Using Flash in web sites

Flash is a powerful software package used to add fluid animations, video and interactivity to web sites. Most of the time, web sites use flash to animate portions of their page, i.e., advertisements or promotional interactive movies. Sometimes web sites are constructed entirely with Flash.

Streaming movies are mostly Flash files and they have the advantage of loading fast. Flash animations can be designed with vector graphics, which provide limitless animation possibilities.

Before Flash came along, the only way to have interactivity on a page (without leaving that page) was javascript. Flash has two sides to it: the movie timeline and animation construction as well as a powerful programming language, Actionscript. This enables powerful control over every facet of the Flash movie, such as graphic design, movie timeline editing, and actionscript control over interactivity.

You see Flash components in web sites due to the Flash player that is free and embedded in most browsers. This made Flash a standard across the web for animation, streaming and interactivity, and designers could rely on the fact that Flash was ubiquitous. With the introduction of the iPhone and iPad, Apple decided not to allow installation of Flash in their Safari IOS browser. Many web designers now choose to detect if the user’s browser is running on IOS, and consequently adjust the css and html so that alternatives can be displayed, or design their sites to be responsive. An alternative to Flash is the new HTML5 tags <video> and <audio>.

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