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Flash

Flash is quickly becoming the standard for Web animation, and with good reason: Macromedia’s Flash technology produces high-quality, animated images—known as Flash movies—at a relatively small file size. Its drawings and animations are vector graphics, which means that they use mathematical formulas to describe objects on the screen. By contrast, bitmap technology like GIF and JPEG include data for every pixel of an image, gobbling up precious bytes and adding download time. Flash’s vector graphics, on the other hand, save file size with their compact mathematical expressions.

Flash can also handle MP3 audio and advanced programming features, providing an added dimension of sound and interactivity that can make a plain HTML page look dull by comparison. For example, advanced Flash gurus can build automatic score tracking into an online game or add a cannon-firing animation each time the player clicks the mouse. While Dynamic HTML (see Chapter 12) can do some of these things, Flash movies are easier to create. An intriguing advantage of Flash movies is that they look and work exactly the same on every browser, whether on Windows or Mac. (Don’t try that with HTML.)


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