Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform originally acquired by Macromedia and currently developed and distributed by Adobe Systems. Since its introduction in 1996, Flash has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages. Flash is commonly used to create animation, advertisements, and various web page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to develop rich Internet applications. Flash can manipulate vector and raster graphics and supports bidirectional streaming of audio and video. It contains a scripting language called ActionScript. Several software products, systems, and devices are able to create or display Flash content, including Adobe Flash Player, which is available free for most common web browsers, some mobile phones and for other electronic devices (using Flash Lite). The Adobe Flash Professional multimedia authoring program is used to create content for the Adobe Engagement Platform, such as web applications, games and movies, and content for mobile phones and other embedded devices.

Adobe Flash (previously called Macromedia Flash) is a multimedia platform originally acquired by Macromedia and currently developed and distributed by Adobe Systems. Since its introduction in 1996, Flash has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages. Flash is commonly used to create animation, advertisements, and various web page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to develop rich Internet applications.


Flash can manipulate vector and raster graphics and supports bidirectional streaming of audio and video. It contains a scripting language called ActionScript. Several software products, systems, and devices are able to create or display Flash content, including Adobe Flash Player, which is available free for most common web browsers, some mobile phones and for other electronic devices (using Flash Lite). The Adobe Flash Professional multimedia authoring program is used to create content for the Adobe Engagement Platform, such as web applications, games and movies, and content for mobile phones and other embedded devices.


Files in the SWF format, traditionally called "ShockWave Flash" movies, "Flash movies" or "Flash games", usually have a .swf file extension and may be an object of a web page, strictly "played" in a standalone Flash Player, or incorporated into a Projector, a self-executing Flash movie (with the .exe extension in Microsoft Windows or .hqx for Macintosh). Flash Video files have a .flv file extension and are either used from within .swf files or played through a flv aware player, such as (VLC), or QuickTime and Windows Media Player with external codecs added.
Flash can be used to embed video in web pages, a feature available since Flash Player version 6. The technique is to create a flash file (.swf) that acts as a player for the video file. This is the basis for many popular video sites, including YouTube and Google Video. The actual video file is either an FLV or H.264 file; both can easily be played by generic videoplayer software. However, getting browsers to display video is still a platform specific issue due to lack of a common video format, and the subject of a web standard for video is a heated debate. Using Flash has the advantage of Flash Player's wide distribution, but as this is proprietary technology for which there is no real alternative, it also makes multimedia embedded in this way notoriously difficult to access for non-users of the Flash Player, particularly if the location of the multimedia file is moved out of the HTML.


Flash movies can run in browsers with the proper Flash player installed, although it is important to note that Flash movies cannot run within an e-mail client. Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, etc., cannot run flash movies within an e-mail. Movies must be linked from the message so that a new browser window opens up. Flash has the ability from here to determine if the browser has the correct player installed and whether or not to display the movie, or an alternate message if the user does not have Flash.


Flash Video (.flv files) is a container format, meaning that it is not a video format in itself, but can contain other formats. The video in Flash is encoded in H.263, and starting with Flash player 8, it may alternatively be encoded in VP6. The audio is in MP3. The use of VP6 is common in many companies, because of the large adoption rates of Flash Player 8 and Flash Player 9.


On August 20, 2007, Adobe announced on its blog that with Update 3 of Flash Player 9, Flash Video will also support the MPEG-4 international standard. Specifically, Flash Player will have support for video compressed in H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10), audio compressed using AAC (MPEG-4 Part 3), the MP4, M4V, M4A, 3GP and MOV multimedia container formats (MPEG-4 Part 14), 3GPP Timed Text specification (MPEG-4 Part 17) which is a standardized subtitle format and partial parsing support for the 'ilst' atom which is the ID3 equivalent iTunes uses to store metadata. Adobe also announced that they will be gradually moving away from the proprietary FLV format to the standard MP4 format owing to functional limits with the FLV structure when streaming H.264. The final release of the Flash Player supporting MPEG-4 had become available in Fall 2007


http://www.adobe.com/products/flash

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