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If you have current versions of both Flash and Dreamweaver on your computer, you can take advantage of some wonderful integration features to make your Flash editing easier.
The procedure for creating a Flash movie and incorporating it into a Dreamweaver HTML page involves creating the main Flash file (FLA), exporting a SWF, and launching Dreamweaver to build an HTML document that houses the SWF. If you're working away in Dreamweaver and discover that the Flash movie needs editing, you have to launch Flash, open the FLA, make your edits, and export a new SWF before coming back to Dreamweaver and continuing work on your HTML pages.
In case you want to practice using Flash integration features on the exercise files from this chapter, the chapter_16/FlashFiles folder contains several of the original FLAs for the ArtGecko site.
With launch-and-edit, the procedure is somewhat simpler:
In case you're curious about how all this interapplication communication works, you can open and examine the Design Note that makes it happen. Because Design Notes are invisible in the Site window, leave Dreamweaver and use Explorer (Windows) or the Finder (Macintosh) to examine your root folder. Design Notes are stored in that folder, within a _ notes folder. Open that folder, and you'll find a text file with the name of your SWF file, followed by the .mno extension myFile.swf.mno , for instance. Open that file in a text editor (or in Dreamweaver Code view), and you'll see the <infoitem> tag identifying the source FLA file, one for each original link in the SWF and one for each changed link. Dreamweaver accesses this Design Note to populate the Flash Property Inspector and to generate the Flash items in the site map; Flash accesses it to determine whether any links need to be updated within the original FLA when you open that file for editing.
For Dreamweaver/Flash integration to work properly, Design Notes must be enabled for your site. In the Site Definition dialog box, go to the Design Notes category and make sure the Maintain Design Notes option is selected. For more on Design Notes, see the section "Using Design Notes for Improved Workflow" in Chapter 19, "Workplace Collaboration."
Here's the problem: Every Flash project involves an FLA (authoring) file and a SWF (export) file. And Flash likes to have both of these in the same folder. This means that when you're building a website involving Flash, all of your FLAs end up inside the local root folder, and Dreamweaver wants to upload the entire contents of the local root folder to the web server. But your FLA files don't need to be on the server, taking up space and upload time.
Here's the solution: Enable cloaking for your site, and tell Dreamweaver not to upload any FLA files. Do it by opening the Site Definition dialog box (choose Site > Manage Sites, select your site, and click Edit) and going to the Cloaking category. Select the Enable Cloaking option, and also select the option to cloak files ending with .png and .fla. After you've done this, all of your FLA files show up in the Site panel with a red slash through them, and Dreamweaver will ignore them whenever you select Newer Local or choose Site > Synchronize.
If your SWF file contains links (ActionScript getURL() actions), you can change these links without launching Flash at all, using the Dreamweaver site map and the Change Links command. Do it this way:
When you do this, several things happen. Dreamweaver updates the getURL() action within the SWF. It also generates a Design Note noting that this has been done. The next time you launch the FLA in Flash, that Design Note will tell Flash that a link has been changed, and it will offer to change the link in the source file as well (see Figure 16.15). (If you don't let Flash update the link in the source file to match the link Dreamweaver altered in the SWF, the next time you export a SWF, the link will revert to whatever it was before you used Dreamweaver to change it because the SWF that Dreamweaver created will be overwritten.)
A more elegant solution to the link-update problem is to code your Flash movie so that its links are stored externally, either in a text file or XML file or as a URL parameter. That way, anyone with access to a text editor can update them, and the SWF doesn't have to be regenerated every time URL information changes. That's more of a Flash scripting topic than a Dreamweaver technique, however.
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