How do you create webpages with Flash?

Provided by the Good News Web Designers Association

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The following answers were provided by various members of the GNWDA, after one member asked this question in the discussion group. If you are a member who is not yet participating in this helpful network, sign up to share tips and questions on web designing ministry and tools, ideas and education.

Q: Is anyone familiar with creating pages with FlashPlayer? How can I add a sound to a button (mouseover or click), perhaps a chime sound or something? Is there another way, without using Flash?  ~ Mike

While you might not be able to do something that extensive with it, you might want to check out SWISH, which is a much easier way to make flash movies than learning Flash. It's also cheaper at $30. Check out swishzone.com. You will be able to do the text effects that are most common, along with bringing in images, and you can add actions to things if you want to make a menu. Check out their samples and you can see how it is done. I found it VERY easy to learn.

They offer a free trial version. However, unless they have changed their way of doing things, you will need to purchase SWISH in order to use the files on your website. The trial version does the work like the regular version. Once you put the file into a webpage, you will get garbagy letters. Once you purchase SWISH, they give you a key which makes everything come out the way it should. ~ Carole


SWISH exports in SWF flash file format. The mouseover sounds are pretty simple to create. To add a sound on mouseover without flash, check out virtuallyignorant.com/buttons/examples.html for some cool examples of things you can do in javascript.

As for flash, pre-loading is the key!! Make sure all of your flash pages include a pre-loader, as this makes them manageable for users with modems or slower "high speed" connections. The pre-loader lets all images and sounds download before playing them, so the flash runs smoothly. ~ Russ


I've been using Flash and I learn something new everyday. Flash can be a lot of fun as well as very frustrating at times. I suggest you go to macromedia.com  and download the trial version. Even easier is to pick up one of several magazines that give you a demo/trial version on CD. The two I would suggest are Digit and Computer Arts, both published in the UK but available in the US at most larger bookstores and magazine shops. Don't install the trial version until you're ready to learn. It's fully functional but only good for 30 days from the day you first install it.

Before you install it, visit several of the bigger flash sites and look at the tutorials available. Here are a few to look at:

It's also a good idea to learn about vector graphics which is what Flash is based on. A good vector graphics tutorial can be found at jasc.com/tutorials/rlacey

Plus there are several sites that have online classes that are either free or have a minimal charge. One nice one is trainingtools.com. They offer many free web-based courses, plus for only $25 the first month and $10 a month thereafter you can have access to all the online courses they have including Flash 5.

There are also many good books out that will help you learn Flash. The first one I would suggest is that Visual Jumpstart Series. They have a book for most web and graphics programs that are out. The books are inexpensive, usually less that $20, and are a great primer and even some intermediate and advanced learning. Their new Flash 5 book comes in two parts now, Basic and Advanced.

My best advice is start with the basics and build on them. Don't try to jump ahead without the basics. It will only confuse and frustrate you. ~ Jack


Flash is very simple for adding sound to your buttons. Just add a layer in the button editor and drag your click sound to the frame you where want the sound to be heard in (i.e., over, or down, or hit). ~ Jeff


Q: I downloaded SWISH and created a simple "welcome to our church" movie in about 10 minutes! Now here's another question: Does the .SWI file have to be inserted into an HTML document, just like a .GIF ?

For the answer, continue here.
   

IS IT NECESSARY
TO LEARN FLASH?

As with any new visual gimmick or website toy, there are still too many old computers out there that cannot handle Flash presentations. We need to remember them and help their experiences on our sites be good ones.

Even those who have Flash find it annoying to wait while the presentation finishes. It's also disgruntling to seek the link to the non-Flash page in the midst of flashiness. Some people quit rather than try. Old browsers often crash before they find the link.

First give a simple, easy-to-load page to all viewers and then add a link to the Flash version, not visa versa.

As with any fancy feature, the rule is:

NEVER use it unless it solves a problem and fulfills a real purpose. If the site's goals are met without it, don't use it. If it's fluff, don't use it. If the only reason for using it is that it's cool, don't use it.

Most people come to your site seeking something specific, and if they don't find it fast enough, they will go elsewhere.

If Flash is the best way to present what your visitors come looking for, then use it! If it's not the best way -- and even if it's not the only way -- don't rely on Flash.

Our goal as Christian web designers is not to have an ego-boosting place to show off our talents and skills. Our goal is to serve our visitors. Does Flash serve them well? Or is it just making us into flashy show-offs?

 

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