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HELP! Techniques for using dependent picklists outside of SFDC configured pages

I have a Flex application where I want to leverage to have configurable dependent picklists.


I would like the Flex application to use the picklists in the same manner as if I was on a configured SFDC page... e.g. the child picklist values would be linked based on the selected value of the parent.


I found some code that looked rather ineffecient for determining if a child picklist value is valid based on using some bitwise operations, and iterating through every single object returned by describeSObject.


Does anyone have a more effective way to do this -- i.e. a way to query a child picklist using a parent value, returning the valid choices?