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Subject: FLASH: Flash4 will change the way the web works.
From: Troy M. Gilbert
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 04:20:55 +0100

>Can someone sell me on Flash4? MM hasnt. They do not give enough information
>on what the new upgrade can really do for the client.

I'm a huge supporter of Flash4 (having come from a programming background,
the scripting difference between v3 and v4 is opening up huge
possibilities). So, I'll take a shot at it:

Advantages of MP3 support: with MP3 support, sites will be able to have
more audio, faster download times, streaming on slower connections, all of
this with higher fidelity. I know, I know, most audio on websites gets
turned off because its annoying. But, audio is important for sites such as
entertainment and advertising. The tone of a narrator's voice can have a
great effect. And alot of people are interested in audio on the web. And
interestingly enough, people are much more willing to have low quality
visuals mixed with high quality audio as opposed to high quality visuals
mixed with low quality audio. In other words, some simple, static images
can be far more enhanced with some good narration and music.

Understandably, audio might not mean much to you or your audience, so how
about the next big feature: advanced scripting. To be honest, what Flash
has could hardly be considered scripting in comparison to the scripting of
other animation packages. With Flash's new scripting (ActionScript), alot
of the hacks we Flashers have engineered (smart movieclips, so to speak)
are now unnecessary. You want a button that toggles between two states and
you want to be able to simply say "If in this state, do this, otherwise do
this" its as simple as one scripting action. Instead of creating intricate
tell target commands and dummy movie clips for storing state information,
you can simply query a few variables. Do you want to do a certain animation
if this movie clip is playing but not if this one is? Simply setup an "If
MovieClipX=playing then do Y else do Z". Its that easy. No messy tell
targeting. In my opinion, this is the number one feature of Flash 4, and
well worth asking your site visitors to download a small, 160K plug-in.
Downloading the plug-in on a T1 was instantaneous, and on a 28.8 was only a
few minutes. Well worth my wait...

How about this cool feature: variables passed through URLs. This eliminates
alot of the necessity of Generator. Want a customized startup page for your
clients? Have them go to "http://www.yoursite.com/home.swf?myname=Troy".
Then, inside of your Flash project you simply say, "Take that variable
myname passed in on the URL and send it to the server, find out what this
user's preferences are, then arrange my site accordingly." All of this can
be done with the simple Flash4 scripting. Easy as pie. Would take a nice
amount of effort and server-side scripting know how (plus some form of
Generator) to produce these results.

Along the same lines you can take information from the user and pass it
back to the server using GET/POSTs within your Flash file. You can also
retrieve data the same way, and here's how (I just figured it out while
writing this line): part of the scripting is the fact that a movie clip can
contain just scripting and variables. POST data to a database script
(servlet, CGI, etc) on the server. Then have that script generate an SWF
movie clip containing the response data. Call a GET on that file and
retrieve the necessary data. I'm sure there's an easier, 100% Flash way
(actually, I know there is, I've seen it working), but I'd have to sit down
and play with it to figure it out...

And text fields... well, now the user can interact with Flash without the
mouse. Buttons can be activated with the keyboard. Users can enter text,
can cut and paste (at least under Windows), all sorts of nifty stuff.

What it boils down to is this: with Flash4, as far as I can see, you can do
*everything* that would be possible with HTML/DOM/JavaScript. So far, I
haven't been able to think of anything that HTML would do *better* than
Flash (maybe something associated with frames, but those are pesky-enough
in HTML).

Anyway, sorry about the long rant, but here's my final word: Once Flash is
finally released and I get my hands on a copy, I plan to seriously pitch to
my boss that we shift to a 100%-pure Flash company. Its here, ladies and
gentlemen, the 100%-pure Flash site is now feasible. Imagine a site that is
more interactive, identical across platforms, streaming, compact,
beautiful, fast, customizable... everything we ever wanted. All in a tidy
little 160K package (which the user only has to get one time).

And try this on for size: the Flash Projector can now retrieve URLs. You
know what that means? Distribute a Flash Project file to your clients, to
everyone, and that's all they need. It'll run on their Windows system.
It'll go out to the Internet, download your latest goodies, everything.

It's almost as beautiful as Java... :)

Flash4 will change the way the web works. Period.


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  RE: FLASH: Flash4 will change the way th, Judy Miller

  Re: FLASH: On Generator **Hey MM**, David Gary Studios

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