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INTRODUCTION > What Makes Flash a Special Web-Design Tool?

What Makes Flash a Special Web-Design Tool?

Flash satisfies designers’ cravings for more graphics and more control over those graphics by providing a way to deliver vector images over the Web. Vector images keep file sizes down, and they are scaleable, which means that you can maintain control of what a Web site looks like when your viewer resizes the browser window, for example, making the whole thing stay in proportion as the window grows or shrinks. In addition, Flash provides streaming capability. Streaming allows some elements to display immediately upon download while more information continues to arrive over the Internet.

Animation in Flash is not limited to cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny and The Simpsons. Flash animations also encompass navigation elements, such as buttons and menus. And Flash doesn’t limit you to creating animation only for the Web. You can license Flash Player and distribute Flash movies on CD-ROM. You can create stand-alone projectors and distribute them via e-mail or on disk. You can export Flash to other formats, such as QuickTime or Windows .AVI movies. But Web-site creation and enhancement is Flash’s primary focus.

Although this book can’t teach you to create a complete user interface for your Web site, what it will teach you about using Flash to create graphics, animation, and interactivity will go a long way toward helping you develop expressive, creative, exciting Web sites. Whether you need a ban er ad that grabs the viewer’s attention, a button for moving around within your site or linking to other URLs, or a fun animated cartoon, this book wil get you started quickly, helping you use Flash’s tools to add activity and interactivity to your Web site.

What Is Streaming?

Most viewers lack the patience to wait for an entire site to download, especially one that has big bitmaps or sounds. Flash streams the content of your Web site over the Internet. Streaming means that once some of the vector art of your site has downloaded, Flash can display it while the rest of your data continues to download. As Flash plays the first frames of your movie, subsequent frames keep coming into your viewer’s computer, and Flash feeds them out at the specified frame rate. If you plan your movie right, the frames coming in never catch up to the frames being displayed, and your viewer sees only a continuous flow of images.


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