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When a student trains for front-end website development, he or she will probably want to become proficient at a variety of software. HTML longhand is an absolute must, so they can troubleshoot, Adobe Photoshop (or equivelent) so they can create great artwork and image optimizations, and Macromedia Dreamweaver (or equivelent) to save huge amounts of time constructing tables, frames, forms, javascripts, links and etc.

An intriguing new thing now is Macromedia Flash 5. It's a combination of a vector mode illustration program and an animation program. It imports bitmaps and exports quite a few formats with option pages for each export format. The animation part of Flash does "tweening" which means that if you create two images at spaced apart "keyframes" on the timeline, it will computer generate all the "frames" in between those two keyframes. You can also put a "movie clip" within a "movie clip". So you have one movie play a second movie, whenever and however the first movie wants it done. You can have many things on the stage animating away with editable individual scripts and shapes. Although this is awesum, I found it that doing it in Flash 5 is very confusing.

Flash now has what's called "Actionscript"(second generation, I believe), which is modelled after and is similar to Javascript. It allows you to set up triggering of many events, from many other events. Triggers can be getting the mouse pointer near an "object" (anything selectable), clicking on an object, any frame in any Flash moviescript, or sub movie script, at any level within the sub-movie heirarchy structure. It's designed to work closely with Javascript in some cases. Flash movies, which "stream" in an HTML envoronment, can be designed to fill the entire browser window or any variation desired.

On a conventional web-page, most graphics and text can be easily "stolen" by virtually any surfer. If the same web-site is done all in Flash, nothing is stealable unless it is set up to be available by the developer.

For those who are wondering how Adobe LiveMotion fits ino the picture - I don't know. I haven't checked it out, but I believe it competes with Flash.

Flash Browser Plug-in:

You can't play Flash movies (or view Flash websites) without having a Flash "Plug-in" in your browser. The good news is that Flash plug-ins are included in most recently designed browsers. If the version your browser came with is obsolete, you just download for free an upgrade from the Macromedia download page.

As of September 2000, an NPD Online Worldwide Survey, says that 81.5% of the computers in the United States have Flash 4 player plug-ins, and 18.5% of all computers have the Flash 5 plug-in (the current version). Flash 5 didn't even come out until about then. It was already that much in use just on the availability of beta versions of the software.

I never really did much with Flash myself, but some good examples of its potential are listed below. If you don't have the latest Flash Player plug-in, click the symbol below to link to the Macromedia free download web-page and download and install it. It's a very small download and shouldn't take very long. Turn on your speakers and Enjoy!


  1. Flash demo within this website
  2. http://www.wonka.com
  3. http://www.flashaddict.com
  4. http://www.akimbodesign.com
  5. http://www.moock.org/
  6. http://www.eye4u.com/home/index.htm
  7. http://www.yugop.com/
  8. http://www.atomfilms.com/
  9. http://www.fullerene.com/

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