Office: BE3175c, no phone
Hours: Appointment only
Tuesday, August 10
DUE August 8: Assignment 4
- Motion Editor
- Motion Presets
- Flash Libraries - included
- Flash Extensions
- Basic Motion
- Color Effect
Flash Motion Presets
- Window/Motion Presets
- Modify Common for custom
Flash Common Libraries
- Classes - for use with Actionscripting, web services, etc.
- These are shortcuts that designers/scripters create, and many are free
- Example: Frames-to-Symbol (and Symbol-to-Frames) - good if you do layers work and want to convert into a symbol: select the layers and frames you want to put into a MovieClip, click the button, and it does all the work for you.
- Here are some to experiment with: Ajar Productions Blog
- Extension Manager - Download to install and manage Flash extensions
- Components are pre-created Flash widgets (animated movie clips) that behave in a consistent way and are ready to use without you having to write the Actionscript.
- While there are components in Actionscript 2, make sure to create an Actionscript 3 file to get full component and skinning possibilities.
- Include User Interface, Video pieces, Media pieces, Data (heavy programming only)
- Let's look at User Interface: UIScrollBar, Calendar, Textbox
- Other User Interface pieces work with Flash Forms
- Media works with creating players and galleries
- Video works with movies to be embedded
- There are many other components, but you'll need to research those on your own, especially since some have actionscript additions to make the component do something specific.
- Button components are cool, but for now you already know how to do your own basic buttons.
- The Component Inspector is a useful tool when you are programming components. Stick with the basics only, stay away from the code under the hood
- Binding Tab - Developers
- Schema Tab - Developers
- Parameters Tab - this is the one visual designers use most
- Value Column - This is where you make adjustments to how the component will work with the content/need you have
- Place on the stage
- Name the Instance of the component (for later actionscripting, if needed)
- Populate it with data as needed (using Component Inspector Parameters)
- This can include aiming to a file to be loaded or Dynamic Text to appear)
- Modify the basic appearance as allowed in the Properties Tab (size, location, text, etc.)
- Skin the component if you wish to modify more of its appearance
- Define the Actionscript that gets triggered (if any) when the component's Event fires (like a Button)
- Place and set the additional components that might work together (like form elements such as radio buttons).
Deleting Components Cleanly
- Don't just delete the component from the stage - leaves behind assets in your library
- Instead, Select the component on the stage, choose Edit/Clear
- Then, in Library, look for the component piece with an instance use of 0, then delete that.
- Then, in the Library, click the Component Assets folder, find the Skins folder for the component, and delete that too.
- Skinning components means changing how the skin of the component looks (different than the default look)
- If you plan to use the same component more than once, and want a consistent look for each, make your Skinning changes before adding data, actionscript, or content. Example - buttons.
- Must be in a saved Actionscript 3 file for skinning to be available
- Right-click on your component and choose Edit
- Modify the parts of the component that appear in the Skinner. This only changes the appearance of the component instance you choose.
- Sounds can be dropped into animations just like symbols
- Sounds don't automatically stop when you animation does
- You need to put a stop action on the last frame of your sound if it is longer than the movie
- You need to loop the sound if you want a soundtrack when the movie is longer than the sound
- You can add sound to a frame
- You can add sound directly to a button
- Make a new Template file which you save as Actionscript 3.0 version - add the INFO layer and library folders. Add a new library folder called Components.
Thursday, August 12
- SEO Maximizing
- Mostly lab time
Basic SEO & Accessibility
- The purpose of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to make a website as search engine friendly as possible, so that it can be found when searched for and whenever possible have high rankings in search engines like Google.
- Don't ignore best practices. An example of good practice: put keywords in ALT tags, page file names, headlines, title tags and link anchor text.
- Check out general SEO Basics
- Accessibility is directly related to SEO - Alt tags, link names and titles, etc., so that Text Readers can relate the info to visually-impaired individuals.
Flash and Search Engines
- Flash and Search Engines don't really mix
- Flash is a compiled upload, and can't easily be searched/indexed.
- HTML can create different "weight" to elements, like head, bold, etc. In Flash, that doesn't work the same way.
- Google and Yahoo now use a special Flash Player to be able to search inside of Flash movies.
- Google and Yahoo! are able to index text compiled into a SWF, as well as any HTML code that is automatically generated by Flash.
- Although the SWF itself is not very searchable, any content inside a SWF can still be made very visible by using the right tactics.
Flash and Accessibility
- Flash also has problems with accessibility.
- No Alt tags
- No link names/titles
- Text readers can't look inside the compiled Flash movie to see what is there to be translated
SEO: What you can do
- Use the Flash File Info section fully to describe the movie with the available metadata fields, and give keywords, description, copyright, author name, etc.
- Use Actionscript to create deep links that can be found/indexed
- Use multiple external movie SWFs in the main movie, so each external movie may have its own File Info tailored to it
- Maximize the searchable areas - any text used in the Flash movie and any URLs used in your Actionscript
- Use HTML in dynamic text fields for SEO in Flash, along with CSS or the TextFormat class (per O'Reilly)
Accessibility: What you can do
- Use the simplest and cleanest language for any text content
- Provide a text equivalent for all images, like captions, which can be found in a search
- Place text elements in the order in which they are read
- Distribute information evenly
- Keep Images on screen for a longer period of time, and avoid using flashing images
- Prepare for Flash Player 6 and higher, since these players have better accessibility support.
- For static movies, use the Window/Other Panels/Accessibility panel, and set Make Movie Accessible and Make Child Objects Accessible. Don't use Auto label unless you are a developer and know what this means.
- For dynamic movies, Actionscript will need to be used for accessibility features.
Flash and Security
- Flash offers some code security to the average viewer since you cannot see the source of a compiled file.
- Hackers, however, find/create tools to dig into the Flash movies to find assets you have used and extract your Actionscript code (per O'Reilly)
Flash Security Tips
- Avoid using private data
- If you do have text information in the file that you need to see but which can be considered private or irrelevant to a search engine, convert the text to outlines.
- Use Optimal settings in the Publish Settings - the Flash Tab:
- Specify Flash Player detection, click the HTML tab and select Detect Flash Version and enter Flash Player version to detect.
- Include XMP metadata (Default) Exports all metadata entered in the File Info dialog box.
- Protect From Import - Prevents others from importing a SWF file and converting it back into a FLA document, and has password protection option. Helpful but not perfect.
- Select the Flash security model to use from the Local Playback Security pop‑up menu, and set to Local
- Set for Flash Player 8 and higher, since Player 7 and lower have less built-in security.
- If you are into programming, get the basics of Actionscript 3.0 since this version of actionscript accesses better security tools.