Adding Sound, Shockwave, and Flash Files
Before the Mosaic browser appeared in the early 90s, any file that wasn't text or HTML had to be downloaded and saved to open later with a separate application. When Mosaic hit the scene, some images could be viewed inline, but other forms of media were still "save and play." (Many computers back then weren't true multitaskers, and most people didn't do a lot of simultaneous audio, much less video.)
Netscape Navigator 1.1 could automatically launch helper applications to play these downloaded files. Audio started becoming part of the life of the Web, and programs such as Adobe Acrobat came onto the scene (Figure 1).
All sorts of documents, in every format, can be accessed over the Web.
Navigator 2 went a step further and forever changed the face of the Web. Plug-ins could play or view darned near any type of file you could think of. Now, not only could you view Shockwave movies inline (Figure 2), but music could also be embedded invisibly into Web pages, and RealAudio could even play these files while they downloaded. Later versions of browsers added support for Flash animations.
Plug-ins such as Shockwave turned the Web into a multimedia experience. Without Shockwave, online gaming wouldn't be nearly as cool. And I wouldn't be able to abduct aliens at www.shockwave.com.
Dreamweaver makes it easy to insert the code for these multimedia objects onto your pages. Dreamweaver tries to be as cross-platform as possible about these doo-dads.
You can insert any of these objects using the Common panel of the Objects palette (Window > Objects) and you can modify them using the Properties inspector (Window > Properties or Modify > Selection Properties).
In previous versions of Dreamweaver, canceling out of the insertion of a media object inserted a placeholder anyway. This odd behavior has been fixed in Dreamweaver 3.
To skip the Select File dialog box for inserting media objects, change your preferences. From the Document window menu bar, select Edit > Preferences. In the General panel of the Preferences dialog box (Figure 3), deselect the Show Dialog when Inserting Objects dialog. Then click OK to close the dialog box and save your changes.
Deselect the Show Dialog When Inserting Objects checkbox to skip the Insert dialog boxes.
You can set up external editors for working with media objects in Dreamweaver. See the sidebar, Image Editor Integration, in Chapter 8 or the section of Appendix D, on the Web site, about setting up external HTML and text editors. Follow the instructions and specify your file type and application (instead of image or HTML files).