[development] Flex API, XML API modules are they needed?

David Metzler metzlerd at metzlerd.com
Mon Feb 9 05:40:21 UTC 2009

Hey all,

I work for The Evergreen State College  a small liberal arts college  
in Olympia, WA USA.  We're using Drupal as a portal system connected  
to our student information system, and also as a community networking  
tool centered around governance activities.  I also have a side job  
developing assessment analysis software (for public school systems)   
using flex, php and postgres. For the last two years +  we've been  
developing home grown Flex applications that use REST XML web  
services, as well as drupal modules that consume the same web  
services. This has become the primary architecture for developing  
applications at our campus.   For those who don't know me, I'm also  
the maintainer of the CAS (Single sign on for universities) and Form  
Defaults modules.  I'm trying to decide whether to take the time to  
push out new modules associated with the way we do development, or  
whether people would rather just use existing frameworks.

My question is, which if any of the following apis/modules might be  
of interest to the community?

Here's a summary of what's been developed so far:

Flex-api:  A quick way to leverage FLEX applications in Drupal.   The  
FLEX applications currently get embedded in a page, but we're  
thinking of extending this to blocks as well.  The generated code  
tells the flex app what url it should use as a web service, so that  
it can get data.  When the data service gets called it looks for a  
class file includes it an allows only methods of that class to be  
called.   It also looks for an auth method to see if the flex app is  
allowed.  Anyway, it's a nice way to bundle flex/flash applications  
with modules.

XML Forms Binding: This api uses SimpleXML and php DOM apis  to  
convert XML to drupal form_values style arrays so that you can  
basically get data from a web service and make a form using  
(tree=true) that will directly edit the XML that was passed to you  
provided you sprinkle a couple of functions in your form functions  
and submit handlers.  Includes conversion API for converting nested  
arrays (like forms) into XML and back.

XML-enabled DB Binding:  Write sql binding syntax that looks like  
SELECT * from table where name={xpathtofield}.  The XPATH entry can  
also be an index to a field array.  I find this more intuitive than  
the %1, %2 ,etc syntax that's used in drupal, cause you can reference  
the same bind variable more than once in an SQL statement.

Are these to specific to my way of doing development or are they  
drupal.org worthy.  Really I'm ok either way, (got plenty of work to  
do) so don't feel like you need to encourage me if you aren't  
interested  in using it.


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