Capabilities example: Detecting system capabilities

Flash Player 9 and later

The CapabilitiesExplorer example demonstrates how you can use the flash.system.Capabilities class to determine which features the user’s version of the Flash runtime supports. This example teaches the following techniques:

  • Detecting which capabilities the user’s version of the Flash runtime supports using the Capabilities class

  • Using the ExternalInterface class to detect which browser settings the user’s browser supports

To get the application files for this sample, see . The CapabilitiesExplorer application files can be found in the folder Samples/CapabilitiesExplorer. This application consists of the following files:






The main application file in Flash (FLA) or Flex (MXML).


The class that provides the main functionality of the application, including adding the system Capabilities to an array, sorting the items, and using the ExternalInterface class to retrieve browser capabilities.


An HTML container that contains the necessary JavaScript to communicate with the external API.

CapabilitiesExplorer overview

The CapabilitiesExplorer.mxml file is responsible for setting up the user interface for the CapabilitiesExplorer application. The capabilities of the user’s version of the Flash runtime will be displayed within a DataGrid component instance on the Stage. Their browser capabilities will also be displayed if they are running the application from an HTML container and if the external API is available.

When the main application file’s creationComplete event is dispatched, the initApp() method is invoked. The initApp() method calls the getCapabilities() method from within the com.example.programmingas3.capabilities.CapabilitiesGrabber class. The code for the initApp() method is as follows:

private function initApp():void 
    var dp:Array = CapabilitiesGrabber.getCapabilities(); 
    capabilitiesGrid.dataProvider = dp; 

The CapabilitiesGrabber.getCapabilities() method returns a sorted array of the Flash runtime and browser capabilities, which then gets set to the dataProvider property of the capabilitiesGrid DataGrid component instance on the Stage.

CapabilitiesGrabber class overview

The static getCapabilities() method of the CapabilitiesGrabber class adds each property from the flash.system.Capabilities class to an array ( capDP ). It then calls the static getBrowserObjects() method in the CapabilitiesGrabber class. The getBrowserObjects() method uses the external API to loop over the browser’s navigator object, which contains the browser’s capabilities. The getCapabilities() method is as follows:

public static function getCapabilities():Array 
    var capDP:Array = new Array(); 
    capDP.push({name:"Capabilities.avHardwareDisable", value:Capabilities.avHardwareDisable});  
    capDP.push({name:"Capabilities.hasAccessibility", value:Capabilities.hasAccessibility});  
    capDP.push({name:"Capabilities.hasAudio", value:Capabilities.hasAudio}); 
    capDP.push({name:"Capabilities.version", value:Capabilities.version}); 
    var navArr:Array = CapabilitiesGrabber.getBrowserObjects(); 
    if (navArr.length > 0) 
        capDP = capDP.concat(navArr); 
    capDP.sortOn("name", Array.CASEINSENSITIVE); 
    return capDP; 

The getBrowserObjects() method returns an array of each of the properties in the browser’s navigator object. If this array has a length of one or more items, the array of browser capabilities ( navArr ) is appended to the array of Flash Player capabilities ( capDP ), and the entire array is sorted alphabetically. Finally, the sorted array is returned to the main application file, which then populates the data grid. The code for the getBrowserObjects() method is as follows:

private static function getBrowserObjects():Array 
    var itemArr:Array = new Array(); 
    var itemVars:URLVariables; 
    if (ExternalInterface.available) 
            var tempStr:String ="JS_getBrowserObjects"); 
            itemVars = new URLVariables(tempStr); 
            for (var i:String in itemVars) 
                itemArr.push({name:i, value:itemVars[i]}); 
        catch (error:SecurityError) 
            // ignore 
    return itemArr; 

If the external API is available in the current user environment, the Flash runtime calls the JavaScript JS_getBrowserObjects() method, which loops over the browser’s navigator object and returns a string of URL-encoded values to ActionScript. This string is then converted into a URLVariables object ( itemVars ) and added to the itemArr array, which is returned to the calling script.

Communicating with JavaScript

The final piece in building the CapabilitiesExplorer application is writing the necessary JavaScript to loop over each of the items in the browser’s navigator object and append a name-value pair to a temporary array. The code for the JavaScript JS_getBrowserObjects() method in the container.html file is as follows:

<script language="JavaScript"> 
    function JS_getBrowserObjects() 
        // Create an array to hold each of the browser's items. 
        var tempArr = new Array(); 
        // Loop over each item in the browser's navigator object. 
        for (var name in navigator) 
            var value = navigator[name]; 
            // If the current value is a string or Boolean object, add it to the 
            // array, otherwise ignore the item. 
            switch (typeof(value)) 
                case "string": 
                case "boolean": 
                    // Create a temporary string which will be added to the array. 
                    // Make sure that we URL-encode the values using JavaScript's 
                    // escape() function. 
                    var tempStr = "navigator." + name + "=" + escape(value); 
                    // Push the URL-encoded name/value pair onto the array. 
        // Loop over each item in the browser's screen object. 
        for (var name in screen) 
            var value = screen[name]; 
            // If the current value is a number, add it to the array, otherwise 
            // ignore the item. 
            switch (typeof(value)) 
                case "number": 
                    var tempStr = "screen." + name + "=" + escape(value); 
        // Return the array as a URL-encoded string of name-value pairs. 
        return tempArr.join("&"); 

The code begins by creating a temporary array that will hold all the name-value pairs in the navigator object. Next, the navigator object is looped over using a loop, and the data type of the current value is evaluated to filter out unwanted values. In this application, we are interested only in String or Boolean values, and other data types (such as functions or arrays) are ignored. Each String or Boolean value in the navigator object is appended to the tempArr array. Next, the browser’s screen object is looped over using a loop, and each numeric value is added to the tempArr array. Finally, the temporary array is converted into a string using the Array.join() method. The array uses an ampersand (&) as a delimiter, which allows ActionScript to easily parse the data using the URLVariables class.

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