In the early days of the Internet, Web sites were about as jazzy as an IRS form. You’d see pages filled with an assortment of plain text, links, and more plain text. Over time, the Web matured, and Web pages started to change as designers embraced the joys of color, pictures, and tacky clip-art. But when that excitement started to wear off, it was time for a new trick—multimedia.
Multimedia is a catchall term for a variety of technologies and file types, all of which have dramatically different PC requirements and pose different Web design challenges. Multimedia includes everything from the irritating jingle that plays in the background of your best friend’s homepage to the wildly popular movie clip of a cat playing the piano. (Depressing fact: with over 10 million views, it’s unlikely you’ll ever create a Web page that’s half as popular.)
In this chapter, you’ll consider how to use several types of multimedia. First, you’ll learn to play background music and sound effects. Then you’ll learn to use Flash to put a real music player in your Web page. Finally, you’ll see how to use YouTube to popularize your own movie clips, and take a shot at becoming the center of attention.
Before you go any further, take a moment to consider the worst examples of multimedia abuse. These include flashing banner ads, irritating background music, time-wasting intro pages, and bandwidth-sucking commercials. Before you jump on the multimedia bandwagon, think about what you ...