Shockwave Xtras downloading overview

The information in this TechNote applies only to Shockwave players version 8.x. There has been changes made to the default Set of Xtras in Shockwave Player (Starting with version 10.1).All developers should familiarize themselves with the information about Changes to the Default Set of Xtras in Shockwave Player 10.1 (TechNote 19523).

Xtras downloading overview

Shockwave movies authored in Director can download at run time any required Xtras that are not installed in the Shockwave Player Xtras folder. Projectors authored in Director that use the Shockwave Player (as specified in the Projector Options dialog) can also take advantage of this feature. Downloaded Xtras are saved to the Shockwave Player's Xtras folder. The location of this folder on different operating systems is shown below.

Location of Shockwave Xtras folder (versions 8.x):

Macintosh 9.x

System Folder > Extensions > Macromedia > Shockwave 8 > Xtras

Macintosh OS X (version 8.x)

Library > Application Support > Macromedia> Xtras

Windows 95 and Windows 98 ME

Windows > System > Macromed > Shockwave 8> Xtras

Windows NT4 and 2000

Winnt > System32 > Macromed > Shockwave 8> Xtras

Windows XP (version 8.x)

Windows > System32 > Macromed > Shockwave 8 > Xtras

In order for an Xtra to be downloaded by a movie, the Xtra package must be made available for download at a URL. Once a movie has downloaded Xtras into the Shockwave Xtras folder, the Xtras will reside there permanently (newer versions can be downloaded to overwrite older versions, however).

A number of the most commonly used Macromedia Xtras are included in the default Shockwave Player installation. This allows most content authored in Director to be viewable in a default Shockwave installation without requiring any additional Xtras to be downloaded. Other Macromedia Xtras that are not part of the default Shockwave installation are available for download, if needed. Refer to Xtras installed with Shockwave Player (TechNote 14889)for a specific list of Xtras included with the Shockwave Player.

Shockwave Xtras and security

Xtras for use in the Shockwave Xtras folder must be updated and recompiled by the Xtra developer to make the Xtra 'safe for Shockwave'. Due to security reasons, Xtras not updated this way cannot be used successfully in the Shockwave Xtras folder. Xtras made 'safe for Shockwave' do not have to be made available in a download package in order to be used in the Shockwave Xtras folder. The disadvantage of not using a downloadable Xtra package is that the Xtra would need to be manually installed in the Shockwave Xtras folder.

Note: Not all Xtras can be made 'safe for Shockwave'. Generally speaking, any Xtra that provides a Shockwave movie involuntary access files or directories on an end user's system poses a security risk and cannot be marked as 'safe'. Developers cannot be expected to make 'safe' versions of such Xtras. The ActiveX and File IO Xtras are two examples of Macromedia Xtras that are not available for Shockwave due to the security risk they impose.

Downloadable Xtra packages use the Verisign secure download process to ensure no risk to the end user's configuration.

Enabling Xtras downloading

The following steps explain how to create movies that will download Xtras into the Shockwave Xtras folder. The same steps will work with files saved as Shockwave movies or files that will be saved as projectors using the 'Shockwave player' projector option.

Steps to enable Xtras downloading:

  1. In a text editor, open the file named xtrainfo.txt located in the root of the Director 8 application folder. This file instructs the movie which Xtras are available for download and from which URL those Xtras can be downloaded.
    • If you are using an Xtra that is not listed inxtrainfo.txt, contact the Xtra devloper Xtra to ask if the Xtra is available as a downloadable package. If the Xtra is to be used in a Shockwave movie, the package must include a 'safe for Shockwave' version of the Xtra.
    • If a downloadable package is not available for the Xtra, it will not be a candidate for the Xtras downloading feature.
    • If the Xtra developer has made a downloadable Xtra package, you will need to insert the necessary information (provided by the Xtra developer) into xtrainfo.txt.

      Note: please see the documentation provided inxtrainfo.txt for more information on this step.
  2. Launch Director and open the movie that uses the Xtra.
  3. Open the Movie Xtras dialog by choosing Modify > Movie > Xtras.
  4. Select the Xtra in the list which needs to be downloaded and select the Download if Needed option.

    Note: A connection to the Internet is required for this step to function. The URL where the downloadable Xtra package resides is verified at this point and stored in the movie file.
  5. Save the movie.

When the movie is run, either in the Shockwave Player or as a projector, it will check the user's Shockwave installation to verify what Xtras are installed and will prompt the user if an Xtra will be downloaded.

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