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Chapter 7. Inserting and Playing Media

Chapter 7. Inserting and Playing Media

Before Mosaic, any file that wasn't text or HTML had to be downloaded and saved to open later with a separate application. All media, including images, were "save and play"—you couldn't view anything inline, and no one had so much as thought of streaming media.

With Netscape Navigator 1.1, you could automatically launch a helper application to play a downloaded file, and audio and Adobe Acrobat started becoming part of the life of the Web (Figure 7.1).

Figure 7.1. 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 7.2), but music could also be embedded invisibly into Web pages. Java, VRML, and other rich media soon followed.

Figure 7.2. 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 http://www.shockwave.com.


Dreamweaver makes it easy to insert the code for these multimedia objects onto your pages.

In fact, inserting most media objects is just like inserting an image. (See Chapter 5, if you haven't yet worked with images.) Just like when you insert an image, what you're really doing is inserting the URL for the media object. When you do that, a placeholder for the object appears in the document window. After that, you can apply additional properties, including dimensions, Vspace and Hspace, and page-loading helpers (Alt tags and low-res images).

In this chapter , we'll take a look at how to make images interactive using rollovers and navigation bars. Then, we'll explore how to link to media, using sound files as our example. We'll move on to Netscape plug-ins, including Shockwave and Flash. In Dreamweaver 4, you can even create simple Flash text objects and buttons without leaving the Document window. We'll also address the basics of putting Java and ActiveX on your pages.

Tip

You can insert any of these objects using the Common category of the Objects panel (Window > Objects) and you can > modify them using the Property inspector (Window > Properties or Modify > Selection Properties). I'm just refreshing your memory, in case you'd forgotten.


Tip

New in Dreamweaver 4 is the Assets panel, which can keep track of not only images (see Inserting Images with the Assets Panel in Chapter 5), but Flash, Shockwave, and other movies in your local site. To find out more about working with Assets, see Chapter 3.


Tip

You can insert a placeholder for most media instead of choosing a file right away—which is handy if you're creating the page before the file is ready. From the Document window menu bar, select Edit > Preferences. In the General panel of the Preferences dialog box (Figure 7.3), deselect the Show Dialog when Inserting Objects checkbox. Then click OK to close the dialog box and save your changes.

Figure 7.3. Deselect the Show Dialog When Inserting Objects checkbox to skip the Insert dialog boxes and have Dreamweaver insert a media placeholder right away.



Tip

You can set up external editors for working with media objects in Dreamweaver. See Image Editor Integration, in Chapter 5, and follow the instructions for the proper file type (instead of image files, select a different file type).



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