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Google Reads Flash

Lately, this blog has been less about Flash and more about me apologizing for it not working.

So here’s an interesting article about Flash and SEO:

Google Reads Flash Text, so Optimize It

This is a huge step in the right direction for Flash. For many years, one of the biggest arguments against Flash was its unreadability to search engines. And really, that was one of the few remaining arguments with any merit.

Now, while I think this is a big win for Flash, I also believe it will be a few years before this makes any difference. Existing Flash sites with no SEO will have to be rebuilt, and sites built by less experienced developers will still probably avoid this altogether.

Also, please note the feed URL has changed.. it’s now I think the GoDaddy ads may be breaking it though so I am searching a more stable solution.


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And, we’re back!

I hope.

Hosting and maintaining this blog has proven to be quite a challenge but this latest go-round should at least provide some stability.

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now requiring user registration and login

I know there has been problems with this before, but the amount of spam I’m getting on a nearly hourly basis has gotten to be too much.

From now on, users must register before adding comments to a post. I’m not going to steal, sell, or otherwise misuse your information, this is strictly a spam-busting measure.

Initially, some users had problems with registering, so please contact me if you experience any problems.



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Disabling the FLVPlayback component’s controls (including seekbar!)

I’ve stumbled on another one of those “everyone wants to do it, but nobody knows how” issues in Flash: how to disable the controls on the FLVPlayback component.

After quite a bit of documentation-reading, web-searching, and forum-browsing, I’ve come up with a function for easy, on-the-fly toggling of controller-enable-ability.

with a FLVPlayback instance on the stage, add the following to your ActionScript: = function(bEnabled:Boolean){
this.skin_mc.seekBar_mc.handle_mc._visible = bEnabled;
this.stopButton =this.skin_mc.stop_mc;
this.backButton = this.skin_mc.back_mc;
this.forwardButton = this.skin_mc.forward_mc;
this.seekBar = this.skin_mc.seekBar_mc;
this.onEnterFrame = function(){
this.stopButton = this.skin_mc.stop_mc.disabled_mc
this.backButton = this.skin_mc.back_mc.disabled_mc;
this.forwardButton = this.skin_mc.forward_mc.disabled_mc;
this.seekBar = null;
delete this.onEnterFrame;

Now, for a bit of explanation:

The first step is to simply toggle the visibility of the SeekBar handle. With it invisible, there is no way the user can use it, and this seems to be the simplest solution, rather than digging through the MC structure of a component skin and figuring out how that handle is, uh, handled. So, the bEnabled value can double as the visibility value for the handled: true (visible) for enabled buttons, or false (invisible) for disabled.

For the rest of the buttons, it’s not so simple. Users have come to expect a “ghosted” or “grayed-out” appearance for a disabled button, so simply removing them as we did with the scrollbar handle would be bad form. Luckily, the pre-made skin SWFs for the FLVplayback component include disabled states for everything, and we can use these.

Because the component skins use bitmap caching and 9-slice scaling to maximize their flexibility, simply setting the button properties to the disabled MC won’t work, and it requires a bit more of a brute-force approach to get those buttons to appear. Hence, the onEnterFrame and updateAfterEvent() commands. updateAfterEvent() forces an update of the stage, so it will make those disabled-states appear, but it only works as part of a clip event, such as onEnterFrame. So we wrap the whole thing in an onEnterFrame, and then delete the onEnterFrame function to save on processing and memory.

I should note that I developed this using the SteelExternalAll.swf skin. The documentation indicates that the skins are built using a universal structure, so it should work for any of them, but I’m not making any promises.

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Sorry for the XML parsing errors in the feed and the general slowness of the site. After a lot of back-and-forth with my web host, we determined that the issue was temp files clogging up the cache. I deleted nearly 200,000 files and it seems to run well again!

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