Ming the Tutorial

What is Ming?

Ming is a open-source (LGPL) C library which writes SWF ("Flash") movies. It's also a set of wrappers for popular scripting languages PHP, Python, and Ruby.

Ming supports almost all of Flash 4's features, including: shapes, gradients, bitmaps (pngs and jpegs), morphs ("shape tweens"), text, buttons, actions, sprites ("movie clips"), streaming mp3 audio, and color transforms. The only thing that's missing is sound events.

Also, Ming has absolutely nothing to do with MNG, the animated kin of PNG. Both are used for web animation, both are pronounced "ming", but only one is used for making annoying flash movies. Actually, I'll hereby open a contest to replace the name- winner gets his or her choice of a box of 5 1/4" inch floppies, or half a dozen 8088 motherboards.

(Update: the contest is closed, and the winner is.. <drumroll>- Ming! It's Chinese for "bright, luminescent, or beautiful". Very cool.)

Doesn't PHP already have SWF functions?

Okay, sure, but I felt that the SWF functions that are currently available in PHP needed a facelift. The library that these functions require is closed source and has only been built for a few platforms, Windows not being one of them. Also, libswf requires a fairly intimate knowledge of the guts of the SWF file format to make sense.

So I'm doing you a favor- don't ask questions, okay?

Ming the Tutorial

This tutorial will show you how to build simple flash animations with Ming, and hint at some of the more advanced features. Then, before kicking you out and turning off the lights, we'll attempt to do something useful and demonstrative with Ming.

1. Introduction
2. Basic Drawing Commands
3. Fill Styles
4. Animation
5. Text
6. An example!

next: drawing stuff for fun and profit. Well, for fun, anyway.

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