Tom Lauck’s

Get Yourself a Flex Application Name


While working with ExternalInterface on a recent Flex project it became a little cumbersome accessing the embedded SWF several times.  This is especially true if there is more than one SWF in a given page. Typing document.getElementById gets old fast as well. Therefore, this issue illustrates the need for core or global methods that can be reused, especially if you aren’t using a framework such as Prototype or jQuery.

When a SWF is embedded into a page, it naturally becomes a part of window.document/document/window (Internet Explorer).

The document is contained by the window object and may contain any number of elements.

Because of this, it is rather simple to access a SWF to pass a method into a Flex app.  The idea is simply to check whether or not the browser is IE (in this example we will use a UA check), then return the element with the appropriate SWF name:

function getSWFApp(appName) {
	if (navigator.appName.indexOf ("Microsoft") !=-1) return window[appName];
	else return document[appName];

Of course, there is more than one way to skin a cat. In this case, a more traditional approach:

function getSWFApp(appName) {
	return document.getElementById(appName);

Elsewhere in your code you can then pass a method to the SWF using dot syntax just as you would by using document.getElementById:


As an alternative to document.getElementById, returning the object from the document works like a charm. More importantly, a global method to retrieve a SWF saves many keystrokes. As an added bonus, this method can easily be added to the Flex HTML wrapper, thus allowing quick and easy deployment of applications using ExternalInterface.

21 Responses

date: November 28th, 2009

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Feb 27 2008