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Thread: a design question

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    Question a design question

    Hi all,

    I am confused about how to design a modual flash site that make it easy for me to extend and/or remove portions of my site. I am a photographer,and I want to build a site that show case my works. I have N numbers of categories and each category contains 2 different format, horizontal & vertical. Each format will have atleast 20 photos with some kind of transition.

    a) What is the most efficient way to build this site?
    b) Do I build MC for each category or should I build them all as external swfs?
    c) I have neve get to understand how to control the timing for all the MCs in the main time line, so if you could unclog my brain..i would very much appreciated. Say I have 1 mc with 100 frames , other has 200 frames. Is that how many frames I need to have in my main time line to place the 2 MCs and each other will have to be away from each other that many frame before one can be played after the other? Or I just create 2 frames(in the main time line) next to each otherand loaded with the 2 MCs and tell actionscript to do the timing?
    d) and I do I need preloaders on every category/MC/SWF , I guess?

    Thanks

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    I am confused about how to design a modual flash site
    Firstly, don't. Flash should be used to augment an HTML site, with appropriate HTML fallbacks for those browsers without Flash. To design an entire site in Flash is to make a most unpleasant blunder, although one lamentably commonly seen.
    a) What is the most efficient way to build this site?
    Nothing you've specified above actually requires Flash. It should be quite possible to create the site using plain HTML and Javascript, and the end result should be much more accessible.
    d) and I do I need preloaders on every category/MC/SWF , I guess?
    Alternatively, you could have a single preloader on entry. I think it would be less irritating to users to have a separate preloader for each category, though, yes.
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    Twey,

    I do understand all that you are saying. However, first, I was thinking of having the main contents built in flash with HTML page as the host (just like you mentioned).

    Second, I dont know how css can help me with all that fx (rubberbanding, tranparency layer etc..) flash can do. That's my reason to use flash.

    Third, even if CSS can do all this (and I really want to learn how to do it) f/x, I still want to know the right way to call up MC or external swf and/or when should I consider to build something as MC or external SWF and how to laythem out in the main timeline. As you all can see, I dont have formal training on all this, therefore I got bits here and there..enough to get me going but it still bothers me for not having a firm grip on the subject.

    Btw,sorry for my spelling errors. I blame it on my fingers..(yeah right...)

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    first, I was thinking of having the main contents built in flash with HTML page as the host (just like you mentioned).
    Mentioned, but didn't recommend
    Second, I dont know how css can help me with all that fx (rubberbanding, tranparency layer etc..) flash can do.
    CSS alone can't, but coupled with Javascript it's more than capable. Have a look at one of the many effect toolkits available, such as jQuery, Prototype (site currently down?), MooFX, Scriptaculous, Dōjō, or Rico.
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    I usually tend to agree with Twey in most cases, mainly because of the amount of respect I have for him and the sheer intelligence he has.

    However, in this case I will agree to disagree. One of Twey's fall backs is always to use JS. and here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Twey
    Nothing you've specified above actually requires Flash. It should be quite possible to create the site using plain HTML and Javascript, and the end result should be much more accessible.
    What Twey doesn't recall is a conversation we have had a while back where I showed him the reach of Flash as compared to JS. Flash versions 5 through 7 reach more computers and browsers on those computers than JavaScript does.

    To me, this means that if someone has JavaScript they will have Flash, and for those few who don't, they probably only use the internet to contact their son through email and get photos of thier grandchildren, and worry much less about actually browsing to internet sites.

    In another contrast, I have a web site which uses a lot of Flash. In the 14 months I have had it open to the public, I have had well over 2.08 million unique IPs come to visit, of those 2.8 million, my page pe page stats show only 284 IPs have hit the HTML only pages I made to compensate for non-flash users. As such I am currently re-doing the main pages of the site and doing away with the non-flash versions.

    Some people will yell and whine that Flash is only meant to compliment HTML and other scripts, but I say BAH! Flash is a stand alone language and interface that can do anything any other language can (with limits, of course) and there should be no reason why Someone shouldn't be able to make a Flash only site, and feel comfortable about it.

    That said:

    a) The most efficient way would be to make an image gallery and let the user/visitor view the photos at their own pace. You can even have the 2 designs (horizontal and verticle) and let he visitor choose which one to view.

    b) Neither, you can (and should) make each photo an MC but leave them in your library and let ActionScript pull them out when needed.

    c) With an image galley type application you wont have to worry about such things, however, the proper use of stop(); and gotoandplay(); will cure that.

    For example your 2 MCs one with 100 frames and one with 200 frames, just place them in one single frame each. add a layer above and add a stop(); to frame 1 and another to frame 2. When loaded the frame will play the entire MC never going to frame 2 and MC2. On the last frame of MC1 you would just put _root.gotoAndPlay(2); then the time line would go to frame 2 and play that MC, etc etc

    d) No, just one preloader for the entire movie, it will load all the items and images inside and play once it is ready.
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    Graphics and html are seperate.

    Basing an entire site in flash is stupid. It's slower to load, not as compatible, and just doesn't make sense.

    Using flash, depending on purpose, is right.

    I agree that Twey's suggesting to do things like transparency with CSS and Javascript is a bit over the top, but you also need to think about how much you need things like this.

    If you want part of an image to be transparent, then use an IMAGE. Nothing more needed.

    If you do, however, need complex motion and graphics, flash is almost definitely the way to go.

    BUT.... add flash to a base of html, whatever the ratio thereof may be.
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    What Twey doesn't recall is a conversation we have had a while back where I showed him the reach of Flash as compared to JS.
    You're right. May I have a link? Even if this is so, installation of Flash does not necessarily equate to better accessibility -- for example, screen readers have serious issues with Flash.
    One of Twey's fall backs is always to use JS.
    Certainly not. I'll be one of the first to suggest the use of plugin content (usually Java, but still... ) when appropriate. However, most of the things people would usually do with these methods don't require plugin content, and one must ask one's self if something that does require said plugin content should be in a web page in the first place (considering that plugin content isn't actually part of a web page).
    I agree that Twey's suggesting to do things like transparency with CSS and Javascript is a bit over the top
    Not at all. Using one of the toolkits above, it is simplicity itself.
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    Yes you can have your link Twey:

    http://www.dynamicdrive.com/forums/s...t=10825&page=3

    Reply #27 has the links in it.


    I am not trying to start a huge debate here, but the OP wants to show case a lot of rotating images with some splash. While screen readers are great, do they show images well at all to the blind, wether in Flash or JS or HTML? And if s/he is showcasing works for sale, is a blind person going to browse to buy?

    I think the goal is to accomplsh what you want with "minimal" loss to audiences. Showing photos online and making sure the blind can "see" them is not an overly huge concern when designing.

    But I ask you, sir, to show a nice splash filled image gallery that doesn't use a plug-in enabled language of some kind. All the "properly working ones" use JS or are done in Flash.

    I think cross browser compatibility is important, but in certain (and often times - most) instances this is the least of worries. If that were the actual case we would need to rewrite a bajillion pages to be compatable for text only browsers, and then lose php, JS, Flash, and images all together. Might as well go back to BBS.

    I am sorry, but I am not going to lose functionality or "pretty-ness" for 1 - 10% of the web enabled population.

    If I was a cookie baker and sold cookies out of my house, and 90% of my revenue was generated from peanut butter cookies, I wouldn't stop making them because 3% of my customers were allergic to peanuts. I am willing, as a business owner, to lose 3% of my sales, to gain the 97%.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twey
    However, most of the things people would usually do with these methods don't require plugin content
    Like what? View the page? Keeping the OP's concerns in mind, what else would one normal web viewer do with images besides look at them?
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    That thread deals with Java and Flash, not Javascript.
    I am not trying to start a huge debate here, but the OP wants to show case a lot of rotating images with some splash. While screen readers are great, do they show images well at all to the blind, wether in Flash or JS or HTML? And if s/he is showcasing works for sale, is a blind person going to browse to buy?
    With JS, one could offer alternative content for the screenreaders. The person could find an image of which s/he likes the sound and ask a friend to look at it -- possibly the same friend for whom s/he is purchasing the image (obviously it is fairly unlikely, although not impossible, that a blind person would buy such an image for his/her self). Also, please bear in mind that the original discussion involved a site created entirely in Flash, not simply an image gallery.
    I am sorry, but I am not going to lose functionality or "pretty-ness" for 1 - 10% of the web enabled population.
    Which is entirely my point. If you have content that really does require plugin content, and honestly can't provide a decent fallback, then certainly, give the user appropriate warning and use it. But many of the tasks for which modern webmasters use plugins such as Flash or Java don't actually require the plugins, and as such there is no point in sacrificing accessibility for no gain, no matter how small the percentage of client&#232;le that may involve.
    If I was a cookie baker and sold cookies out of my house, and 90% of my revenue was generated from peanut butter cookies, I wouldn't stop making them because 3% of my customers were allergic to peanuts. I am willing, as a business owner, to lose 3% of my sales, to gain the 97%.
    But if, for the same price (or possibly at less cost, considering bandwidth usage), you could produce something that looked, smelled, and tasted like peanuts, but didn't trigger the allergies of those 3%, would it not be a better idea to use that instead?
    I think cross browser compatibility is important, but in certain (and often times - most) instances this is the least of worries. If that were the actual case we would need to rewrite a bajillion pages to be compatable for text only browsers, and then lose php, JS, Flash, and images all together. Might as well go back to BBS.
    The key here is graceful degradation. Certainly we shouldn't design text-only pages just because a few people use text-only browsers, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't add a text-based fallback where there is no disadvantage except perhaps half a kilobyte extra filesize.
    Like what? View the page? Keeping the OP's concerns in mind, what else would one normal web viewer do with images besides look at them?
    I was talking about webmasters, not users. There are webmasters who use Flash to display text, just because they can. This seems to be the sort of approach you're advising, and it is unnecessary. You're right; Flash is widespread enough that it is a viable solution for many problems, but when it's not necessary, it shouldn't be used without a fallback.
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    I think we are kinda off the track a bit here. Everyone here has the points to be considered and technologies are plentiful to choose to do whatever you wanted. There are many ways to accomplish the same thing and depends on:
    a) which development tools you are familar and/or want to experiment with
    b) 'your' target audiences
    c) the requirements of the projects. The dictation of your boss/clients.
    d) the maintenance, the dynamics, the supports issues
    fighting over technologies, readability, accessability etc..is just like fighting over some politic and religion vs science issues.

    Blizzard: Can you explain a bit more on how to use action script to load my single photo (as mc) when needed. May I send you an off-line email on some "how-to-do-it" questions?

    Twey & Everyone: I thank you your your comments. I think I will incorporate my flash segments of my gallery within a HTML page but that's not really what I 'd like to ask. What I really like to see is..sort like a flowchart, structure of the site with recommended technical tips & tricks, what to avoid, how the big guys(or the majority/preferred ways) do it, things in that nature.

    Thanks

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