SWF Activity Module now supports SWF Address

SWF Activity Module now supports SWF AddressThis article’s aimed at developers and adminstrators and addresses a web usability issue that has an ingenious solution. If you’re not at all “geeky” this article will most probably go right over your head.

A common problem with Flash and web browsers is that they don’t use the same navigation model. Users regularly click on the browser forward and back buttons¬†navigation to navigate to web pages. Unfortunately, if the user is viewing a Flash application and she or he clicks on the browser back button,¬† the browser exits the Flash application and navigates to the previous web page. Obviously, this can be extremely annoying if a user has just spent a lot of time and loses any unsaved data or grades. Enter SWF Address, the answer to your browser navigation woes.

What is SWF Address?

SWF Address is a combination of Javascript and Actionscript classes that Flash developers can include in their projects. The classes work together to add changes in state in Flash applications to the browser navigation history, such as going to the next slide in a presentation or navigating to a menu. Otherwise known as “deep linking” this technique integrates browser and Flash navigation powerfully, unobtrusively and flexibly and reduces the likelihood of learners losing unsaved data or grades or generally wasting time trying to get back into an application to find where they left off. It even works with bookmarking so teachers and learners can link directly into a specific state or page in Flash applications.

The SWF Address Javascript class is already included and integrated with the latest version of the SWF Activity Module. You can install or upgrade it in your Moodle 1.9 or 1.8 installation immediately. Developers will still need to download and install the Actionscript class in their Flash IDE class path before they can start using it.

Please note that SWFAddress only works with Flash applications that have the necessary Actionscript class and functions included in them. See Lee Brimelow’s tutorial for more details about how to do this.

Where can I find it?

  • I’ve created an introductory wiki page with links to the project site and a very helpful tutorial by Flash and Actionscript guru, Lee Brimelow, on the SWF Activity Module project site wiki.
  • The latest version of the SWF Activity Module, which integrates the SWF Address Javascript class, can be downloaded from the SWF Activity Module project site.
  • So that you can see SWF Address in action in Moodle, I’ve also uploaded a simple demo by Asual and deployed it on my R&D Moodle 1.9 site (Login as a guest).
  • SWF Address project site with examples and demos.