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FLASH GUIDELINES    

 
 
If you are looking for specific instructions on the ESPN Expandable Leaderboard, please click here.

Clicktags
Clicktags: Flash 9.0 or below - built using ActionScript 2 or below
  Clicktags: Flash 9.0 - built using ActionScript 3
  Clicktags: Multiple clicktags in one banner
  Clicktags: Tracking Flash Pop-ups
Buttons
CPU Usage Guidelines
   
Overview
General Requirements (Flash version, wmode, audio)
File Organization & Naming
Layers
Timelines / Frames
Looping
Optimization
Video




    Overview:

Flash technology is used for interactive vector graphics and animation for the Web. Web designers use Flash to create resizable and extremely compact navigation interfaces, technical illustrations, long-form animations, and other dazzling effects for their site. They can be reached at www.macromedia.com.

Click here for step by step instructions on how to create a flash banner in general.


    General Requirements:
- Flash SWF file needs to be exported as version 9.0 or below.
- A default GIF will be served to browsers that do not have a compatible Flash Plug-In.
- Frame Rate: 18 frames per second.
- Third party served Flash ads must be have a wmode set to "opaque" in their object/embed code.
- Sounds permitted; must be user initiated, on click.
- All creatives must be designed with a solid background color to avoid unwanted color conflicts with the displaying page.


    File Organization/Naming:

The flash files are the primary focus of your campaign. The gif/jpg files are utilized as back-up for users who may not have flash installed and/or functioning properly. This allows those users to view something vs. nothing while on the site.

When it is time to export your files, please name each in the following manner:
sponsor_campaign_lengthxheight.swf

1. Primary (flash): sponsor_campaign_728x90.swf
2. Secondary (gif/jpg): sponsor_campaign_728x90.gif/jpg

Note: Your flash (SWF) file needs to be version 9.0 or before.



    Layers:

- Label your layers.
- Label and organize your symbols in folders within your library.
- Keep actions, or similar types of actions, on the same layer.
- Keep your timelime labels on one layer.
- Keep each button on its own layer at the top of all the layers so it is never covered.
- Make sure it is present throughout the entire movie. If you have multiple click areas, make sure each button has its own layer. See buttons below.



    Timeline & Frames:

End all items that you wish to have on the screen the entire time on the same frame (at the end of the timeline). This will prevent your banner from going “blank” while it moves to the end of the timeline and then back through.



    Buttons:

Set the dimensions of your button layer to be the same as the movie it is in (go to Window and then select “Info.” palette.) Make sure your clickable layer is present on the timeline throughout the entire timeline.




    ClickTag's: Flash 9.0 or below - built using ActionScript 2 or below

Click-through functions must use the "Get URL" command. The action script code needed for the button layer in your Flash file should look exactly as it is below. Do not insert your URL where the "http:" is below. This revised action script simply checks to make sure that "http:" is contained within the URL we pass into it.

Notes: Spell clicktag using only lowercase letters.
Hardcoded URLs are not allowed to be passed via the "Get URL" action.

on (release) {
if (_level0.clicktag.substr(0,5) == "http:") {
getURL(_level0.clicktag, "_blank");
}
}


- Hard coded URLs are not allowed to be passed via the "Get URL" action.

The action script for the button layer in your Flash file should look exactly as it is above. Do not insert your URL where the "http:" is above. This revised action script simply checks to make sure that "http:" is contained within the URL we pass into it.

This is updated action script based on security measures recommended by Macromedia. According to Macromedia, "The ActionScript...is verifying that the clicktag URL begins with "http:". This is an important security measure. If you do not take this precaution, a malicious HTML page could source your SWF and pass a clicktag URL that begins with "javascript:" or another scripting pseudo-protocol. If your ActionScript code were to call getURL with a maliciously crafted JavaScript URL, it would be possible for the site serving the malicious HTML page to obtain the contents of your HTTP cookies or perform other actions on your site's behalf."




    ClickTag's: Flash 9.0 - built with ActionScript 3

Notes: Spell clicktag using only lowercase letters. Hardcoded URLs are not allowed.

myButton.addEventListener(
MouseEvent.CLICK,
function():void
{
if (root.loaderInfo.parameters.clicktag.substr(0,5)=="http:")
{
navigateToURL(new URLRequest(root.loaderInfo.parameters.clicktag), "_blank");
}
}
);


The action script for the button layer in your Flash file should look exactly as it is above. Do not insert your URL where the "http:" is above. This revised action script simply checks to make sure that "http:" is contained within the URL we pass into it.

This is updated action script based on security measures recommended by Macromedia. According to Macromedia, "The ActionScript...is verifying that the clicktag URL begins with "http:". This is an important security measure. If you do not take this precaution, a malicious HTML page could source your SWF and pass a clicktag URL that begins with "javascript:" or another scripting pseudo-protocol. If your ActionScript code were to call getURL with a maliciously crafted JavaScript URL, it would be possible for the site serving the malicious HTML page to obtain the contents of your HTTP cookies or perform other actions on your site's behalf."



    ClickTag's: Multiple Clicks within one banner.

If you have several url’s that a banner will drive traffic to, use the same clicktag code as above, but for each different clicking url, utilize a different name for the clicktag - example below. Essentially, you just need to use a different clicktag so our system can react accordingly:

url1 – clicktag
url2 – clicktag2
url3 – clicktag3
url4 – clicktag4

Tip: When using multiple clicktags, be sure to designate each clickable area with a button of its own and make sure that you don't overlap buttons.


    CPU Usage Guidelines:

Macromedia's Flash Player utilizes a computer's CPU (central processing unit) in handling all animation, masking, and computation contained within a Flash file. If a Flash file contains heavy amounts of mathematical computation for elements such as animation, loops, or timers, it will require a much greater percentage of CPU usage. As a result, the Flash file is forced to compete with other Flash files and other applications for CPU usage, which causes all Flash elements on the page to slow down significantly. There are several ways to help cut down on the CPU
usage your Flash file requires. One way is to limit the amount of "math-based" animation - animation which is controlled by mathematical-based action script. Another way is to limit or eliminate looping functions in action script. Looping functions are usually associated with timers. Masking and animated masking techniques can also require a large amount of CPU resources.

One way to estimate how CPU intensive your Flash file may be is to open the "Task Manager" (control+alt+delete) and view the "Performance" tab -- this gives a graphical estimate of CPU usage. With the Task Manager open, then open your swf file in the Flash player - you may see a spike as your Flash file is animating.
 

A small spike of 20-30% is normal; if your CPU Usage jumps up to 80-100%, the Flash file may need revising until it uses less CPU resources.

For more information on optimizing Flash files, see Macromedia's article, "Streaming and file optimization techniques for Flash Player".

WDIG reserves the right to reject creative if it requires a higher than normal percentage of CPU resources and would, as a result of this, cause other page elements to slow down.

    Tracking (Flash Pop-ups):

Flash creative must adhere to all other WDIG standards, with the following exception -- rather than having the getURL function call "clicktag", it must call the following:

getURL("javascript:popAd_SPONSOR_NAME_HERE();")

In place of SPONSOR_NAME_HERE, you will put your company/sponsor name.
For example, for Ford Motor Company, the action script would look like so:

getURL("javascript:popAd_Ford();")

Putting the sponsor name will help to assure that we are never calling the same function twice on any given page.

This will call the function which pops open the window. This function will include our tracking script, along with the destination URL and all the specifications for the pop-up window.




    Looping:

If you would like your banner to loop infinitely, just end your movie items all on the same frame and don’t use a stop frame at the end. Flash will automatically loop back to the beginning.

Recommendation: If you would like some time to lapse before replays, then add frames to the timeline for the items you would like to leave on the screen.

If you would like your banner to loop a specific number of times, use the following code: Arriving shortly.



    Optimization:
How to optimize a flash file.
Macromedia Resource



    Video:

WDIG defines video as, but is not limited to, any .avi, .mpg, quicktime, .wmv or real media file that would typically be edited within a video editing program.

When these types of files are imported into Flash, they remain a "video" even though they are "displayed" through the Macromedia Flash Player in a banner. Banners that contain video or video components mixed with vector graphics are required to have play and pause buttons. This is to ensure our users with a consistent experience across our sites.