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

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Creating Flash Movies

Full-featured Flash movies are best created using Macromedia’s Flash software. Obviously, it is beyond the scope of this book to teach the ins and outs of Flash authoring, so I recommend using the tutorials that come with the software as well as support documents provided by Macromedia (http://www.macromedia.com/support/flash/). For an incredibly thorough book of tutorials and reference material, check out Flash 5 Bible by Robert Reinhardt and Jon Warren Lentz (Hungry Minds, 2001).

File Formats

The Flash authoring tool saves information about a movie in a .fla source file (also called a “Flash document” or “Flash editor document”). The .fla file contains all the separate elements that make up the movie and its timeline information in a fully editable format.

When the movie is ready to go on the Web, it must be exported to .swf format. The suffix originally stood for “Shockwave Flash,” but in the face of confusion with Macromedia’s Shockwave for Director format, Macromedia has changed its tune and now translates .swf to “Small Web Format.”

This new moniker is accurate. In the export process, the information from the original layered .fla file is flattened down to one layer and one timeline. The resulting file packs a lot of multimedia punch in a size that is appropriate for the Web.

Flash Interface Basics

As noted earlier, it is beyond the scope of this book to teach Flash. However, it is useful to be generally acquainted with the Flash authoring environment. ...

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