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Information on how to learn Flash is prevalent, but it can be frustrating to understand how to make an entire working web site using this unique technology. Here's a course that cuts through the clutter and offers practical tools for creating a dynamic web site, even for first-time developers. In Creating a First Web Site with Flash CS4 Professional, veteran Flash instructor Paul Trani simplifies the process of integrating animation, video, audio, and user interactivity to create a site that is dynamic and appealing. The goal of this hands-on workshop is to teach web site-building skills for today's demanding interactive industry. Exercise files accompany the course.
Ultimately what Flash is going to produce is an SWF file. This is great. It's usually a really small file and I can see there is this floating image file. It's 279 kilobytes. So it's pretty small and let's go ahead and take a look at what is contains. I open it up. There are all the sections in here including this Portfolio section. Now what's going on here is this image is actually embedded within the SWF file, but what I want to do is I want to make this SWF smaller so it's faster to download and quicker for people to see. But I still want to keep all the content in it, so I don't want this to affect content at all.
So I'm going to dynamically pull in this image. I'm going to take it out of Flash. I'm going to dynamically pull it in from this folder. So I'm going to close this. I'm going to pull in that image from the Images folder. If I look in here, this is the image I want to pull in. And again the reasons I want to do that is it's going to make my file size smaller for my SWF, and it's going to enable me to update my web site without going into Flash. Okay, so in Chapter 6 I'm dealing with this LoadingImage FLA file and if I scroll down to this Portfolio section, here is the image that I want to change.
So I need to double-click in the content_mc, double-click again to enter the Portfolio movie clip, and right here you can see this is the image that I want to dynamically pull in. In fact what I'm going to do now is I'm just going to delete it. There we go. Just deleted that image. Now in place of that image I'm going to use a component. I'm going to use the UILoader component, very powerful and really easy to use. So with that example-lg layer selected, that's where I'm going to put my component. Let's go to Window, down to Components, and in the Components panel, if you twirl down user interface, near the bottom is this UILoader component. Very powerful and all I need to do is click and drag it onto my stage and position it where I want this image to load into.
All right, now he is roughly in position. I can go ahead and close the Components panel and let's take a look at the different parameters and settings I have for this UI Loader. So let's go to Window, down to the Component Inspector and take a look at what this component contains and what we can modify. So from the Component Inspector I can auto-load it. I want to make sure I'm maintaining the aspect ratio. I don't want to scale down the content. I want it to appear at actual size, and not scale down to this little square.
Even though what I sometimes will do is select the Free Transform tool and scale it out a little larger. I can do that if I want to. But in general if I undo that scale, just know that it doesn't matter, the size of this UILoader component, because anything that gets pulled in it's going to keep its content exactly at 100%. So I'm changing this scale content to false. The most important parameter in here is this source parameter. Now remember I went into the images folder and I want to target the portfolio01.jpeg.
That's the image I want to target, and hit Enter. So that's what's going to be loaded in right in here. All right, so let me close the Component Inspector and let's go to Control > Test Movie. Now when I go to the Portfolio section, what's interesting in it is it should look exactly the same, and it does. And that's what you want your users to experience. You want them to experience the full site, but not have to deal with a huge download at the beginning. In fact, if I close this and I minimize Flash, I can see that this SWF file is smaller as well. It's not down to 213 K.
So again that's your goal, make your initial site a quick download and dynamically load as much content as you can, especially when it comes to the user first initiating the content before downloading it as well. But again, this is going to keep your file size really small and it's not going to sacrifice any of your content, if you do things this way. Very powerful!
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