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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    Lightbulb When does it use Flash Player?

    I am reading as much as I can about Flash MX as I begin to learn the in's and out's. The documentation and sites I have visited confirm that Flash player is not required for Flash Button nor required for Flash Banners. I have seen sites that say you must have it, yet I have been to sites (on other computers that do not have a Flash Player) that view a very short animation with Flash just fine.

    My question is how does FLASH or a browser recognize that this is just a button or banner and it doesn't require the Flash player? Is it based on file size or some sort of specification when exporting?

    Specifically;

    -When does Flash require a flash player and how does it recognize it does not need the player to be viewed by a browser?
    -When do you recommend using a "pre-loader", based on what file size?

    Assumptions;

    - I am using Flash MX
    - I am importing it into DreamWeaver MX (if this makes a difference)

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru MG315's Avatar
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    it depends on your definition of flash player. to my knowledge, to play flash you must have flash player to view as standalone OR flash plugin to view through browser. I remember a long time ago before i ever started with flash, one of my friends made something in flash and i didnt have the player so i couldnt see it. but then i remembered seeing flash in IE so i opened it in IE and it worked. The plugin works for browsers, the player works for standalone (unless you export as an executable, then it doesnt need either b/c it has flash player in it).


    I recommend using a preloader whenever a flash is large enough to cause someone on a 56k to see blank for more than 5 seconds. It should take about the same amount of time to load as a normal browser does, and if it doesnt they wont bother looking at it. The preloader is solely to keep the interest of the end user and (if used right) to show how long he must wait. If you use a preloader, don't use a simple "loading..." text unless you expect it to take an extremely short amount of time. When one sees that, he questions how long it will take. A bar or percentage shows how much is left, and is what i prefer. But in my portfolio, i have a short preloader thats just the text "loading" for when im loading the jpg preview images of a project. those are simple jpgs and shouldnt take long at all. Its there just to show that the button isnt dead and actually did something (so he wont go off and press another one).

  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist dalangalma's Avatar
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    To clarify, any flash content in the browser needs the plug-in. Everything. No exceptions. Buttons and banners need it just like the rest. Fortunately most browsers and even Windows (and MacOS) ship with the flash player preinstalled.

    MG315's advice on preloaders is very good. My only addition would be that if you think you need a preloader, it might just be better to optimize your flash file to be smaller instead, and to be careful designing a preloader so that it dosen't add much file size on its own!
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot webQS's Avatar
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    Hi

    As has been said, all Flash content requires the Flash Player, It's a third party file type that won't run natively in a browser.
    Flash content can be authored by a number of programs - Flash MX, Livemotion, Swift3d, Swish etc etc etc. Content can be published for any version of the Flash Player.
    Currently the versions most populous are 5 and 6. Flash Player 6 is not Flash MX and vice versa - basically Flash MX can export newer ActionScript that is recognised by FP6 but no other version.

    Internet Explorer 5 + for Windows (possibly 4) is the only browser in the world that supports Flash via an ActiveX control - all other browsers use the Netscape Plugin Architecture, including IE for Mac.

    To further confuse things, if you "View Objects..." in Internet Explorer it sometimes doesn't show any Flash ActiveX installed. This is because the activex control has been installed on WinOS not via the browser.
    This can be a way to do mass deployments of the Flash Player (say over a network).

    With DW, make sure you test your pages in a browser. Users views sites with browsers not with DW.
    If you do some research on the HTML code used to include a Flash movie in a page, this will help you out - there's a lot more than the default settings provided by MM.


    HTH
    James


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