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Introduction

Introduction

Back when the Web was emerging from its academic cocoon and spreading its wings into the consciousness of the wide world, the Internet was drab. Any splash of color, any graphic image was a refreshing oasis in a vast desert of text against plain gray backgrounds. As the Web grew and its focus shifted, Web sites became vehicles for personal expression, for instruction, for commerce. Web designers longed to expand the graphic content of their sites. Many designers simply forged ahead, adding bitmaps with abandon. Unfortunately, in the process, these designers abandoned their viewers to endless waiting.

Although the bitmap formats that are standard for Web graphics—JPEG, GIF, and PNG—provide compression to make the images as small and fast to download as possible, download times for sites containing lots of images can slow to an audience-losing crawl. Web designers craved a better, more efficient way to send graphics over the Internet. Macromedia Flash provides that efficiency.

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