Adobe Flash

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Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash 9 Professional
Developer: Adobe Systems
Latest release: 8 (9) / September 30, 2005 (June 27, 2006)
OS: Windows (no native Windows XP Professional x64 Edition support), Mac OS X and 32-bit Intel compatible GNU/Linux
Use: Multimedia Content Creator
License: Proprietary
Website:'s Flash page

Adobe Flash, or simply Flash, refers to both the Adobe Flash Player, and to the Adobe Flash Professional multimedia authoring program. Adobe Flash Professional 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). The Flash Player, developed and distributed by Adobe Systems (which acquired Macromedia in 2005 in a merger that was finalized in December 2006), is a client application available in most common web browsers. It features support for vector and raster graphics, a scripting language called ActionScript and bi-directional streaming of audio and video. There are also versions of the Flash Player for mobile phones and other non-PC devices.

Strictly speaking, Adobe Flash Professional is an integrated development environment (IDE) while Flash Player is a virtual machine used to run, or parse, the Flash files. But in contemporary colloquial terms "Flash" can refer to the authoring environment, the player, or the application files.

Since its introduction in 1996, Flash technology has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages; several software products, systems, and devices are able to create or display Flash. Flash is commonly used to create animation, advertisements, various web-page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to develop rich Internet applications.

The Flash files, traditionally called "Flash movies" or "Flash games", 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 Windows. Flash Video files have a .FLV file extension and are utilized from within .swf files.


[edit] History

The origins of Flash start with the chain of thought that started with some ideas that Jonathan Gay had at school, then college and later working for Silicon Beach Software and its successors.[1] This started in the 1980s. In January of 1993, Charlie Jackson, Jonathan Gay, and Michelle Welsh started a small software company called FutureWave and created their first product SmartSketch. A drawing application, SmartSketch was designed to make creating computer graphics as simple as drawing on paper. Although SmartSketch was an innovative drawing application, it didn't gain enough of a foothold in its market. As the Internet began to thrive, FutureWave began to realize the potential for a vector-based web animation tool that might easily challenge Macromedia's often slow-to-download Shockwave technology. In 1995, FutureWave modified SmartSketch by adding frame-by-frame animation features and re-released it as FutureSplash Animator on Macintosh and PC. By that time, the company had added a second programmer Robert Tatsumi, an artist Adam Grofcsik, and a PR specialist Ralph Mittman. The product was offered to Adobe and used by Microsoft in its early (MSN) work with the Internet. In December 1996, Macromedia acquired the vector-based animation software and later released it as Flash 1.0.

  • Macromedia Flash 2 (1997) Features: Support of stereo sound, enhanced bitmap integration, buttons, the Library, and the capability to tween color changes.
  • Macromedia Flash 3 (1998) Features: Brought improvements to animation, playback, and publishing, as well as the introduction of simple script commands for interactivity. Macromedia ships its 100,000th Flash product this year, as well.
  • Macromedia Flash 4 (1999) Features: Achieved 100 million installations of the Flash Player, thanks in part to its inclusion with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5. Flash 4 saw the introduction of streaming MP3s and the Motion Tween. Initially, the Flash Player plug-in was not bundled with popular web browsers and users had to visit Macromedia website to download it, but as of year 2000, the Flash Player was already being distributed with all AOL, Netscape and Internet Explorer browsers. Two years later it shipped with all releases of Windows XP. The install-base of the Flash Player reached 92% of all Internet users.
  • Macromedia Flash 5 (2000) Features: Flash 5 was a major leap forward in capability, with the evolution of Flash's scripting capabilities as released as ActionScript. Flash 5 also saw the ability to customize the authoring environment's interface.
  • Macromedia Generator was the first initiative from Macromedia to separate design from content in Flash files. Generator 2.0 was released in April 2000 and featured real-time server-side generation of Flash content in its Enterprise Edition. Generator was discontinued in 2002 in favor of new technologies such as Flash Remoting, which allows for seamless transmission of data between the server and the client, and ColdFusion Server.
  • In October 2000, usability guru Jakob Nielsen wrote a polemic article regarding usability of Flash content entitled "Flash 99% Bad". (Macromedia later hired Nielsen to help them improve Flash usability.)
  • In September 2001, a survey made for Macromedia by Media Metrix showed that out of the 10 biggest websites in the United States, 7 were making use of Flash content.[citation needed]
  • On March 15, 2002, Macromedia announced the availability of Macromedia Flash MX and Macromedia Flash Player 6, with support for video, application components, shared libraries, and accessibility.
  • Flash Communication Server MX, also released in 2002, allowed video to be streamed to Flash Player 6 (otherwise the video could be embedded into the Flash movie).
  • Flash MX 2004 was released in September 2003, with features such as faster runtime performance up to 8 times with the enhanced compiler and the new Macromedia Flash Player 7, ability to create charts, graphs and additional text effects with the new support for extensions (sold separately), high fidelity import of PDF and Adobe Illustrator 10 files, mobile and device development and a forms-based development environment. ActionScript 2.0 was also introduced, giving developers a formal Object-Oriented approach to ActionScript. V2 Components replaced Flash MX's components, being rewritten from the ground up to take advantage of ActionScript 2.0 and Object-Oriented principles. Flash MX 2004 was the first release of Flash to be segmented into "Basic" and "Professional" versions. The Basic version was targeted at traditional Flash animators while the Professional version brought more advanced capabilities that developers would use, for example the data components.
  • In 2004, the "Flash Platform" was introducted. This expanded Flash to more than the Flash authoring tool. Flex 1.0 and Breeze 1.0 were released, both of which utilized the Flash Player as a delivery method but relied on tools other than the Flash authoring program to create Flash applications and presentations. Flash Lite 1.1 was also released, enabling mobile phones to play Flash content.
  • Macromedia released Flash 8 in 2005, touted by Macromedia as the most significant upgrade to Flash since Flash 5. New features included filter effects and blending modes, bitmap caching, a new video codec called On2 VP6, an enhanced type rendering engine called FlashType, an emulator for mobile devices, and several enhancements to the ActionScript 2.0 spec, such as the BitmapData class, several geometric classes, and the ConvolutionFilter and DisplacmentMapFilter classes.
  • Flash Lite 2 was also released in 2005, which brought its capabilities in line with Flash Player 7.
  • On December 3, 2005, Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia and its product portfolio (including Flash).[2]
  • Flash Player 9 was released for Windows and Mac OS in 2006, which marked the first time a Flash Player major release occurred without a simultaneous Flash authoring program major release. Flex 2.0 was released in conjunction with Flash Player 9, and the player will be continued when Flash Authoring 9 is released in 2007. For the first time in the history of Flash, the Flash Player will have had an opportunity to become widely installed before the release of the equivalent Flash program.
  • Flash Player 9 was released for Linux in January 2007.[3]
  • Flash CS3, originated from Flash 8 with several updates for integrating into other Adobe products, is released as a bundled software of the Adobe Creative Suite 3.

[edit] Programming language

Creating ActionScript 2.0 in Macromedia Flash MX Professional 2004 for Mac OS X 10.4. The code creates a simple bouncing ball that can be picked up and released.
Creating ActionScript 2.0 in Macromedia Flash MX Professional 2004 for Mac OS X 10.4. The code creates a simple bouncing ball that can be picked up and released.
Main article: ActionScript

Initially focused on animation, early versions of Flash content offered few interactivity features and thus had very limited scripting capability.

More recent versions include ActionScript, a scripting language which has syntax similar to JavaScript and so supporting JSON syntax (a variation on ECMA), but a much different programming framework and set of class libraries. ActionScript is used to create almost all of the interactivity (buttons, text entry fields, pick lists) seen in many Flash applications. Actionscript has many advantages over other programming languages because it is object oriented.

New versions of the Flash Player and authoring tool have striven to improve on scripting capabilities. Flash MX 2004 introduced ActionScript 2.0, a scripting programming language more suited to the development of Flash applications. As seen in the image to the right, it's often possible to save a lot of time by scripting something rather than animating it, which usually also retains a higher level of editability.

Of late, the Flash libraries are being used with the XML capabilities of the browser to render rich content in the browser. Since Flash provides more comprehensive support for vector graphics than the browser and because it provides a scripting language geared towards interactive animations, it is being considered a viable addition to the capabilities of a browser. This technology, which is currently in its nascent stage, is known as Asynchronous Flash and XML, much like AJAX, but with possibly greater potential.

[edit] Content protection

Many times, Flash authors will decide that while they desire the advantages that Flash affords them in the areas of animation and interactivity, they do not wish to expose their images and/or code to the world. However, once an .swf file is saved locally, it may then quite easily be decompiled into its source code and assets. Some decompilers are capable of nearly full reconstruction of the original source file, down to the actual code that was used during creation.

In opposition to the decompilers, SWF obfuscators have been introduced to provide a modicum of security, some produced by decompiler authors themselves. The higher-quality obfuscators use traps for the decompilers, making some fail, but none have definitively been shown to protect all content.

[edit] Competition

[edit] Format and plug-in

Compared to other plug-ins such as Java, Acrobat Reader, QuickTime or Windows Media Player, the Flash Player has a small install size, quick download time, and fast initialization time. However, care must be taken to detect and embed the Flash Player in (X)HTML in a W3C compliant way. A simple and widely used workaround is provided below:

<object data="movie.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="500">
    <param name="movie" value="movie.swf"/>

More Information on how to detect and embed Flash Objects in a W3C compliant way is provided in the xSWF description. SMIL is a W3C Recommendation that provides some of the same capabilities as Flash.

The use of vector graphics combined with program code allows Flash files to be smaller, or streams to use less bandwidth, than the corresponding bitmaps or video clips. For content in a single format (such as just text, video or audio) other alternatives may provide better performance and consume less CPU power than the corresponding Flash movie, for example when using transparency or making large screen updates such as photographic or text fades.

In addition to a vector-rendering engine, the Flash Player includes a virtual machine called the ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM) for scripting interactivity at run-time, support for video, MP3-based audio, and bitmap graphics. As of Flash Player 8, it offers two video codecs: On2 Technologies VP6 and Sorenson Spark, and run-time support for JPEG, Progressive JPEG, PNG, and GIF. In the next version, Flash is slated to use a just-in-time compiler for the ActionScript engine.

Flash as a format has become very widespread on the desktop market. According to a NPD study, 98% of US Web users have the Flash Player installed,[4] with 45%-56%[5] (depending on region) having the latest version. Numbers vary depending on the detection scheme and research demographics.

Flash players exist for a wide variety of different systems and devices. Flash content can run consistently on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux (Macromedia has created or licensed players for the following operating systems: Windows, Mac OS 9/X, Solaris, HP-UX, Pocket PC, OS/2, QNX, Symbian, Palm OS, BeOS, and IRIX). See also Macromedia Flash Lite for Flash compatibility on other devices.

Adobe offers the specifications of the Flash file format (excluding specifications of related formats such as AMF) to developers who agree to a license agreement that permits them to use the specifications only to develop programs that can export to the Flash file format. The license forbids the use of the specifications to create programs that can be used for playback of Flash files.

Since Flash files do not depend on a truly open standard such as SVG, this reduces the incentive for non-commercial software to support the format, although there are several third party tools which use and generate the SWF file format and a large and vibrant open source community. Apparently, the Flash Player cannot ship as part of a pure open source, or completely free operating system, as its distribution is bound to the Macromedia Licensing Program and subject to approval.

[edit] Free software alternatives

There is, as of late 2006, no complete free software replacement which offers all the functionality of the latest version of Adobe Flash. Gnash, based on GameSWF, is a Flash player replacement that is under development and has the support of Free Software Foundation (FSF). Gnash supports Flash 7 and below, but not files that require version 8 or 9 features.

A full end-to-end implementation of the W3C SVG specification would offer close competition for most of the features of Flash in an open, standard way. Adobe used to develop and distribute the 'Adobe SVG Viewer' client plug-in for MS Internet Explorer, but has recently announced its discontinuation.[6] It has been noted by industry commentators[2] that this is probably no coincidence at a time when Adobe have moved from competing with Macromedia's Flash, to owning the technology itself. Meanwhile, Opera has supported SVG since version 8,[7] and Firefox's built-in support for SVG continues to grow.[8]

[edit] Authoring

In October 1998, Macromedia disclosed the Flash Version 3 Specification to the world on its website. It did this in response to many new and often semi-open formats competing with SWF, such as Xara's Flare and Sharp's Extended Vector Animation formats. Several developers quickly created a C library for producing SWF. February 1999 saw the launch of MorphInk 99, the first third party program to create SWF files. Macromedia also hired Middlesoft to create a freely available developers' kit for the SWF file format versions 3 to 5.

Today, several open and free libraries and tool sets exist to generate and manipulate SWF files on many platforms. These include the Ming library, SWFTools, and the combination of swfmill and MTASC.

Macromedia has made the Flash Files specifications for versions 6 and later available only under a non-disclosure agreement, but it is widely available from various sites.

Many shareware developers produced Flash creation tools and sold them for under $50 USD between 2000 and 2002. In 2003 competition and the emergence of free Flash creation tools, most notably, had driven many third-party Flash-creation tool-makers out of the market, allowing the remaining developers to raise their prices, although many of the products still cost less than $100 USD and support ActionScript. As for open source tools, KToon can edit vectors and generate SWF, but its interface is very different from Macromedia's. Another, more recent example of a Flash creation tool is SWiSH Max made by an ex-employee of Macromedia. Toon Boom Technologies also sells traditional animation tool, based on Flash - Toon Boom Studio.

Adobe wrote a software package called Adobe LiveMotion, designed to create interactive animation content and export it to a variety of formats, including SWF. LiveMotion went through two major releases, but failed to gain any notable user base. Cartoon Man X Studios is one of the studios that uses this software.

In February 2003, Macromedia purchased Presedia, which had developed a Flash authoring tool that automatically converted PowerPoint Files into Flash. Macromedia subsequently released the new product as Breeze, which included many new enhancements. Since that time, Macromedia has seen competing PowerPoint-to-Flash authoring tools from PointeCast (not to be confused with PointCast) and PresentationPro among others. In addition, (as of version 2) Apple's Keynote presentation software also allows users to create interactive presentations and export to SWF.

In April of 2006, the Macromedia Flash SWF file format specification was released with details on the then newest version format (Flash 8). Although still lacking specific information on the incorporated video compression formats (On2, Sorenson Spark, etc.), this new documentation covers all the new features offered in Flash v8 including new ActionScript commands, expressive filter controls, and so on. The file format specification document is typically obtainable by subscribing to Macromedia's membership system and license restrictions (which include a prohibition against using these specifications to develop a free alternative).

[edit] Criticisms

Simple animation in Flash 6.0; a square moving across the screen in a motion tween, one of the basic functions of Flash.
Simple animation in Flash 6.0; a square moving across the screen in a motion tween, one of the basic functions of Flash.

[edit] Usage

Due to the increase in the use of Flash in aggressive—and even intrusive—online advertising, tools have emerged that restrict Flash content in some or all websites by temporarily or permanently turning Flash Player off depending on user requirements. Examples of such tools are Flashblock and Adblock Plus for the Mozilla Firefox browser, both of which are commonly used in conjunction with each other to allow users to control what Flash content they see.

It is also conceivable that aggressive Flash ads may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in terms of accessibility to those with ADHD. It could be argued that Flash ads unfairly target those with ADHD and may reduce the accessibility of the content, in that the viewer would be less able to comprehend a website than a person less prone to distractions. In an opinion by the Justice Department, the DOJ admonishes

"places of public accommodation to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities".


"Covered entities under the ADA are required to provide effective communication, regardless of whether they generally communicate through print media, audio media, or computerized media such as the Internet. Covered entities that use the Internet for communications regarding their programs, goods, or services must be prepared to offer those communications through accessible means as well."

Currently, businesses are able to sidestep this mandate to a great degree because the increased cost and complexity associated with providing content to sight-challenged viewers. However, the same argument cannot be made about those with ADHD, since the advertisers are actively interfering with an already accessible website.

Many websites rely on Flash being available by default on a user's web browser and will not check to see if it is available. If Flash is not used, users may be unable to access some Flash-dependent websites or site features. These sites sometimes depend on a fast internet connection, especially a highly complex website or one with music. While it is not impossible to see Flash-based sites with a slower form of internet, such as dial-up, or a slow form of DSL, it may be frustrating for the user. Blocking tools generally do alert the end user to the fact that Flash content is present on the site, allowing the user to view it if they wish.

Using Flash content stores the content of the web page in a binary file and the sections are not static like a web page. Thus, Flash-based content is not easily suitable for indexing by search engines. However, this problem can be alleviated with correct web design.

Like most new technologies that are easy to learn, Flash has often been misused in a way that lacks customer focus. Flash, particularly in its early days, was used to create unusable and inaccessible sites. In recent years the Flash usage has matured and the quality is much higher.

Flash is also popular for creating online games and shows (known as webisodes).

[edit] Local Shared Objects

Main article: Local Shared Object

Flash Players from version 6 can store and retrieve persistent data without offering any visible signs to the user—in a manner similar to that of cookies. It is possible to clear the temporary files that Flash stores on your computer either through the Flash website, or by clearing the files manually. The default storage location for LSOs is operating-system dependent. For Windows XP, the location is within each user's Application Data directory, under Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects. For Mac OS X the location is in each users Library directory under Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/#SharedObjects.

[edit] Application flaws

Specially crafted files have been shown to cause Flash applications to malfunction, by allowing the execution of malevolent code. The Flash Player has a long history of security flaws that expose computers to remote attacks. However, exploitation of these flaws has remained at the proof-of-concept stage and has not escalated into a real-world problem.

In addition to entries in the Open Source Vulnerability Database, security advisories published in August 2002, December 2002, and November 2005 highlight three examples of reports about various Flash Player versions that allowed remote code execution.

[edit] Accessibility issues

Internet users who are visually-impaired, and who may rely on a screen reader, braille display, or using larger text sizes and/or high-contrast color schemes may find sites that make extensive use of Flash difficult or impossible to use.[9] While later versions (Flash Player 6 and onwards) support accessibility functions, site designers may not necessarily design the Flash content with these considerations in mind.

[edit] Flash Player on various platforms

The Adobe Flash Player is mainly optimized for the Windows 32 bit platform. There is a 32 bit version for Mac OS X; under Linux, version 7 and version 9 are both available. Still other platforms such as Solaris, there are currently no later releases than version 7. Adobe has been criticized for neglecting to optimize its products on non-Microsoft platforms. This has led to poor web surfing performance on Macintosh and Linux computers, since many websites use Flash animations for menus and advertisements.[10][11]

Adobe has rewritten the bitmap drawing routines in Flash Player 8 for Mac, using OpenGL planes via Quartz to draw the surfaces. The new drawing code is reported to be actually faster than its Windows counterpart, where JPEG, TIFF or other bitmap images are composited into the animation.

Flash Player 7 for Linux had poor sound support (the sound could lag about a second behind the picture); this issue is reportedly resolved in Flash Player 9. Flash Player 8 was never released for Linux, Adobe stating they would skip that version and instead focus on preparing Flash Player 9. This decision led to disappointment in the Linux community, with some people feeling that Adobe had abandoned the Linux market. Flash Player 9 for Linux was released in January 2007, providing platform parity once again. Adobe have not yet released any of their development software for any UNIX-like operating system except Mac OS X.

Although Windows, Linux and Mac have extensive 64 bit support, Adobe has yet (as of April 2007) to release a Flash Player for the x86-64 architecture on any operating system. There were some reports from Adobe employees[citation needed] who said the Flash implementation is very 32-bit specific and porting to 64-bit systems would require a lot of effort. They also said that Adobe will release a 64-bit version as their market turns to 64-bit.

To date there is no Linux Flash Player available for non-x86 compatible processors (e.g. x86-64 native, PowerPC, ARM, etc.).

[edit] Market share

Adobe claims Flash reaches 97.3% of desktop Internet users.[4] Independent market share data is not available because the several companies who periodically gather browser usage data (see Usage share of web browsers) do not measure Flash penetration. Analyzing website logs, one developer in 2002 estimated 90% of Internet Explorer users and 71% of all users had Flash installed, though the latter figure included automated bots.[12]

[edit] Related file formats and extensions

[edit] Flash-specific file formats

[edit] Generic file formats used by Flash

Ext. Explanation
.swf .swf files are completed, compiled and published files that cannot be edited with Adobe Flash. However, many '.swf decompilers' do exist. Attempting to import .swf files using Flash allows it to retrieve some assets from the .swf, but not all.
.fla .fla files contain source material for the Flash application. Flash authoring software can edit FLA files and compile them into .swf files. Proprietary to Adobe, the FLA format in no sense counts as "open".
.as .as files contain ActionScript source code in simple source files. FLA files can also contain Actionscript code directly, but separate external .as files often emerge for structural reasons, or to expose the code to versioning applications. They sometimes use the extension .actionscript
.swd .swd files are temporary debugging files used during Flash development. Once finished developing a Flash project these files are not needed and can be removed.
.asc .asc files contain Server-Side ActionScript, which is used to develop efficient and flexible client-server Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX applications.
.flv .flv files are Flash video files, as created by Adobe Flash, ffmpeg, Sorenson Squeeze, or On2 Flix.
.swc .swc files are used for distributing components; they contain a compiled clip, the component's ActionScript class file, and other files that describe the component.
.jsfl .jsfl files are used to add functionality in the Flash Authoring environment; they contain Javascript code and access the Flash Javascript API.
.swt .swt files are 'templatized' forms of .swf files, used by Macromedia Generator
.flp .flp files are XML files used to reference all the document files contained in a Flash Project. Flash Projects allow the user to group multiple, related files together to assist in Flash project organization, compilation and build.
.spl .spl files are FutureSplash documents.
.aso .aso files are cache files used during Flash development, containing compiled ActionScript byte code. An ASO file is recreated when a change in its corresponding class files is detected. Occasionally the Flash IDE does not recognize that a recompile is necessary, and these cache files must be deleted manually. They are located in %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash8\en\Configuration\Classes\aso on Win32 / Flash8.
Ext. Explanation
.avi AVI file is a video file, standing for Audio Video Interleave. Flash includes several compression codecs, including some from Radius.
.gif A GIF image; either a single static frame or multi-frame animation.
.png A losslessly-compressed PNG image.
.jpg An image in the popular lossy, full-color JPEG image compression format.
.ssk .ssk files are Intergraph SmartSketch [3] 2D CAD drawings.
.3ds Some third-party software converts animated 3D file formats, notably the common 3D Studio Max format, to SWF files as rendered vector animations.

[edit] Product history (authoring tool)

  • FutureSplash Animator (Spring 10 April 1996) - initial version of Flash with basic editing tools and a timeline
  • Flash 1 (November 1996) - a Macromedia re-branded version of the FutureSplash Animator
  • Flash 2 (June 1997) - Released with Flash Player 2, new features included: the object library
  • Flash 3 (31 May 1998) - Released with Flash Player 3, new features included: the movieclip element, JavaScript plug-in integration, transparency and an external stand alone player
  • Flash 4 (15 June 1999) - Released with Flash Player 4, new features included: internal variables, an input field, advanced Actionscript, and streaming MP3
  • Flash 5 (24 August 2000) - Released with Flash Player 5, new features included: ActionScript 1.0 (based on ECMAScript, making it very similar to JavaScript in syntax), XML support, Smartclips (the precursor to components in Flash), HTML text formatting added for dynamic text
  • Flash MX (ver 6) (15 March 2002) - Released with Flash Player 6, new features included: a video codec (Sorenson Spark), Unicode, v1 UI Components, compression, ActionScript vector drawing API
  • Flash MX 2004 (ver 7) (9 September 2003) - Released with Flash Player 7, new features included: Actionscript 2.0 (which enabled an object-oriented programming model for Flash), behaviors, extensibility layer (JSAPI), alias text support, timeline effects
  • Flash MX Professional 2004 (ver 7) (9 September 2003) - Released with Flash Player 7, new features included all Flash MX 2004 features plus: Screens (forms for non-linear state-based development and slides for organizing content in a linear slide format like PowerPoint), web services integration, video import wizard, Media Playback components (which encapsulate a complete MP3 and/or FLV player in a component that may be placed in a SWF), Data components (DataSet, XMLConnector, WebServicesConnector, XUpdateResolver, etc) and data binding APIs, the Project Panel, v2 UI components, and Transition class libraries.
  • Flash Basic 8 (released on 13 September 2005) - A less feature-rich version of the Flash authoring tool targeted at new users who only want to do basic drawing, animation and interactivity. Released with Flash Player 8, this version of the product has limited support for video and advanced graphical and animation effects.
  • Flash Professional 8 (released on 13 September 2005) - Released with the Flash Player 8, Flash Professional 8 added features focused on expressiveness, quality, video, and mobile authoring. New features included Filters and blend modes, easing control for animation, enhanced stroke properties (caps and joins), object-based drawing mode, run-time bitmap caching, FlashType advanced anti-aliasing for text, On2 VP6 advanced video codec, support for alpha transparency in video, a stand-alone encoder and advanced video importer, cue point support in FLV files, an advanced video playback component, and an interactive mobile device emulator.
  • Flash CS3 Professional (Now Released)

Adobe Link Reasons to upgrade

   * Adobe Photoshop® and Illustrator® import
   * Animation conversion to ActionScript™
   * Adobe interface
   * ActionScript 3.0 development
   * Advanced debugger
   * Adobe Device Central CS3
   * Rich drawing capabilities
   * User interface components
   * Advanced QuickTime export
   * Sophisticated video tools
   * Timesaving coding tools


[edit] Future developments

Adobe Labs (Previously Macromedia labs) is a source for early looks at emerging products and technologies from Adobe-Macromedia, including downloads of the latest software and plugins. Flash 9, Flex 2, and ActionScript 3.0 are discussed.

The important new development in Flash is its increasing use in providing the presentation layer in handheld devices. Adobe is aggressively courting cell phone and PDA vendors, and partnering to deploy Flash Lite as the user interface.

The code name for the next release of the Flash authoring tool, ver 9.0, is "BLAZE" as explained in this post in Flash Product Manager Mike Downey's weblog. This next release is expected to focus on designer/developer workflow and integration with other Adobe Systems creative suite products. The new version of Flash will be known as Adobe Flash after the recent acquisition of Macromedia.

A project currently in development at Adobe Labs is the Apollo Project[4] which is a cross-OS runtime that allows developers to reuse their existing web development skills (Flash, Flex, HTML, Ajax) to build and deploy desktop Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). While features of Apollo are still being fully defined, the project aims to be made available in public beta form in early 2007, with final release planned for later that year.

[edit] Icons

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links