birt code 128 Figure 15-2. Google Search traffic when the world discovered Michael Jackson had died. in Font

Encoder Quick Response Code in Font Figure 15-2. Google Search traffic when the world discovered Michael Jackson had died.

Figure 15-2. Google Search traffic when the world discovered Michael Jackson had died.
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What people overlooked on both days was that a server is only a computer, and it can only reply to a finite number of requests at a set rate. If the browser can t get the information, it will assume the assets are not there. As a consequence, the requested page either will not be displayed or will be displayed with information missing. It got so bad for CNN and the BBC on 9/11 that they were forced to post a message that essentially told people come back later. Even the people lucky enough to make a connection experienced pauses in the download and frequent disconnects, which are the hallmarks of an overloaded server. What you need to take away from these two stories is that the time it takes to download and play your Flash movie is totally dependent on the contents of your Flash movie and traffic flow on the Internet. This means you need to concentrate not only on what is in your movie but also on who wants to access it. This is where you fall in love with the user and not the technology.
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So, who are these folks we call users
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The Flash community is an oddball collection of people, ranging from those who ride skateboards for entertainment to the classic nerd working in a corporate cubicle farm. This disparity, which actually is the strength of the Flash community, has resulted in a bit of a split between those who use supercharged pixel-spitting behemoths to develop their content and take a Sucks to be you attitude if you can t revel in their work and those who are corporate types and operate within strict standards set by their IT department. This standard is usually in the form of the following commandment:
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Thou shalt develop to a Flash Player 8 standard, and may whatever god you worship have mercy upon your miserable soul if you step outside this stricture.
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So, what do you really need to know before putting your work out there Here are some general guidelines: Small means fast. Studies show you have 15 seconds to hook the user. If nothing is happening or is appealing to your users, they re gone. Small SWFs mean fast download. The days of introductory eye candy for your Flash movies are over. If the content they see within that 15second window is not relevant to the site or the experience, users leave. If a bleeding-edge Flash site isn t viewable on a two-year-old computer with a standard operating system and hardware, it s time to go back to the drawing board. For a commercial site, you may have to go back three years. Corporations are relatively slow to upgrade hardware because of the significant cost to do so. Old hardware means slower computers. If your target audience is urban and in a developed country, assume they have, at minimum, a cable connection. If your audience is the world, develop to the lowest common denominator, which is a dial-up modem.
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OPTIMIZING AND PUBLISHING FLASH MOVIES
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Now that we have provided some background, let s look at how your Flash file actually gets from here to there.
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Streaming
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As you have discovered by this point in the book, simply tossing a bunch of audio, images, and video into your movie is not a good thing. They take an inordinate amount of time to download. In fact, toss all of that content into frame 1, and you can kiss your 15-second window of opportunity good-bye. In the previous chapter, we looked at ways to prevent bulking up frame 1 by preloading the SWF itself and by externalizing assets and loading them at runtime. In this chapter, you ll learn how to optimize the rest of your timeline to help balance out and redistribute the load of a SWF s assets. Your goal will be to facilitate Flash Player s natural tendency to stream. Please understand that streaming doesn t make things faster. What it does is give you the opportunity to intelligently organize the timeline so the movie starts playing in very short order. Used wisely, streaming can ensure that everything in the Flash movie is downloaded before it is needed. The result is a Flash movie that seems to start playing almost immediately and moves as smooth as the hair on a frog s back. So, what happens when a web page requests your movie Two things are sent to the browser: The movie s timeline, including ActionScript and the stuff that is not in the Library, such as text and shapes that haven t been converted to symbols The Library, including audio, video, images, and symbols When your Flash movie is shot through the Internet to the user s browser, the movie is received in frameby-frame order. If the movie is split into scenes (a relatively rare practice today), the scenes will be sent in the order they appear in the Scenes panel, which is effectively in sequential order of the main timeline. The Library is also sent, but the Library items are not received in the order they appear in the Library panel. They are received in the sequence in which they appear on the timeline. To reinforce what we have just said, let s take a look at a typical file. Open the YawningParrot.fla file in the Exercise folder for this chapter. As shown in Figure 15-3, the timeline is linear, but there are a lot of layers. Your first reaction might be, Man, that is going to take a while to load. But that s not really the case. Open the Library panel. You ll notice there is a lot less content in the panel than in the timeline layers only 13 assets versus 22 layers. This is because the symbols in the Library are reused and repurposed. The finger feathers, for example, all use the same feather asset. All six claws use the same toe symbol; they re just arranged differently (horizontal flips and tints, all performed on the stage). As we have said repeatedly throughout this book, Flash lives in a world of small, and using one symbol instead of six reduces the final size of the SWF. If you create advertising banners, for example, your Small World might just have a size of 30KB for the SWF. In that case, reusing content is critical.
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Figure 15-3. Streaming plays a movie in frame order and loads Library content in the order in which it appears on the timeline. When this particular movie loads, because of how the parrot is constructed, all of its parts are loaded in frame 1 and composed of all the objects in the Library. These Library objects are purposely designed to be lightweight. They re vector shapes with few anchor points, which means they equate to a relatively small file size. As a result, little bandwidth is required to load them and get the movie playing. To make sense of how this movie streams, consider adding an imaginary extra playhead to the timeline When the movie starts. Both playheads are in frame 1, but only one of them starts moving. That s the
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