FlashBar Design Document [FAQ format], version 0.03.
28mar2006 2100p.
'Ybom' Phillip Andrew Graves.

Can you explain the FlashBar concept better than you do on your description page, please?

-Yes, in current format, the FlashBar is just a concept. You cannot see or play with it just yet. The idea behind it though is an interface [sort of like a menu] that you can navigate through and select one of several different games [and potentially other things like notes for your blog or whatever], all in an extremely tiny 350x19 footprint. These dimensions are identical to the Userbar spec, so it will integrate seamlessly with them.

But wait, where is the FlashBar supposed to be used?

-I guess whoever asks this question doesn't understand the concept of a Userbar. The Userbar design process is to create a picture showcasing something about you that you put in a forum signature. At first people used a bunch of individual pictures, with quotes like "Gamecube Player" and "Spam Eater", but they are now moving towards animated ones that display all of them in a single 350x19 footprint. The FlashBar is supposed to integrate within several userbars, directly next to a single animated userbar, or replacing all of the userbars together!

Erm, but this is Flash content! How in the world are you going to put this in, of all places, a forum sig?!?

-Simple. HTML enabled forums. Here are the steps to properly nest them in your sig:
  1. Ensure the intended forum allows HTML, specifically the <embed> tag, in the signature area of your posts.
  2. Start to edit your signature.
  3. Find the point at which you'd like to embed the Flashbar, and use the following embed tag: <embed src="url://url.url.url/url.swf" quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="350" height="19" name="flashbar" align="middle" allowScriptAccess="sameDomain" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" />
  4. Replace "url://url.url.url/url.swf" with a good flashbar url, ensuring that it has the swf extension.
  5. Save your sig, go post something [ensuring that you're showing your sig in the post], and make sure it works.

That's pretty nifty, but what about my forum? It isn't HTML enabled. ;_;

-You really should discuss enabeling an tag over with whoever administrates your forum. I am certain that with a little work, any admin could set up a small whitelist for <embed>ded content.

What are the eventual goals of the FlashBar concept?

-I would eventually like the FlashBar to be a gateway to any content you need. I don't intend to replace the browsing experience, but it could really be useful if people designed content oriented for it. I'd love to see new innovative ways to use such a small space! Another goal is to be able to dynamically resize/close/open/etc the FlashBar. At first I think we'll just keep it to increments of 350x19 though [350(x)x19(y); x={1,2}, y={1,2,3,4...}].

If you have any other question, feel free to ask us in the forum! -soon-