data_path);
	}
}

You can create an instance of this class like this:

<?php
class YourClassName
{
	private $mdl;
	
	public function __construct()
	{
		// create moodle authentication and user variables object
		require('MDL.php');
		$this->mdl = new MDL();
	}

You can then access the user session data like this:

		$this->mdl->course_id;
		$this->mdl->course_name;
		$this->mdl->user_id;
		$this->mdl->data_path;

Useful Links

AMFPHP


AMF Moodle


Sir Lee Brimelow's video tutorials

Learn how to install AMFPHP and create a simple service that sends email.

In this tutorial he shows you how to directly return database records to Flash using AMFPHP.

Alessandro Crugnola's tutorials

Adobe ActionScript 3.0 Language Reference

The two most important classes related to AMFPHP are:

Other useful resources


MISC AMFPHP/Flex/AS3/AIR Tutorials

AS3/AMF

Sample Flex,AS3(&AIR) Sourcecode & Applications


Misc Example AMFPHP Framework Examples

AS3 APIS

AMFPHP Is Fast

There's always someone who'll play with a new toy and push it until it breaks. AMFPHP can go pretty fast! Check out this blog article.


See Also

Moodle 2.0 Webservices - PLease refer to WS TRACKER 2.0 for updates on forthcoming AMF service for use with Moodle 2.0

Development:SWF - SWF Activity Module deploys Flash and Flex Framework (.swf) applications as learning interactions. Unlike the Flash Activity Module, it supports all versions of Flash and Flex Framework, XML, 3rd Party APIs and will eventually support Flash Remoting (AMF).