Flash animation gives websites pizzazz. It’s used for video and other moving graphics, as well as non-static adverts. Flash is an excellent way of adding a little something extra to your site and making it stand out from the crowd.
It’s been around since 1996 and has become a standard tool for creating multimedia for sites, adding sophisticated video and audio streaming to its role as a graphics animator.
But Adobe Flash is a complex, expensive tool and there are plenty of alternatives. Most are much cheaper; many are free.
We’ve used three tools in the following workshop, and each adds a separate Flash multimedia element to your website. The following pages will show you how to provide animated galleries and embed an MP3 player or video widget to your website.
You will need to know a small amount of HTML and XML but, for the most part, you are simply required to enter a URL for your own media and follow templates.
Exposé 4.4 is the most complex tool we will use. It provides a standalone gallery that runs on both your desktop PC and your website.
PremiumBeat provides free Flash players that can be hosted on a site. Different styles and formats are available and, once you have installed a player, you simply copy and paste the relevant code into your web page.
Our third application, Flowplayer, works in a similar fashion to PremiumBeat, and you’ll again need to copy the relevant files to your site. But this app is more extensible. FlowPlayer’s scripts allow you to do some fairly sophisticated things with video, including animated scrolling between playlists.
Add animated photo and video galleries
1. Once you have installed Exposé 4.4, either as a standalone package on your site or as part of a content-management system, click the Album Manager link and enter your password. This will launch the application’s back-end, where you can upload images to be displayed on your website.
2. Exposé uses collections which, in turn, host individual albums. Click Create Collection, enter a name, then click Create Album. A collection can contain multiple albums. These appear in the program’s front-end as animated lists.