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Femion » 2008 » June » 13

Coding frustrations

June 13th, 2008

For most of today, I’ve been dealing with two programming annoyances. The first is in my work. I chose to write my programs in Actionscript instead of Java, and I think I’m now paying the price. As far as I can tell, the only way to incorporate outside data is with XML, and Actionscript references XML in a very irksome way. Think of XML as storing data as boxes inside of boxes. For example, an XML document could be of the form:
<box1>
<innerboxa>
</innerboxa>
</box1>
<box2>
</box2>
<box3>
<innerboxb>
</innerboxb>
<innerboxc>
</innerboxc>
</box3>
Now, I think it would make sense to be able to reference the stuff in inner box c by going xml.box3.innerboxc . But no. Actionscript ignores the names of the boxes and instead arranges the tags by a family tree. To get to innerboxc, you have to go firstChild.nextSibling.nextSibling.firstChild.nextSibling.
Anyway, I’ve gotten used to the Actionscript family tree system. The problem I ran into a few days ago was that Actionscript didn’t seem to be passing variables out of the xml scope into the global scope. At least, that was what I assumed was going on, from the forum threads I read. So I spent several hours trying out all the various solutions, and none of them worked. It turned out that my problem was that the functions using data from xml were executing before the xml data was loaded. A few minutes to write some timeline controls and it was fixed. So much for four wasted hours spent on the wrong solution.
I’m also working on a facebook application for the DSU. My second frustration is related to the facebook libraries that are required for facebook applications. They include files that don’t exist, or are in another directory. It seems like a really easy thing to fix, and facebook has been allowing people to develop applications for at least a year now.

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