Can I Use Arca in Shockwave?


The short answer is no. Arca is not signed as a shockwave-safe Xtra, so it will not load in Shockwave or allow access to databases located in an online server. There are several reasons for this decision.

Arca was developed to be the easiest to use database solution for CD-ROMs and other local applications, including kyosks and presentations. The Xtra contains both the client and server parts of a database engine in a single, small file (~= 400Kbytes, compared with over 1.2 MB for other database solutions.) It can also be used successfully in intranet scenarios of for shared access of the database file by multiple clients using standard file sharing techniques, as described in technote AR001.

For Shockwave clients the common scenario is the need to have a central database, maintained in a web-accessible server. This database usually contains update information that will be retrieved and updated by your Shockwave movies, so all movies need to access and update the same database files. It is also common that only a small portion of information is retrieved from the database at any given time, due to bandwidth concerns and performance reasons. So an user browsing a catalog will only retrieve the information needed at the moment. The logical solution for this problem in our opinion is not to allow the user to download the whole database file for local viewing as implemented by other solutions, since this defeats the purpose of sharing the data in a web-connected environment. If the whole database needs to be downloaded then it is usually better to just include all the information needed in a Director movie or cast file, and there is no need to use a database solution at all.

Generally the best way to implement database functionality in a Shockwave movie is not with an embedded database engine and a shared database file, but with a dedicated database server and a client Xtra. You should probably use a standard SQL backend (like MySQL/ PostgreSQL / Oracle / Access / MS SQL Server) connected to a Nebulae Multiuser Server (see the related technotes) or via PHP. The Nebulae approach is specially powerful because it allows you to connect to a shared database server without the need of any special client or license fees (SQL queries and results are submitted using Macromedia's own MultiUser Xtra and a regular multiuser session in Nebulae.)

If however you have a scenario or project where you believe Arca access in Shockwave would be useful for some reason, please let us know! Submit a request for support using the SUPPORT section of our site detailing the specifics of your project, and we will consider your suggestions for future developments of Arca and our other products.


 AR002 Arca Database Xtra All 1.0 Shockwave August 27, 2003 Arca