Sound, Shockwave and Video on the WWW

As you are reading this you are perhaps still loading a soundfile which will soon provide you with soothing melodic comfort and will have been worth the two minute wait to have it download. This is value added by the fact that the sound is infinitely long (i.e. far longer than your patience...). If the sound loads at all ( a very touchy matter as it involves cross browser and platform differences) it will make the transition from "ah.. some sound" to"how do I turn this off " fairly quickly. I have embedded a control panel but if you're in front of a Mac you will be unlikely to see it. In cold fury (sound can have that effect) you finally click your way out of this page..

I wanted to make this point: in an era where we still lack the lightening fast transport speeds that the popular media seems firmly convinced we have, waiting and waiting for sound or video files to load, having to download a new plug-in after all that and then finding the result challenged by the local ice-cream van jingle or a relative's videoooo-making skills leaves you in a less than favorable disposition towards the designer and the site itself.

At the risk of sounding "unprogressive" my advice is simple: be sure the end justifies the means when it involves sound, animation or video on the web.


As I hinted above, sound on the web can be problematic. It can also be great but there are potential problems lurking everywhere. First of all I must highlight the compatibilty situation

Browsers Netscape 3.0 Netscape 4.0 + Internet Explorer 4+
O/S Macintosh Windows



In order to appeal to the great population of web users who are on 56K connections or lower, keep your shockwave movies under 50k. That means the director file before you use afterburner should not exceed 200k I know that's pretty small but that's the reality rather than the media-hype.

The same is true for Flash.
Remember that if you're accessing web content from a network that makes fast downloads seem normal. Not everyone has access to a fiberoptic network or simimilar bandwidth.

This site features shockwave examples that are small, simple, but often very clever. It was left on the server of the University of New England (up north) by my mate Ross Hinckley before he resigned as techie. check it out!

code for shockwave


Flash is of course one way around some of the problems that director/shockwave files potentially come up against. The vector-based animation capacity of Flash make it an attractive alternative for designers who wish to use animated content.

This is typically the code that Flash inserts in its export function:

< OBJECT classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase=",0,0,0" WIDTH=550 HEIGHT=400> < PARAM NAME=movie VALUE="Untitled 2.swf">

< EMBED src="Untitled.swf" quality=high scale=exactfit wmode=opaque bgcolor=#000000 WIDTH=550 HEIGHT=400 TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" PLUGINSPAGE=""> </EMBED> </OBJECT>

Previous versions of HTML allowed authors to include images (via IMG) and applets (via APPLET).
These elements had several limitations:
They failed to solve the more general problem of how to include new and future media types. The APPLET element only worked with Java-based applets. This element is deprecated in favor of OBJECT.
To address these issues, HTML 4.0 introduces the OBJECT element, which offers an all-purpose solution to generic object inclusion. The OBJECT element allows HTML authors to specify everything required by an object for its presentation by a user agent: source code, initial values, and run-time data.
In this specification, the term "object" is used to describe the things that people want to place in HTML documents; other commonly used terms for these things are: applets, plug-ins, media handlers, etc.

The "classid" attribute specifies the location of this element:

< OBJECT classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase=",0,0,0" WIDTH=550 HEIGHT=400></OBJECT>

The Flash movie will be rendered as soon as the user agent interprets this OBJECT declaration. It is possible to delay rendering of an object by first declaring the object. Authors should complete this declaration by including alternate text as the contents of OBJECT in case the user agent cannot render the movie.

One significant consequence of the OBJECT elementŐs design is that it offers a mechanism for specifying alternate object renderings; each embedded OBJECT declaration may specify alternate content types. If a user agent cannot render the outermost OBJECT, it tries to render the contents, which may be another OBJECT element, etc.



Video and O/S compatibility
Mac Windows

Remember: QuickTime movies need to be flattened before they can be viewed on other types of computers. You can do that with Fastplayer on Mac and Qflat on Windows machines


Correct tags for video files
Quicktime MPEG AVI

html code for video