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Frequently Asked Questions (for Developers)

What expertise is needed to create a SpicyNodes application?

SpicyNodes is a hosted web service. For its most basic implementation, a webmaster needs only a small amount of HTML knowledge — enough to copy a snippet of ready-made HTML integration code for a Flash object.

The input data should be broken up into small nuggets and described in XML. Because few tags are used, this process requires low- to medium-level knowledge of XML. As with any XML-based application, syntax should be strictly followed.

Using the External API interface allows SpicyNodes to be accessed using JavaScript objects. Please contact us for more information about JS integration.

Read more about Getting started with SpicyNodes.

How long does it take to create a SpicyNodes application?

Depending on its complexity and the preferred approach, a SpicyNodes application takes from approximately 15 minutes to several days to complete. Most of that time goes into writing the content. Technical implementation is fast and simple. A nodemap can be created simply and expeditiously using SpicyNodes’ graphic interface, it can be completed manually by editing configuration files, or the two methods can be combined for optimal results.

Is SpicyNodes scalable?

Yes. SpicyNodes scales to any traffic level. All resource files accessed by embedded nodes (when you put a nodemap in your site) are served via Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Web Services, providing scalability and reliability. Amazon CloudFront uses a global network of edge locations, located in United States, Europe and Asia, and automatically routes your visitors to the closest location as required by network conditions. For up-to-the-minute information on service availability of embedded nodemaps, see Amazon’s Service Health Dashboard. On that page, the relevant entries for you are Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Simple Storage Service (US).

Furthermore, all nodemaps are cached to avoid database delays. SpicyNodes data is transferred using simple Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs, with no additional overhead from messaging layers.

If you dynamically generate the XML data using your servers, scalability will depend on the capacity of your system.

What features of a nodemap can be customized?

Virtually every feature of a nodemap can be customized, including:

  • Layout: SpicyNodes offers dozens of ready-made layout styles and backgrounds, which are fully customizable into millions of unique styles.
  • Shapes: Each of SpicyNodes’ preset shapes can be customized by fine-tuning options such as label placement, node shape, connector type, and so forth.
  • Colors: Color schemes can be selected from a system palette or combined in user-defined palettes, which can be saved for later reuse. New colors can be created by mixing existing shades, changing their characteristics, or selecting tints from an uploaded image.
  • Interaction: Node interactions can be manipulated on a scale from natural to synthetic to achieve the desired effect. In addition, sounds that accompany the user’s interactions can be integrated and adjusted.
  • Navigation: SpicyNodes’ numerous navigational aids (including the search box, breadcrumb display, and previous and next buttons) can be turned on or off. Active aids can then be adjusted for customization.
  • Accessibility features: The dashboard for modulating the features of SpicyNodes make it easily accessible, and enable the designer to enlarge the mouse cursor, give the nodes a high degree of contrast, disable interactivity and switch to text-only mode, and so forth.

Is there a quick way to adjust styles & settings?

Each nodemap you create using the online tools has a unique ID. You can use the style from one nodemap for another by providing a second ID in your HTML, separated by a comma. See API Embedding & Customizing for details. You can right-click on a nodemap for a contextual menu that will give you your ID.

What data formats can be used with SpicyNodes?

SpicyNodes is a Flash-based application. In order to load external data, the data needs to be properly described in XML format. Custom elements, such as fonts and node shapes, can be uploaded to a deployed implementation after they have been compiled in SWF graphics format. Numerous raster and vector graphics file formats may reside in the SWF files.

How can SpicyNodes be integrated into an existing web site?

SpicyNodes is a hosted Web service that can be easily integrated by copying a snippet of pre-generated HTML code that includes an embedded Flash object.

Can SpicyNodes be integrated into other applications?

SpicyNodes can be integrated into a variety of applications, such as content management systems, social networking platforms, blogs, and so forth. Our API has a clear syntax, and you can have your nodes load from an XML file which you generate.

What technology was used to create SpicyNodes?

SpicyNodes was built using the Flash ActionScript v2 object-oriented programming language. Its layout algorithms, interactivity features, and visualization engine all have been written in ActionScript and run in Flash Player version 8 and newer.

What Flash players does it work on?

The SpicyNodes engine is written for Flash Player 8 and newer (it is based on AS 2, which uses AVM 1). As of March 2010, Adobe claimed that over 99% of browsers have Flash player 8 in "mature markets" and approx 98% in "emerging" markets. See Adobe Flash Player Version Penetration

Why AS2?

We want SpicyNodes to work for the broadest possible user base. We have put extensive R&D into optimizing the performance of our engine, and our internal tests show minimal speed improvements with AS3. In the future, we may rewrite our engine in ActionScript 3 (AS3). In our experience, version penetration is a bit lower than Adobe’s statistics, and we want to make sure that the maximum number of your web site visitors will be able to use SpicyNodes.

Which platforms and web servers are supported by SpicyNodes?

SpicyNodes supports all platforms that serve Flash content with XML data. In practice, this includes all web servers that offer publicly available content. Both Flash and XML technologies are de facto standards, both widespread and commonly used. The end user needs to have Flash Player version 8 or newer.

How does SpicyNodes relate to Adobe Integrated Runtime or Adobe Flex?

SpicyNodes is designed for online access. In the future, we may consider implementations using Adobe AIR’s cross-platform runtime environment. It is a complete display and interaction environment, unrelated to Flex.

What's stopping some other site from cloning SpicyNodes?

Go for it.

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