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browser versions and flash support

what do i need to know about flash support in browsers and various versions of flash?

basically, i need information on how to setup a web page (script code, plug-in detection etc.) to make sure a flash-enabled menu bar appears for all users.

so, if a user does not have flash to make them install it automatically. if they have flash and is old version, get the latest... etc.

of course, varying browser versions is a concern... IE, netscape, aol etc. and how to deal with them?

pleaes provide THOROUGH information.

if it helps, i am using flash mx.

thank you!
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loyaliser
Asked:
loyaliser
1 Solution
 
stef4sCommented:
check out in the publish dialog box there is a export oftion that allows you to detect flash 5 etc. it is under the html tab.
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chill0123Commented:
I would recommend always exporting your .swf files for the Flash 5 player instead of using the Flash 6 Player.  When you install the latest browsers from either IE or NS the Flash 5 plugin is automatically installed, so you will not have any problems as long as the viewer is using 6+ browser(and I think IE 5 also had the Flash 5 plugin as well)

When it comes to checking for a specific browser version and Flash plugin, I would use(if you have it) Dreamweaver to do a plugin check...  this code would have to be place in the header of your html page, and it provides a very thorough check(sometimes too complicated):

<script language="JavaScript">
<!--
function MM_checkBrowser(NSvers,NSpass,NSnoPass,IEvers,IEpass,IEnoPass,OBpass,URL,altURL) { //v4.0
  var newURL='', verStr=navigator.appVersion, app=navigator.appName, version = parseFloat(verStr);
  if (app.indexOf('Netscape') != -1) {
    if (version >= NSvers) {if (NSpass>0) newURL=(NSpass==1)?URL:altURL;}
    else {if (NSnoPass>0) newURL=(NSnoPass==1)?URL:altURL;}
  } else if (app.indexOf('Microsoft') != -1) {
    if (version >= IEvers || verStr.indexOf(IEvers) != -1)
     {if (IEpass>0) newURL=(IEpass==1)?URL:altURL;}
    else {if (IEnoPass>0) newURL=(IEnoPass==1)?URL:altURL;}
  } else if (OBpass>0) newURL=(OBpass==1)?URL:altURL;
  if (newURL) { window.location=unescape(newURL); document.MM_returnValue=false; }
}


function MM_checkPlugin(plgIn, theURL, altURL, autoGo) { //v4.0
  var ok=false; document.MM_returnValue = false;
  with (navigator) if (appName.indexOf('Microsoft')==-1 || (plugins && plugins.length)) {
    ok=(plugins && plugins[plgIn]);
  } else if (appVersion.indexOf('3.1')==-1) { //not Netscape or Win3.1
    if (plgIn.indexOf("Flash")!=-1 && window.MM_flash!=null) ok=window.MM_flash;
    else if (plgIn.indexOf("Director")!=-1 && window.MM_dir!=null) ok=window.MM_dir;
    else ok=autoGo; }
  if (!ok) theURL=altURL; if (theURL) window.location=theURL;
}

//-->
</script>

this code uses two very complex scripts by MM. the first part of the code checks to see if the viewer has a Flash player installed, and the second checks what browser and version the viewer has...  This code is very complex and hard to edit, but it is thorough and always works...  I normally don't recommend using Dreamweaver to write javascript code, but I have found that this script checks for a large variety of things... since the browser check is first, you could send the person onto your page before it ever checks for the Flash plugin by seperating the two functions into two seperate scripts... Using Dreamweaver you could change the code to send the viewer directly to the flash page if they have a 6+ browser, because they would already have the Flash 5 plugin installed(unless they are really stupid and delete the plugin manually)

You would replace the url "flashpage.htm" and "nonflashpage.htm" with what ever you want... and if you want to send them directly to the Macromedia site to download the most recent player, you can do that as well, even though I would NEVER do this myself...

I will try to find a more efficent code, but for now that is what I can give you...

c
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chill0123Commented:
i forgot to include the "overly complicated" body tag:

<body bgcolor="#FFFFFF" text="#000000" onLoad="MM_checkBrowser(5.0,1,2,6.0,1,2,2,'/flash_page.htm','/nonflash_page.htm');MM_checkPlugin('Shockwave Flash','/flash_page.htm','/nonflash_page.htm',true);return document.MM_returnValue">

this is where you change the urls

c
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chill0123Commented:
continued...

"so, if a user does not have flash to make them install it automatically. if they have flash and is old
version, get the latest... etc."

- you cannot force a user to install a plugin, and I would never try to do that either... you can send them to a page that tells them to please go to Macromedia to install the latest version of the Flash Player plugin...  I would recommend designing a very simple html navigation that users who don't want to download the plugin can still access your website/navigation...

"of course, varying browser versions is a concern... IE, netscape, aol etc. and how to deal with them?"

- forget about AOL unless 40% or more of your user base only uses the AOL browser... people can still run Netscape and IE to browse the web even though they are logged into AOL...  

My company just got done with a thorough investigation about these issues, and we have decided to code our website for the IE5+ and NS6+ user, because the stats show an overwelming switch towards IE from Netscape, even in the non US markets... as you might know, a few years ago the vast majority of the world used NS to view the internet. Now more than 50 or 60 percent use IE5+ with the remaining browsers spliting up the rest of the pot...

anyway, I hope all of this information helps you out, and good luck with the site...

c  
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rootdirCommented:
I think you have to use deployment kit for detecting flash player. It is useful for flash mx also.

http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/download/deployment_kit/

or see this for more details

http://www.macromedia.com/support/flash/ts/documents/uber_detection.htm

Cheers
RootDir
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loyaliserAuthor Commented:
thanks for the thorough information chill.

glad to hear that latest browser versions come with flash 5 installed... much relief there.

didn't mean to actually "force" user to install flash... but just wanted a page to tell them that they would need flash in order to continue further etc.

good research information your company conducted... very valuable indeed.

ON ANOTHER NOTE, it's funny how today there was an article on how adobe won an infringment case against macromedia, and are even planning to have macromedia remove flash from their products for sale! i sure hope this does not happen... i just started using flash and love it!!!

thanks to everyone else for your input...
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chill0123Commented:
what is the url for that article?

I am interested in finding out what products they are pulling the Flash Compatability from....

I would not be too worried, because Adobe does not have a product that can compete with Macromedia when it comes to the Market share of Flash developers, and plugin support.  

c
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loyaliserAuthor Commented:
article urls:

- http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/05/03/016210&mode=thread
- http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/05/03/020241&mode=thread

shameful... but hey, it's all about the battle for more moola, right?!
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