Macromedia & Adobe Flash

Macromedia & Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash is an older technology and one we would no longer recommend using. It provides a multimedia authoring environment that can be used to create a host of different web applications, but no longer has the widespread browser support it once did.

One of the myths of flash is that a plugin is downloaded before it can be displayed. This used to be the case, but as of the year 2000 the Flash Player has been distrubuted with modern browsers such as Internet Explorer, Netscape and AOL. Two years later it also shipped with all releases of Windows XP, so chances are users will already have the necessay software or will have already downloaded the free flash player during their time on the internet.

It can be used for anything from animations, menus, games, portfolios and photo slideshows.

An example of flash is our animated aquarium above. The flash movie takes advantage of Actionscript to navigate the movement of fish, bubles and light and water effects. And unlike many web deisgners, the flash content is embeded correctly to ensure compliance to coding standards and accessibility.

Initially focused on animation, early versions of Flash content offered few interactivity features and had very limited scripting capability.

More recent versions include ActionScript, a scripting language which is similar to JavaScript. ActionScript is used to create almost all of the interactivity seen in many Flash applications (buttons, text forms, menus, links, scoring and database/php integration). ActionScript can also be used to allow less linear animations (such as our aquarium mentioned above), which often also saves on filesize, and therefore bandwidth and loading time for your website's visitors. An alternative would be to use the method of "tweening" for animations, but this means that the animation would be a continuous loop of the same movement as a pre-defined set of animation frames. With actionscript you can make every movement random to a degree that you choose, to make the animation more organic and interactive.

Later versions of the Flash Player and authoring software strived to improve on these scripting capabilities. Flash MX 2004 introduced ActionScript 2.0, a scripting programming language suited to animating via programming rather than the more movie-like methods.

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