The Power of Flash: Enhancing Your Web Presence

Jan 2




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The most rudimentary form of a webpage is a static one, a page that remains idle within your browser window. It doesn't do anything. You can view it, then hit your browser back button and leave. This is not the type of page one typically aims to create, but rather a crucial lesson in what to avoid. Webpages exist for visitor interaction. There is a unique and thrilling give-and-take between a site and its viewer that doesn't exist in any other medium. It's crucial to leverage this. So, how do you do it? The simplest form of interactivity on a page is links to other pages, whether in the form of text or attractive buttons. Another way to interact with a page is to fill out a form, which offers an exchange of information. Almost all website hosts offer scripting support, and there are also sites that exist to do the heavy lifting for you. Interactivity is what the web is all about. But the palette of surfers out there has been increasingly jaded as one innovative idea after another has hit the web and shaken its HTML foundations. That's where Flash comes in – it combines the necessary strengths of interactivity with powerful animation techniques.

The Evolution of Web-Based Animations

In the not-so-distant past,The Power of Flash: Enhancing Your Web Presence Articles web-based animations were almost doomed before they began due to their hefty file size trying to squeeze into the bandwidth available to it on its way from server to browser window. Animated GIF files, AVI and MOV files – all those are created with bitmap graphics, which basically means that each and every pixel of each and every frame must be downloaded & processed in order for it to display. Flash files, on the other hand, are vector-based, which means that they are scalable and processed based upon the geometry within the file – curves and lines, rather than individual dots. It makes for a far more compact means of displaying animated graphics. Also, Flash files are open format – intrepid and fearless third-party software developers can make their mark by utilizing Flash file technology. Macromedia, the company that markets Flash, has the file specifications available for downloading at their website.

The Power of Flash

The Flash program itself is a combination of a vector drawing program with a timeline-based animation creation utility. Scripts may be written to provide content interactivity. It is an extremely valuable tool to help move your site from okay to outstanding. Links to sites which incorporate Flash may be found at the Macromedia website or by using your favorite search engines. Visia is a good example of what Flash can do, as is the excellent “cybermercial” available at MMIUSA.

The Growing Acceptance of Shockwave Flash (swf) File Format

The Shockwave Flash (swf) file format is gaining much wider acceptance. Adobe, Ulead, and Corel are some of the major players whose products have (or will have) swf export or viewing capability. OpenSWF provides an information center for both the programming arcana of swf and lists of third-party developers – companies like Blue Pacific (Blue-Pac), creators of software called Flash Turbine, which allows you to create dynamic Flash content based upon changing data in (for example) text or databases.

Embracing Flash Technology

In this era of 56k and cable modems and competition from countless other websites, coupled with the explosive and ever-growing acceptance of Flash technology (no special plugin is necessary in the latest versions of the most popular browsers) that in order to compete in the market, you almost have to embrace Flash technology. I knew I needed to learn about Flash, and started at the Macromedia website. They have a Flash site of the day and a lot of helpful basic information about Flash4. The program is available for downloading and a 30-day trial, but beware of its learning curve and rather high intimidation factor. Flash is a powerful product indeed, and to harness that power, you have to put time and effort into it.


With the current state of site design, wouldn't you like to harness the power of Flash too?