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Macromedia Authorware Support Center - Basics
External file options

The setting in the fifth column determines how an external file is downloaded. There are six options:

empty
If you leave the fifth column empty, the file will be downloaded to the user's computer when the Authorware piece begins and deleted when the piece ends. Downloading external files at the start of the piece is usually not the best choice, however, because it can cause long delays for the user.

onDemand
Downloads the file only when the piece calls for it.

Many external files that are referenced from icons within Authorware can be downloaded on demand. For external files that Authorware doesn't know about--such as DLLs not directly referenced within a piece--use the NetDownload function in a calculation icon to download the files when needed.

Use onDemand for most external files.

onDemand is not valid for downloading XMO drivers. For example, if this line appears in a map file:

bin all a3dir32.xmo a3dir32.xmo onDemand

Then not only will the XMO driver never download from the server to the user's Plug-In folder, but no error message will appear to make that known. Recycle and Preempt commands are valid for use with XMO drivers, however.

recycle
Does not delete the file when the Authorware piece ends. When the piece starts again, it uses this file instead of downloading it a second time.

This setting can save users a lot of time if they run the same piece repeatedly or if several pieces share one external file. See Multiple locations.

preempt
If a given external file is available on a user's hard disk or CD-ROM drive, this setting tells Authorware to disregard that file and instead look to the network for it.

This option can be useful in a few situations--for example, if you provide certain QuickTime videos on a CD-ROM as part of a piece, but have put newer versions of these files on the server. This setting means the newer versions will be downloaded.

macbinary
Creates an .AAB file combining the resource fork and the data fork of the file into a single MacBinary file. This preserves the Macintosh creator and type information and is needed to ensure that movies, Xtras, the Director movie driver, and XCMDs download properly, because HTTP transfers over the internet would otherwise not preserve this information.

length
Verifies the size of the file after downloading. If the length of the downloaded file doesn't match at runtime, the user sees an error message "File on server is missing or has wrong length" followed by the URL of the file that couldn't be downloaded. The corrupted file is deleted immediately after being downloaded.

For the Macintosh version of an Authorware piece, in most cases you must use an additional setting in the option column for each external file. See the next section.

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