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In Flash Catalyst CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding demonstrates how to create and publish fully interactive Flash (SWF) micro sites, widgets, portfolios, and applications from static Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks artwork—all without writing code. The course covers planning a project, importing and organizing assets, creating interactive components, defining repeating data lists, and publishing final projects. Exercise files are included with the course.
As we are beginning to see inside of Flash Catalyst, working with pages and state is an integral part of managing your project. For example, in this project right now, I have six pages. I have one page that shows the Home page or the overall view of the map. I then have five separate pages that detail different parts of the olive oil manufacturing process. Now we know that when I was inside of Illustrator, I spent a tremendous amount of time making sure that my file was organized into layers, and I was also careful about how I named my layers.
That way, a quick glance at the Layers panel identifies what each element actually belongs to. For example, when I click on page 2, I can see that right now the Growing layer is now visible. You can just imagine how difficult that process would be if I had 15 or 16 different objects spread out among different layers. Even worse, if there was no naming conventions used and I had to start turning on and off layers just to identify which objects belong on each page. However, the same concept also applies to the pages themselves.
Just calling pages by Page 1, Page 2, Page 5 won't really help me when I start working with the organization of my project, or more importantly how I tell certain buttons to do different things later on. For example, when I am working with Flash Catalyst later, I am going to turn this into a component. This will be a button and when I click on it, I am going to want to specify an interaction. I'll want that interaction to take me to a different page. Well right now, all the Growing information is on Page 2. So I'm going to have to start keeping track of, okay, when I click on this button I go to Page 2.
When I click on this button over here, which is the second part of the process, I am going to go to Page 3. It can quickly get very confusing. So to make things easier to work with, I'm actually going to name my pages. I will start by clicking on Page 1 and I am going to double-click right on the words Page 1 to highlight it. Since this will be the main view. I am going to name this MainView. Notice by the way, I didn't add any space here between the two words. I typed in Main and View and I just made it easier to understand by using a capital M and a V for the two different words.
That's because the names of pages are not only here for my own benefit, they also appear that way in the code. That means if I were ever working on a complex project, and I wanted to hand that project off to a developer to work on, they could readily do so because remember everything you do inside of Flash Catalyst is automatically converted into code. In other words Flash Catalyst will always help me as a designer make sure that everything that I create is going to be developer-friendly. In fact, watch what happens now if I try to add a space to this name. Instead of calling it MainView, I am going to type in MainView space.
But as soon as I hit a Space, you can see that right now that box is highlighted into a different color. If I try to add some text, I move my cursor over here, a pop-up lets me know that state names must be unique and they can't contain punctuation or spaces. So I will delete those two characters and now I can see that's currently a valid name for my page. Next, I am going to come over to Page 2 and once again I am going to double-click on Page 2. This part of the process is called Growing. So I am going to name this page Growing.
I will come over to Page 3 and once again I am going to name this page according to its process as well, which is Picking. So once again I will double-click, type in Picking and click Enter to accept that. I'll use the slider to move over just to see the other pages here. And notice by the way the little grayed out version here of the HUD. Since I have nothing selected, the HUD is not visible. But I do see a little bit of a ghosted version of it there. If that is somewhat annoying to you and it does sometimes get annoying to me, you can go to the Window menu and choose to hide the HUD panel.
The keyboard shortcut for that is F7. So now I will just rename the remainder of these pages. I will highlight Page 4, double- click on it, call this one Extracting. Hit the Tab key to accept it. Come over here to Page 5. I will call this one Bottling. And finally, I will name the last page Tasting. Now that I have named all of my pages, it's much easier for me to navigate throughout my project. If I know I need to make some adjustments on the Extracting page, I'd just simply click over here on Extracting and I am taken to that page.
But this also speaks to a really important concept about how pages work inside of Flash Catalyst. Let me scroll here to the beginning over here so we can see the first page which is MainView. Notice that right over here there is a colored bar and at the top of the colored bar, there is a little circle or a dot. Notice that none of the other pages have that dot. Only the first page has it right here. Now normally, if I were creating a document in say InDesign, you of course have pages in your document and those pages appear in a certain order: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3.
And your intention is that somebody reads through that document in a specific order. However, when dealing with Flash Catalyst projects, there is no order to the pages. For example, if somebody goes ahead now and visits this interactive tour online, when the application first loads in that web browser, they will see the MainView page. However they may not start at the Growing page, which appears as the first part of the olive oil manufacturing process, they may jump straight to the Bottling or the Tasting aspect.
So there really is no order to pages. Each page has its own specific name. However, as we discussed, when you first load this content into a browser, the first page of that project needs to appear. So there is this concept of the first page. However, all the other pages are pretty much on the same level. In Flash Catalyst we refer to this first page as the default page. If you look at the Pages and States panel, the default page is represented by this little dot.
So for example, if I go to the File menu here and I choose to run my project, this will now actually go ahead and compile my project and run it back inside of my web browser. I will see that the MainView page is going to be the first page that appears. That's my default page inside of my project. However let's go back to Flash Catalyst for a second here, and say if for some reason I actually wanted the Growing page to be the default page. I want that page to be the first page that appears when this project loads in a browser.
Well, I'll move my cursor over to the Growing page and I'll click on it to select it, I will right-click on it and now you can see that there is a setting here called Set as Default State. If I choose that option, now you will notice that the dot has disappeared from the MainView page, but now appears on the Growing page. More importantly, watch what happens right now when I choose File > Run Project and I test this in my web browser. Now the MainView page won't appear first, but the Growing page is the page that's going to appear in the web browser when this application first loads.
So when I am building my project inside of Flash Catalyst, I want to be careful about what I name my pages and I also want to make sure that I am specifying the correct page to be the default page.
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