The purpose of the project:
The purpose of this project was to create an interactive learning tool to educate interested parties on the history of West Asheville. Dr. Phyllis Lang served as the information supplier, and the liaison between the library and the UNCA subset of the collaboration, Susan and me.
The implementation and development of the project:
Our decision to incorporate the program on a CD-ROM was based on an early assumption that our primary user base would not have the most up-to-date systems, nor would they likely have broadband connections. The size of the files necessary to run the program would therefore be too burdensome to download on most of the target systems. The CD-ROM format eliminates the issue of connection speed.
Macromedias Flash 5 was the primary development tool for this project. Flash provides nearly limitless graphical user interface possibilities, by current standards. The language used to communicate in Flash is Actionscript, a proprietary language based on ECMA-script, and therefore very similar to Java-Script.
Although the Flash player provides consistent playback results across all formats, many older systems do not have the player. To eliminate concern over this issue, Flash provides an option to publish your file in an *.exe format which will play without the Flash player installed on the system. These files are larger than Flashs standard *.swf format, but they include everything needed for playback, and the size is not a problem for CD storage in this case.
This project is an evolutionary one in that the information has been compiling for a while, and will be added to and amended in the future. To that end, I have made as much of it to be dynamically generated, through content and code, as possible. As future changes are desired, a programmer competent with the Flash interface should be able to easily add text and images which would load dynamically, with respective buttons created to mesh perfectly with the current navigation scheme, and hopefully to enlighten library patrons on the history of their area.
Advisor: Susan Reiser