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Re: [Fsfe-uk] BBC digital curriculum service in England

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] BBC digital curriculum service in England
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 13:14:15 +0100

On Tue, 2004-10-12 at 12:52 +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> Does anyone have recent reviews or experience of libflash 
> http://www.swift-tools.net/Flash/ and libswf 
> http://sourceforge.net/projects/libswf/ ? It's been a long time since 
> I looked at them.

One of the expo linux mags has a PHP & Flash tutorial; it looks like it
works but is quite basic. OOo also has Flash export. All of these miss
the advance functionality though: streaming and scripting are the two
main features that you might reasonably need in an online course that
these tools don't support. 

> How does SMIL http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo/ compare to Flash for 
> e-learning?

Flash is installed on 99% of home machines (Flash 5+, IIRC); SMIL is
installed on a lower base, isn't as capable and doesn't have the same

The main thing lacking is scriptability (I think SMIL doesn't have it;
only sequences, etc.). That would limit interactivity; or at least
increase round-trips to pick up new files and things. I think it's also
better supported by proprietary software than free software sadly.

I did see that there was either a proposal or extension or something to
SVG that allowed scriptability via Javascript, which would be
more-or-less ideal, but then there is still the aspect of streaming
which wouldn't be addressed (but, arguably less important).

http://courses.learndirect.co.uk/providers/tasters/sfl/cashcrescent/ is
probably a good example of where they're aiming. "Hard features" include
pseudo lip-synced high-quality animation and reasonable interactivity.
It's non-linear and has large amounts of sound. It's very difficult to
achieve that kind of thing without Flash, unfortunately (and that taster
doesn't work in free software, naturally....)



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