The Flash technology allows you to create entire websites, animations and separate navigation items. It can be used in various parts of your design. Although the Flash vector images are compact and files are compressed when published, it may take some time to load. Therefore, minimizing the size of your Flash videos will significantly reduce the loading time for your website. It depends on the images used in your Flash web site, but basically the vector objects are loading faster than the raster graphics.
Flash is mainly used to create vector graphics-based animation programs with full-screen navigation interfaces, graphic illustrations and simple interactivity in a file format that is small enough to stream across a normal modem connection.
The Flash code is more secure that the HTML one, since it is compiled in SWF files and can not be listed in the browser.
The Flash software allows faster and easier to create web sites with a higher level of interaction than the combination of HTML and AJAX for example. The Flash web sites are non-browser dependable and they will look the same on all the browsers. Also, Flash movies can be easily embedded in your web site code.
How does Flash work
If you were to plot a bitmap on a grid, each pixel is detailed. Essentially, this is what your computer does when it displays bitmaps.
Vector images do not plot images on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Vector files contain a description of the images expressed mathematically. The file tells the computer about the image and the computer draws it.
Formats and Support
Macromedia/Adobe has released the specifications of the Flash file format (excluding specifications of related formats such as AMF). Macromedia/Adobe retains control of the format. Since Flash files do not depend on a truly open standard this reduces the incentive for non-commercial software to support the format. Still, there are several third party tools which utilize and generate the SWF file format.
In addition to a vector rendering engine the Flash Player includes a virtual machine called the ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM). It is used for scripting interactivity at run-time. It also provides support for video, mp3-based audio and bitmap graphics.
The Flash technology is largely supported on all platforms - Windows, MacOs and Linux based. In order to play Flash movies you will need just a free Flash player which has very low minimal system requirements - at least 128MB of RAM and Intel® Pentium® II 450MHz or better.
When creating / editing Flash movies and sites you will need a more powerful computer though. One of the benefits of Swish in comparison to its alternatives is that it has the lowest requirements which are:
* Windows 2000/XP/VISTA
* 1024 x 768, 16-bit display (32-bit recommended)
** SWiSH miniMax2 requires the latest Adobe Flash Player installed on your system for internal preview.