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- Any Flash Guru's about today?
April 13, 2007, 9:57 am
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A mate of mine, a pro photographer was working on his website recently, and
he asked me for some advice (what was he thinking?).
Anyway, the issues he was having and the solution I suggested are outlined
Not being particularly experienced in Flash, I was hoping to get the
thoughts of some folks who work a lot with Flash.
Anyway, he's put together a very nice flash site which is clean, loads fast,
and looks good.
I advised him that this might be an issue for a couple of reasons. Not
everybody has flash installed and it's unreasonable to expect them to
install it just to view your website. Some people might not be able to
install flash. And he'll find it much harder to get indexed by search
engines with a flash page than he would with a good old fashioned html page.
So I suggested he find some way of *sniffing* for a flash plugin in the
visitors browser, and redirecting to an html or flash version accordingly.
A few days later, he ame back to me with a couple of seemingly over-complex
not the visitor has it switched on, and that using a technology with
compatabiliy issues to solve a compatability issue was madness.
But then that got me to thinking.
Is it really madness?
Or is there a spark of genius lurking inside that notion, just waiting to
What if we were to use that compatibility issue to solve itself.
A sort of self-healing problem.
So, my suggestion to him was to create an HTML version of his site, with the
homepage named "index.htm", to make it the default homepage.
Then rename the HTML file containing the Flash version as "flashversion.htm"
Then, create a tiny flash movie (I suggested 1px x 1px, but I think the
smalles you can do is 18px), with only 1 keyframe. In this keyframe there is
a redirect to "flashversion.htm". Then save the movie to the same Flash
version number that you saved your main site body.
Now lastly, embed that flash movie in the "index.htm" page.
My theory being that if anyone visits the site and they have Flash
installed, they'll be whisked instantly off to the Flash version of the
But if they don't have Flash installed, the movie on "index.htm" won't run
and they'll continue to see the default HTML version, perhaps with a message
telling them that there's also a flash version available if they're
interested in downloading the plugin.
To my mind, this is a much more elegant and simple solution than the
This way, the first thing to load is the most compatible technology, and the
opion is given to stp up to a more advanced technology if available.
Other solutions seem to start by trying to load the more advanced technology
first, then shoe-horning in some older, more basic technology if it all
This also means that the search engines have some good raw content to get
their teeth into when they index the page.
Can anyone think of any real issues or problems with using this solution?
Re: Any Flash Guru's about today?
Not really the case. The vast majority of people DO have Flash
installed (as many people who have JS) -- and if they don't, they are
likely to install it if prompted.
To few to worry about. You could always provide instructions.
This is true, which is why you should also provide alternative content
tag in the header, and an XML feed or location of HTML content.
Just tell them to upgrade & provide a link to the alternative content/
Nah... JS is ikky for this sort of thing.
Almost everyone has JS and Flash; it's a non-issue -- depending on the
market for this photographer. Who is he targeting? Large businesses
tend to have locked down machines and are more likely to have JS and
Flash turned off. Small businesses and home users will have it all
Yep that'd work.
Provide an XML feed of all the images. Provide a static (simple) page
that also contains the images (google friendly), but have the primary
site in Flash.
Re: Any Flash Guru's about today?
As I understand it, Google and similar spiders can't index the flash movie
itself. Only the page it is embedded in. So whatever you do, you need a
nice simple index.htm page to start for the root of the website.
I am for anything that is simpler. Flash is not real accessible (as I
understand it) to the "website reader" technology out there. So if he wants
the site to be fully accessible he is going to need to go more with your
ideas than the original all flash approach.
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