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Xtra types

Xtras come in numerous flavors—and identifying the particular flavor, or type, of Xtra can often cause some confusion. The confusion arises because Xtras can be categorized according to how they are used (plug-and-play versus "headless" Xtras), how they are implemented (on a programming level), or their intended purpose. We can look at Xtras from all three points of view, but what should be most important to you is that an Xtra fulfills some purpose—not that it fits into some type.

Plug-and-play versus headless Xtras

I make the somewhat arbitrary distinction between plug-and-play and headless Xtras because, although some Xtras are almost transparent in their use or may be supplied with their own interfaces, others require implementation through a Lingo-like interface. An example of a plug-and-play Xtra is one that adds new transitions to Director. You place the Xtra in your Xtras folder, and the next time you start Director, the transition will appear in the Transition dialog box. Examples of headless Xtras are FileIO and MUI Xtras. Both of these require you to create a child object, which then provides access to the functions you need. The distinction between plug-and-play versus headless Xtras is mine, not Macromedia's, but it can be a helpful demarcation as you're using Xtras.


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