Delivering Audio Online
Upload audio files in the same way you upload any other file using an FTP (file transfer protocol) program. You may find it useful to create a folder on your Web server to store all audio files. This keeps your media organized on the server.
Standalone Audio Files
Stand-alone audio files — those that must be downloaded completely before being played — can be linked to on any HTML page, much as you create a link to another Web page or to a PDF or other file.
Creating a link to the audio file looks like this:
<a href="http://www.j-learning.org/audio/myaudio.wav">Click here to listen.</a>
Depending on the browser, clicking on this link either causes the browser to download the file or open the file within the browser window and play it.
You can also embed an audio file into a page. This can be used to insert a background audio track to a page or simply to give the audio a physical presence on the page.
To embed an audio file, use the following code:
Possible HTML attributes are:
|src||Name of file|
|pluginspage||URL to plug-in page|
|hidden||True||Only use when actually hiding file.|
|autostart||True/false||True plays the file after it is loaded.|
|volume||1-100||Sets the volume for the file|
|align||Right/left/top/bottom||Wrap text, etc.|
|height||In pixels||should be multiples of 16|
“Pluginspage" is an unusual attribute. When the user encounters your embedded audio but doesn’t have the appropriate plug-in to play it, the "pluginspage" attribute provides a quick and easy way to direct the user to the appropriate plug-in source.
Most browsers now have built-in support for playback of embedded sound files.
Streaming Audio Files
Streamed files are a bit more complicated to implement and generally involve:
- Having a streaming server or access to one through your Web hosting provider. Prices vary considerably.
- Encoding your files using that streaming technology's particular codec. (A codec is a device that converts analog audio or video signals to digital so they can be transmitted, then converts them back to analog once received so they can be heard or seen.)
- Ensuring that your listeners have or can download the player for the streaming file.
All streaming encoded files can be served using what is called "HTTP streaming." Don't buy Web hosting thinking that this is anything amazing — HTTP streaming is simply what happens when you use a normal Internet connection to download an encoded streaming file. Still, it's a viable option for your streaming content if you can't afford streaming software. Playback will still occur before the entire file downloads, but the download will be slow.
To HTTP stream, create your content, encode it in the streaming format you want to deliver, and link to it as you would any other Web page or file.
To purchase Windows Media streaming server software, download the player, and learn about encoding files, visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/default.aspx.
To purchase the QuickTime streaming server software, download the QuickTime player and learn about creating QuickTime content, visit http://www.apple.com/quicktime/.
Each of these formats can also be used to stream video files.
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