HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
Flash animations are stored in a file with a .swf file extension. Unlike other media, .swf
files play as they download and give the perception of speedy display of complex
graphic animations. Flash animations can be interactive; they can be scripted, with a
language called ActionScript, to respond to mouse clicks, accept information in text
boxes, and invoke CGI or other server-side scripting.
Flash requires a browser plug-in, which is free and readily available for download from
Adobe. According to Adobe, 99 percent of Internet-enabled desktops have a Flash plug-
in installed ( Recall that playing
standard format audio and video files on Web pages is extremely dependent on the
browser plug-ins visitors have installed. Recently, there has been an increasing use of
Adobe Flash technology to play video ( and audio (
files on Web pages. With the nearly ubiquitous Flash Player installed on most Web
browsers, Web site developers are confident when using Flash technology.
Adobe licenses the Adobe Flash file format to third-party developers. This means that you
can use applications other than Adobe Flash to create a Flash (.swf) effect. TechSmith's
Cantasia ( and Swish ( are just two
of the third-party tools that can be used to create media in the .swf format.
Common Uses of Flash
Navigation. Flash is often used to create an interactive navigation area on a Web page.
See Figure 11.7 for the home page of the National Science Foundation (
It uses Flash to offer and describe main navigation choices. The site also uses the graphic
animation features of Flash to provide a series of clickable images under the main naviga-
tion. These serve to highlight the site topics and create a more engaging user experience.
Figure 11.7
Flash is used to
provide navigation
and interactive
The home page of the National Park Service ( uses Flash to display
a continuous slide show of beautiful scenery—drawing the visitor into the site. Notice
how Flash components—such as navigation bars and slide shows can be combined with
XHTML to create an engaging user experience.
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