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Web Design in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition by Jennifer Niederst Robbins

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Chapter 24. Audio on the Web

Simple audio files found their way onto the Web in its earliest days when they could be linked to and downloaded like any other file. The drawback to this technique is that traditional audio files are generally quite large and may take a prohibitively long time to download. As the Web evolved, we’ve seen some major breakthroughs in web audio. First, streaming audio (files that play as they download) made long-playing audio and even live broadcasts possible. Then the MP3 format exploded into popularity around 1999. MP3’s ability to crunch audio files to one-tenth their original size while maintaining very good quality made it a perfect solution for sharing music over the Internet.

Obviously, audio, even specialized for the Web, is a rich and complex topic that cannot be thoroughly treated in a single chapter of a Nutshell reference book. If you are interested in learning about all the ins and outs of creating professional-quality audio for a web site, I recommend starting with Designing Web Audio by Josh Beggs and Dylan Thede (O’Reilly, 2001). It contains information on recording, editing, and optimizing audio content, as well as in-depth discussions of popular web audio formats.

This chapter introduces general audio concepts and a number of popular web audio file formats, including WAV, AIFF, MP3, QuickTime, MIDI, RealAudio, Windows Media, Liquid Audio, Flash audio, and Beatnik’s Rich Media Format. It also discusses the many options for adding audio ...

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