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Flash Video 101: Authoring Flash Video with Dreamweaver

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Importing video directly into Dreamweaver is ideal for situations in which you want to put video onto your site quickly and easily, with no interactive elements beyond simple video controls (play, stop, pause, skip ahead, and skip backward). James Gonzalez shows you how to quickly and easily add Flash video to a Web site using Dreamweaver, the world's leading HTML editor.
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A previous article in this series, "Flash Video 101: Flash Video Delivery Options," covered three ways to deliver Flash video. After choosing one of these delivery options, you next choose which authoring tool to use: Flash or Dreamweaver. Later articles will review techniques for authoring in Flash. For now, this article focuses solely on authoring your Flash video with Dreamweaver.

Adding Flash Video to Web Pages with Dreamweaver

Importing video directly into Dreamweaver is ideal for situations in which you want to put video onto your site quickly and easily, with no interactive elements beyond simple video controls (play, stop, pause, skip ahead, and skip backward).

For more advanced capabilities—such as adding interactivity, selecting from a wider range of custom interfaces, layering video with other Flash animation, or synchronizing the video with text and graphics—use Flash. To do this, you will need Flash Professional 8 or another third-party encoder, such as Flix Pro to encode Flash video (FLV) files.

When you add Flash video to a page, you should always include JavaScript to detect for Flash Player. In particular, you need to check that any visitor requesting the page has a version of Flash Player that lets them view the content you’re providing. There are various ways to do this. One is a handy prebuilt JavaScript behavior applied from the Dreamweaver Behaviors window. This code snippet will check to see which Flash Player the visitor has, if any, and direct them to one of two locations that you specify, based on the results of this check (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 The Dreamweaver Check Plugin behavior, in this case checking the presence or absence of Flash Player and directing the user to one of two web pages, based on the results of the check.

Dreamweaver can also include a similar snippet of JavaScript that "Prompts users to download Flash Player if necessary" when you insert your Flash video clip. This is the easiest method, and is the one I review later in this article.

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