Adventures with Flash, Frames and Angelfire

I’ve spent parts of several days redoing my website’s navigation buttons in Flash to replace the current GIF and JavaScript combo in my menu frame.

The current system works fine. The GIF text buttons look good with their gradient fills, and the JavaScript gives me rollovers. Each button pair is only about 500 bytes or so, and I have 9 of them for the various sections, plus one further button/icon - an animated version of my logo with an orbiting photon, that takes up about 22KB for the pair.

The problem I wanted to address is the sometimes sluggish reaction of the JavaScript rollovers, so I thought this would be a perfect situation for Flash. I decided to dispense with converting the orbiting Logo thingy for the time being because they are about 20 frames per pair, and I doubt I’d be able to match, let alone improve on, its current appearance. I did that in 3DS Max.

After giving it some thought, I decided to re-do my frames to a 2-2 arrangement to replace my current 1-2 structure. That way I could isolate my logo, trim down the JavaScript to just deal with it, and put my new Flash menu movie into a frame by iteself. So far so good.

After trying various approaches with text in Flash to get my buttons down to optimum size, the best I could come up with is a 14k Flash SWF for 9 buttons in 30 pt text with gradient fills.

After successfully testing my new set-up locally, I uploaded everything to my Angelfire server. Alas, something is preventing the Flash movie from functioning properly. I suspect it may be the JavaScript which Angelfire dynamically jams into all my pages to control their wretched pop-ups.

Now the frame where the SWF is supposed to be just sits there blankly with nothing happening, and when I right-click on it, IE crashes with one of those “Send error report” jobbers. After several iterations of that, I went back to my original GIFs with their pokey JS.


I know, it whams, and Real Soon Now (to borrow a Pournellism) I’ll break down and get better hosting service, but for the time being, it’s just one more thing to do, and I’m procrastinating.

Anyway, does anyone have any insight and/or experience with this sort of behavior?

Thanks kindly

I’m still trying to get the targeting frames. If you want a better free host try Brinkster, they don’t place any adds anywhere and there are no pop-ups. Not sure about the JS though…

One lesson I had to relearn when I went to re-do my frames is how absolutely unforgiving the frameset tag is. It took me about two hours of monkeying around with my frameset page to get it the way I want. Finally I made the right guesses, and it all fell into place. Trial and success, as I like to call it.

Anyway, about the time I got everything finished, but before I uploaded, I started to have doubts. I remembered that I never could get Flash to run on my ol’ 166 with 96MB RAM, and there’s still probably a fair number of people out there with ol’ dogs like that, so it occurred to me that I might just be better off sticking with what I have for navigation, so at least people can use my site (if anyone does) even if they can’t see my Flash content, which is still minimal.

Hmmm. What to do? My long range plan has been to build a site with Flash from the ground up, and have a link to it from my current pages.

Thanks for the tip on Binkster; I’ll take a look at that. Maybe I’ll use it for the Flash site I’m thinking about, or maybe I’ll have to research web hosting services and spend a little money.

Angelfire started out with no ads too. Then they had just one pop-up that you could send to the back and it stayed there. They upped my limit from 5 to 50 megs back in '00, I guess, and then recently escalated to two pop-ups that keep barging to the foreground. Beastly thangs!

Strangely enough, I haven’t had any trouble targeting frames with Flash. Most of my headaches have been with typos. That and figuring out the best way to optimize text. After a lot of experimentation breaking things down into single letter symbols and then recombining them into the items on my menu, I reached the conclusion that it’s best to just type 'em in and live with it. Trial and success.