What is Flash?
Flash is a software package from Macromedia
that offers a whole new dimension to web-based content. A common use of
Flash animations can often be seen on a website’s opening page. One basic
technique of animation in Flash is called tweening, which applies actions
between two objects over time to make an animation. So when you see a square
morph into a triangle you can be pretty sure that you are watching a Flash
animation and that a shape tween is being used.
Why use Flash?Flash uses vector-based
animation as opposed to bitmapped or raster-based animation.This allows
for a greater amount of information to be streamed across the net to the
user. Simply put, a vector-based graphic is a series of mathematical dimensions
and commands whereas a raster-based graphic is an ordered
collection of dots or pixels. Vector-based files tend to be smaller in
file size than raster images. In theory, this makes the download quicker.
What it offers
Flash offers an evolution in the interactivity
level available to people surfing on the net. Its applications are almost
endless — from a shopping cart application to online games and beyond.
The main thing that drives the current popularity of Flash animation sites
is the programmer’s creativity and the increasing accessibility of broadband
What is Action Script?
Action Script is the programming language
of Flash. It is accessed by a series of presets in the actions palette
or, in expert mode, the programmer can hard code. This will be a familiar
interface to anyone who has ever worked with Macromedia’s web page layout
Note: Most modern browsers already
contain a plug-in to allow you to view Flash files. You may find you need
to upgrade your plug-in — get the latest Flash plug-in (version 5).
Flash examples on the Web