Why Use Flash?

Why Use Flash?

Flash has been the premiere tool for creating interactive multimedia on the web for over ten years. Flash can be used in many different ways, for a variety of purposes. Flash’s initial success came from the incredibly small file sizes of the Flash movie file format while still being able to deliver clean graphics and animation. The Flash Player also benefited from being a relatively small download compared to other players like Shockwave and Quicktime. Soon after, Flash became the tool of choice for creating games for the web and Flash’s native scripting language Actionscript has seen 3 major iterations over the years. In the last 5 years, Flash surged in popularity again due to its ability to stream quality video through the .flv format. and the Flash Player. 

Flash used in motion picture sites:

http://www.hellboymovie.com/main.html

http://thedarkknight.warnerbros.com/

Flash is viewed in movies (“.swf” files) that are linked or embedded into web pages. Sometimes the Flash movies can be very small like the small Flash movie that shows Flash Video (“.flv” files) at http://www.espn.com or it can be a large Flash movie that takes up the whole web page like the Flash movie sites listed above.

In order to view Flash movies you need to install the Flash Player by visiting http://www.adobe.com and downloading it. Flash can play in most major browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. Once you have the player installed you can view Flash content.

Recently Flash has revolutionized the web again by being the most impressive tool in delivering video over the web. Flash’s speed is due to its small file sizes (.swf and .flv files), and by streaming the video (allowing video to start playing before having been completely downloaded). Flash is extremely customizable (components) with a large assortment of built in tools and a robust object oriented scripting language (Actionscript).

Flash video used in major sites:

http://www.youtube.com

http://www.cnn.com

As a purely narrative animation tool Flash has been impressive since its inception. Flash was able to create motion graphics and animation with smaller file sizes through the use of frame based vector graphics while still retaining the ability to work with bitmaps. Many 2D cartoons on major networks use Flash to create their animation.

Flash narrative animation on these sites:
http://www.ninjai.com

http://www.homestarrunner.com/

TV shows done with Flash:

Mucha Lucha!
Little Einsteins
Metalocalypse
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law

Flash has been used to deliver political humor in an interactive multimedia format on sites such as http://www.jibjab.com and http://markfiore.com. As an educational interactive multimedia tool on sites such as http://www.sesamestreet.org.  large percentage of games on the web have been done with Flash.

Flash Games are on these sites:

http://www.newgrounds.com/game/

http://www.addictinggames.com/index.html

Author: Dan

Dan teaches computer networking and security classes at Central Oregon Community College.

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