RESTful Flash plus Flex history

After Kevin Lynch was gang tackled for failing to integrate his Flash deep-linking example with the browser's history navigation (Back/Forward), I recalled that Flex includes a history manager that's intended to support just that kind of integration. Manish Jethani, a Macromedia developer, has created another example that shows how Kevin's technique can be combined with the Flex history manager. (Manish's source code has now been incorporated into Kevin's downloadable archive.) I tried the new example using Flex 1.0 and, although Manish tells me there were no changes in history management between 1.0 and the new version, 1.5, I'm not having much luck getting it to work. I'm quite curious to see this in action, so I'm upgrading to Flex 1.5 as we speak, but if someone can point to a live instance of Manish's example running on a Flex 1.5 server I'm sure a number of folks would be interested to see it.

The Flex documentation on history management is here, and the best third-party write-up I've found is this essay at It looks straightforward to implement the state-saving and state-loading methods in a component and then register it with the HistoryManager. But the plumbing is a bit daunting. There's backchannel communication of auxiliary .SWF files from the Flex server to the client, use of an invisible frame on the client, and JavaScript glue to wire everything together. And of course, the machinery has to be merged with the URL-line synchronization that Kevin demonstrated.

Can all this stuff be simplified and -- crucially for widespread acceptance -- made independent of the Flex server? I think that's an important challenge for Macromedia, as well as an opportunity for the newly open-sourced Laszlo platform. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Update: The example does require Flex 1.5, and it also requires Internet Explorer. (Well, it sort of works in Firefox -- you can use the browser's Back and Forward buttons, but the URL-line doesn't synch. I'd be interested to know what's need to solve this.) You can try the modified example here. If you can't run IE, or in case I take that server down, here's a quick screencast that shows how it works.

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