Utilizing Flash

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Developing websites involves a knowledge of programs and languages ​​that can be involved, complex, and not all that entertaining. But sometimes a program comes along that's just as fun as it functional.

Flash is that type of program.

Flash allows a person to make many different types of applications, from websites to games, with a small learning curve.

Flash is first and foremost animation software. Used in conjunction with vector design programs and other graphic programs, flash animations are found throughout the World Wide Web.

The program utilizes several tools, including a timeline to create animations. The timeline is the most important tool of all as it's what makes an animation an animation. The canvas is the next most important as that's where the animation will be designed.

The animation runs only as many frames as the person who's creating it designates on the timeline. The framerate can be determined and manipulated by the animator for faster animation or slower animation. For instance, if I wanted a ball to move across the canvas and my frame rate was 16 frames per second. Then if I animated the ball over 16 frames it would take one second for the ball to reach the other side.

Confusing maybe at first, but once a person starts it becomes second nature relatively quickly. What becomes difficult is the coding process.

Remember the ball moving across the page, sometimes if a person mousse over the ball, it stops and changes colors. A person can not simply design that on the canvas and hope it works, they need coding that will recognize when that situation occurs.

Flash coding is called ActionScript. It's not too dissimilar from other coding languages ​​and can be picked up rather easily. It, like other languages, is strict and even the smallest error (such as forgetting a period) will force the script to fail to run.

The scripting is the largest component when setting up flash to be a website on the internet. Flash is easily integrated into HTML sites and HTML is easily integrated into flash, they work together pretty well. Many websites designed in flash will have multiple mouse-over events, mouse-click events, and mouse-unclick events. Those events, in addition to complex (and high quality) animations are what make flash sites so intriguing.

However in order to view Flash a person must download the flash player onto their PC. The download is short and that's what makes it a first-choice over competitors such as quicktime, Acrobat Reader, and Java.

Fortunately, a savvy programmer will know how to work around the problem of a Flash component being unable to load because the person does not have the player. There's not enough space to describe the process here, but a quick search will yield necessary results.

Knowledge of HTML and CSS for basic websites will help very much when making a site with Flash. Although, it's entirely possible to build one without HTML and simply use Flash and its actionscript language. This method is not recommended and roadblocks will cause frustration for programmers and users alike.

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