Beginner's Guide to Adobe Flash/Publishing

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In order to view completed .fla files on the internet or allow others to view it, the .fla must be published through Flash to access the file in a format viewable by their own computers. Publishing saves the multimedia project, from layers and music to channels and text, in a compressed streaming file that even those viewers on dial-up don't normally have a problem viewing, unless your project contains large multimedia files embedded within its library.

Flash makes it easy for anyone to put their files online after the engine has finished processing the file. However, there are some steps that need to be taken before the files can be fully viewed online.

Checking your publishing settings

Though flash can be fairly intuitive most of the time, the author of the flash project still has to go into the publish settings to customize where the SWF as well as the HTML files are going to be saved to.

This menu is located under File>Publish Settings.

Most of the time, the SWF and HTML options are the only ones which need to be checked, though the others have their purposes as well. As each option is checked, a new tab appears in the Publish Settings menu that corresponds to the check.

  • Options within the Publish Settings dialogue box
    • Flash (.swf)
      • Web browsers must have flash player or Shockwave player installed to view any movies
    • HTML (.html)
      • This file is needed in order for the flash file to be contained somewhere. If an .swf is directly linked to in a web browser, the movie will automatically resize to the dimensions of the viewer's web browser, possibly causing some distortion or scaling in any graphics used within the movie
    • GIF Image (.gif)
      • Saves the movie as animated or still GIF images. The tab for it offers various optimization options.
    • JPEG Image (.jpg)
      • Will publish the first frame of the movie.
    • PNG image (.png)
      • This format is not supported by all browsers or computers yet, but it also contains optimization options. Will publish the first frame of the movie.
    • Windows Projector (.exe)
      • Creates a standalone movie that is playable on any Windows-based operating system without the use of a flash player or Shockwave plug-in, but is a considerably larger file than a swf.
    • Macintosh Projector
      • The same as the Windows projector but for Macintosh computers instead. Will create a considerably larger file than a SWF.
    • Quicktime Movie (.mov)
      • Creates a Quicktime standalone movie

An option also appears here is the Use Default Names checkbox. If this option is enabled, the SWF and HTML files that are about to be created will be automatically named whatever the original .fla file was labelled as. This may lead to problems if someone creates a new flash file and accidentally overrides their old one. To avoid this, uncheck the box and feel free to edit the boxes next to SWF and HTML to whatever filename you desire.

Once the settings are in place (typically the HTML and SWF boxes are the only ones that need to be checked), the user can then press the Publish button in the settings dialogue box to have Flash create the HTML and SWF documents for upload and placement on the internet.

Another viable option is to press the OK button and then go to File>Publish to accomplish the same thing.

Publishing onto the Internet

With both the SWF and HTML files created, the files must be uploaded onto publicly accessible webspace. Both files must be present for the SWF to display correctly. By default, the SWF will be aligned left in the HTML file.