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13.3 Shockwave

As the Internet-ready form of movies created with Macromedia's Director, Shockwave is an older brother to Flash. Director has a longer history as a tool for developing complex interactive presentations. It began life as a program for creating CD-ROMs. But when the Web exploded onto the scene, Director quickly morphed into a Webauthoring tool. Because of its CD background, Shockwave offers complex programming possibilities, which makes it ideal for detailed interactive presentations (Figure 13-7).

Like Flash, Shockwave requires a plug-in, but unlike the Flash plug-in, this one doesn't generally come preinstalled with Web browsers. If you include Shockwave animation in your Web site, many of your visitors will need to download the Shockwave player梐 3.5-megabyte download!

At times, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the various external media types. This Shockwave game offers animation and interactivity just like a Flash movie. However, for highly interactive games that require precise timing and action, Shockwave is usually a better choice. Its advanced 3-D features, and builtin physics principles (like gravity and collision detection), make it perfect for advanced gaming applications. To sample this technology, go to There you'll find a mixture of Flash and Shockwave movies.

That annoying requirement is a good argument against using Shockwave for general- audience Web sites. Some of your visitors梕specially the ones that don't have cable modems or DSL梞ay not put in the time and effort required to enable their browsers to view your masterpiece.

But if you just can't do without Shockwave, you can insert a Shockwave movie into a Web page just as you would any multimedia format. Click where you want to insert the movie; then choose InsertMediaShockwave (or choose Shockwave from the Media menu on the Common tab of the Insert bar). Either way, a Select File dialog box appears. Find and double-click the Shockwave movie file (look for the .dcr extension).

The Shockwave movie appears as a gray rectangle with the Shockwave logo in the center. But Dreamweaver can't automatically calculate the dimensions of Shockwave movies, so you need to type the width and height of the movie in the W and H fields of the Property inspector. Use the same dimensions you specified when creating the file in Director.

You can preview Shockwave files directly in Dreamweaver by selecting the movie and clicking Play on the Property inspector. To stop the movie, click the same button (which is now a Stop button).

You resize a Shockwave movie just like a Flash movie, as described in Section

13.3.1 Shockwave Movie Properties

The only Shockwave movie property you have to set by hand is the width and height of the movie. Most of the time, you won't need to bother changing the default properties. The Property inspector does, however, let you change the movie's name (a requirement for using JavaScript to control its playback), substitute a different movie, choose the movie's alignment relative to the text around it, specify a background color, select an ActiveX ID, or specify top/bottom or side/side margins. All of these options work just as they do for Flash movies (see Section 13.1.2).

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