Chapter 11, Browser Integration
#96 Add Key Shortcuts to Your Site
This means that your SWF cannot respond to keypresses until it has been
clicked on at least once, something that can be undesirable in a number of
situations. For example, you may have just loaded a video game in which
the player must take control using the arrow keys. Unless the user is made to
click on the SWF before the game commences, the arrow keypresses are not
detected. The usual workaround is to force the user to click once on the
SWF, usually by clicking a Start button put there solely for this purpose. It is
better to have a large clickable area and text instructions such as “Click any-
where to proceed,” but it is even more elegant to not require the user to
click at all.
Fortunately, you can force browser focus from within Flash using the fol-
lowing ActionScript (it works best when tested in a browser, rather than
from Test Movie mode within the Flash authoring application):
getURL("javascript:me.focus( );void 0;");
Using getURL( ), the line invokes the JavaScript Window.focus( ) method,
targeting a file called me. As long as your SWF is called me.swf, it will gain
focus automatically.
Final Thoughts
Although this is a very short hack, it’s one of those little touches that makes
your Flash presentation’s look and feel much more professional. Users
expect to be able to fill in and tab between the text fields in a pop-up form
without first having to click on it. If keypresses don’t register, users get con-
fused. As with the preceding hack, this technique doesn’t work in browsers
that don’t support JavaScript-to-Flash communication, such as Mozilla.
Add Key Shortcuts to Your Site Hack #96
To make your application easier and faster to use (and more like a desktop
application), associate a keystroke or key combination with each button in
your SWF.
Adding keyboard shortcuts to each of your buttons makes your site more
accessible. This hack shows how to implement shortcuts with a minimum of
code. Detecting keypresses is a little more complex than just looking for a
key being pressed. We have to be able to detect keyboard combinations,
such as Ctrl-Q, and detect both when the key is pressed and when it is

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