Tutorial 12: Embed with HTML - Page 1 - HTML with Style
The most common example is bitmap images, that exist all over the Web. Bitmap images where the first type of object to be embedded into HTML documents, and are still the most popular. Lately, people have tried to add sound to HTML documents with varying success, giving Web pages background music or sound effects. Even before sound came along, a technology called Java enabled people to embed applets, that is small, lightweight programs, into their documents. Lately we've seen a host of other object types appearing on the Web: Video, animation, Shockwave Flash files, and more.
The first thing that should trouble you as an HTML author thinking to embed objects in your documents is that you need to be able to create them. I'm not going to teach you how. Not everyone can create nice-looking graphics (anyone who's surfed the Web for a prolonged amount of time can give you hundreds of cases that prove this point), even fewer people can create interesting music or soundclips, and even fewer people know how to write Java applets. This leads to quite a big problem in that people tend to resort to ready-made solutions through clip-art libraries and third-party programs. Although this will save you a bit of time, there are a few issues to consider.
The first is cross-platform compatibility. When you embed an object in an HTML document, you should be reasonably familiar with what it takes to access it. Just like people with different computing environments can't always access some Web pages, some people don't have the capability to use certain types of objects. The most obvious example is some poor soul using a text-only browser trying to make sense of a page littered with images. But there are less obvious examples that are even more important, such as blind or partially sighted people who can use Braille readers or speech synthesizers to understand text, but can't view images, and I'd like to see someone argue that they don't have a right to access your pages.
So awareness of who can access the object you're using is important. Another factor is file size. Many multimedia objects can grow very large very fast, and in this day and age most people still access the Web using a modem. Modems aren't very good at downloading large files, so if you're demented enough to offer a full-motion capture of that video you made during your latest visit to Disneyland, you should be aware that most people just won't bother.
Thankfully, HTML offers several mechanisms that help authors with these problems. Though the best of these remain unimplemented (I'm sure you saw that coming), there are still several tricks of the trade that you should be aware of, and we'll talk of these later on.
And of course, no HTML feature will ever be a substitute for good old-fashioned taste, so take a good look at your objects before you publish your documents. Splattering a Web page with images and adding an annoying tune as background music just for the sake of it never made a Web page any better. If you're hopeless, why don't you take some hints from our design guru Dmitry or any other source of enlightenment you prefer. It's OK to be tasteless, but the least you can do is admit it and try to do something about it. There are people who can help you.
Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: May 28, 1998
Revised: February 25, 1999