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Publishing Your Flash Movie

After you have created the best-of-the-web FlashR movie or website, you are finally ready to publish it to the web. Some people find this a confusing process the first time through. There are a few points that we should cover to make your life easier.

The most frequent mistake made when publishing Flash is "lost files". Unless you tell Flash otherwise, it will expect all three parts of the published Flash movie to be in the correct location. This location is the same folder that contains your working .fla file. Also, Flash will give the same name to these files as the name that you have given to your .fla file. For example, let's say that I am going to publish my Flash website, which I have named dianecipollo.fla. After the publishing process, there will be three new files in the folder with my fla file. All of them are named "dianecipollo" except for our friendly JavaScript file.


What are these three files of the published Flash movie? Glad you asked. The first of the three published files is the .swf file which is the compiled version of your .fla Flash movie. The second is a JavaScript file that checks for the type of browser and version of Flash player that is available. The third is the HTML wrapper for embedding the Flash movie. Although your .swf file will play without the HTML wrapper, it is this HTML file that contains the controls for displaying the Flash swf file correctly. Without this HTML wrapper, your Flash movie may be too large, too small or just not right. Let's take a closer look.

At the top of the HTML file, is the code the "calls" the Flash detection JavaScript file called AC_RunContent.js. After the script section, you will see the conditional code that tells the browser what to do with the Flash movie. If all is well with the Flash player and other conditions, then the browser can show or embed the Flash movie. If there is a problem, then an error message will be displayed.

After this conditional statement, are the controls for the swf file. These controls are based on the Document properties and Publish settings for your Flash movie. For example, let's say that you have set the Document Width and Height properties in your Flash movie to be 550 x 600. These same values are used to set the width and height of the display area in the browser. Other display settings include the webpage background color, the horizontal and vertical alignment for the Flash movie and playback controls. Most importantly, it tells the browser where to find the swf file.

If you are having trouble getting your published swf file to display in the browser, verify that all three of these published files are in the correct location and that the code in the HTML file is correct.

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