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Data Visualization with PHP, Flash, and AMFPHP
David Wall, David Wall Enterprises

Track: Emerging Technology Tutorial
Date: Monday, February 09
Time: 1:30pm - 5:00pm
Location: Presidio

This tutorial explains how to use the emerging AMFPHP environment as a way of using PHP to write rich and elaborate data-visualization tools. Participants will leave the session with knowledge of AMFPHP and its considerable utility in making data more meaningful.

The AMFPHP environment (http://www.amfphp.org) is an open source utility, which allows for interconnection between software written in the PHP language (http://www.php.net) and animations written in Macromedia Flash. This is extraordinarily useful in providing highly visual front ends (displayed in a browser, typically) that connect across a TCP/IP network to PHP objects on the server side. The PHP objects can then connect to databases (usually open source MySQL or PostgreSQL ones), effectively making the visually appealing Flash interface a window onto the stored data.

The three-hour presentation begins with a demonstration of an application that allows users to visualize the sales and inventory activity of a retail store in near-real time. The application's design and construction will be explored, focusing in particular on references to Flash objects from within PHP programs and connectivity from Flash objects to PHP scripts. The presentation concludes with a discussion of other possible applications, and of the implications of tying open source elements (such as PHP and MySQL) to proprietary technologies (such as Flash).

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