The following workshop includes questions you might ask about including sound and video in web pages, quizzes to test your knowledge, and two quick exercises.
What's the quickest way to get started adding multimedia to my site?
Remember that you can use at least one absolutely sure-fire method to include sound and video in your web pages: Link to them. Although that might not be as exciting as embedding them in the web browser window, you know the web page will work. Of course, the person visiting your site must have the appropriate application to play the file, but you can help her out by providing links to any required players or plug-ins.
Should I be worried about web browser and HTML compatibility when it comes to audio and video?
Unfortunately, yes. Most other HTML elements and techniques are standardized to the point that you can be confident that your code will work across most popular web browsers. Embedding audio and video is a completely different ballgame. Generally if you stick with the guidelines provided by whoever created the plug-in used to listen to or view your files, you'll be OK.
What are the differences between AVI, MPEG, and QuickTime movies?
The underlying differences are beyond the scope of this lesson, but it has to do with how the audio and video data is encoded, compressed, and stored in the resulting files. Each file type uses different methods that are all unique. The practical difference is that each one might require a different player to be heard/viewed properly.
Should I bother using the techniques solely compatible with Internet Explorer, such as dynsrc?
My advice is not to bother with them because you might be ignoring (and hence alienating) a good portion of your audience. If you're in an environment that's IE-only, you can feel free to use them. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.
What are the differences between a helper application (also called a player) and a plug-in?
In what ways can you insert multimedia into your web pages?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using plug-ins?
What is streaming multimedia?
Helper applications run externally to your web browser and open files that your browser does not support. The browser downloads a file and then passes it on to an external helper application that reads and plays the file. Plug-ins work within the browser to read and play files.
You can link to them or embed them.
The advantage to using plug-ins is that they enable you to insert many different types of content into your pages. The disadvantage to using them is that you can't guarantee that everyone will have them or will want to take the time to download them to experience your site. Some people use browsers that don't support them, and not all plug-ins are universally supported across web browsers and operating systems.
Streaming multimedia plays as it's transmitted to the client, unlike media types that send an entire file to the client before it can be played. In fact, with streaming media, you don't even have to start at the beginning of a fileyou can jump in anywhere on the stream or listen to a live feed.
Tour the Web and visit sites that use multimedia. You might start out at http://www.youtube.com for an example of video, and http://www.live365.com for streaming audio. Macromedia's Showcase at http://shockwave.com/ always features sites that create multimedia content. See how others include it in their websites. Try visiting the same site using Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Is there a difference? What prompts you to download a plug-in?
View the source for some pages that present multimedia files and see whether they use <embed>, <object>, or both.