With Xcelsius, you are equipped with components that will allow you to create a single parent SWF file that dynamically loads child SWFs inside of itself. The purpose of this “multi-layer” dashboard functionality is to enable designers to build large scale dashboard applications that are easier to scale and manage. One of the issues that will arise when building these applications is a need for the parent SWF to communicate with the child SWF file. While Xcelsius does not provide a means to do this, a workaround is possible for passing simple data sets from a parent to child on load.
By combining the slideshow component with a simple concatenate function, you can easily enable the parent SWF to dynamically stream single value or multiple value parameters to a child SWF (with the use of Flash Variables to consume the parameters). Below is a brief description of how I configured this example:
1. Insert the slide show component and bind the source file URL to a cell (B3). In this case the name of our child SWF is “child.swf”
2. Create the parameter(s) names that we will pass on to the child SWF: “single_param”, and “multiple_values”
3. Decide where within the spreadsheet the parameters will be drawn from (user input, formula, insert in cell(s) for a selector): A1 & A2
4. Now we will concatenate a new URL so we can pass the parameters. The URL will end in cell B3, and will look like this: child.swf?single_param=A1&multiple_values=A2
In this case I created two input text boxes for each parameter and linked them to cells A1 and A2. Now we can configure our child SWF to consume the parameter values.
1. Go to File>Export Settings…, and click on the radio button labeled “Use Flash Variables.”
2. Check “CSV format,” and then click on the “Define Variables” button.
3. We want the first parameter, “single_param”, to be a single value so we name it accordingly and bind the variable selection to a single cell.
4. The second parameter, “multiple_values” will need to be configured to accept multiple values from the parent SWF so the variable selecton will be bound to a range. In this case we selected a column. In order for the SWF file to plot multiple values, they will need to be comma separated.
To illustrate the Flash Variables being populated in the model, I inserted a simple table component. Now you can place both the parent and child SWF files in the same directory and give it a try. This will also work inside of a PDF or PPT as long as the child SWF is in the same directory.