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Web Design in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition by Jennifer Niederst Robbins

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Chapter 26. Flash and Shockwave

Flash is a ground-breaking multimedia format developed by Macromedia. Flash gives you the ability to create full-screen animation, interactive graphics, and integrated audio clips, all at remarkably small file sizes. Its magic lies in the fact that it is a vector-based format (rather than bitmap), resulting in extremely compact files well suited for web delivery. Vector graphics define objects with mathematical formulas that require far less data than describing each individual pixel of a bitmap image.

Flash began its life as FutureSplash, an animated vector technology by a company named FutureWave. Macromedia acquired FutureSplash in 1997 and developed it into the robust multimedia tool it is today.

Flash movies (.swf ) are created using Macromedia’s Flash authoring tool. Flash (the application) includes tools for illustration, animation, interaction sequencing, sound editing, and a scripting engine. Flash 5, the latest version as of this writing, offers an improved interface and advanced scripting capabilities (ActionScript), making Flash one of the most versatile and powerful formats for web multimedia. For more information (and to download a demo copy), visit Macromedia’s site at http://www.flash.com.

Shockwave for Director is another multimedia format from Macromedia that allows rich CD-ROM-like multimedia interfaces created in Director to be published on the Web. Director is a powerful tool for synchronizing video, animation, and sound ...

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