Flash and SWF, a Web platform
The flash plugin is installed on the browser of most Net surfers, and it allows to view a video thanks to a script of video player inserted in the page.
In fact we could have a complete Web application interface with this format that is competing with Silverlight, JavaFX and Canvas or SVG. And it is also a game platform.
About the origin of the name, it was first called FutureSplash Animator and the word Flash is the compression of Future and Splash.
The future of Flash seems to appear rather as a platform for mobile applications, with Adobe Air as the development tool. Indeed, Adobe announced November 8, 2011 she gave up any development of Flash on mobile browsers, and replace it with HTML 5. But it will continue to support the Flash Player on desktop browsers.
On November 17, was announced that the Flex development tool for Flash applications was donated to the Apache Foundation.
What is Flash?
The system consists of the following:
- A source in ActionScript languagen in a file with the .fla extension.
- A graphical format.
- A compiler producing a binary file with .swf extension that includes bitmap or vector graphics and code.
- An runtime integrated to the player.
- A plugin for the browser that runs the SWF files, the Flash Player.
To make a flash animation, you need takes at least a code editor, a graphics editor and a compiler (see below).
AIR, Adobe Integrated Runtime is a runtime environment for rich web applications for which Adobe provides a runtime and a development kit for free. It is a virtual machine like that of .NET or Java.
AIR applications run online or locally. In the second case they have access to the file system.
The online applications require the installation of the runtime on the local computer.
SWF stands for ShockWave Flash, and it is the binary file format implemented by the Flash browser plugin. This format has been open since May 2008. To be pronounced "swiff".
SWF format is the most widely used for interactive animations on the Web.
The format has been created by the FutureWave Software company in 1993 for the FutureSplash Animator software, that was sold in 1996 to Macromedia (which renamed it Flash 1.0), which in turn was acquired by Adobe in 2005.
With the Flash plugin in the browser you can:
- Show interactive animations.
- Play video or music (see player below).
- Communicate with server scripts and files.
- Communicate with a database on the server.
- Exchange data between different websites.
- Run a web application with a graphical interface.
Flash games and how to make them
Flash is a mean to recycle old PC games as Arkanoid and space battles, including also the venerable Prince of Persia that is available online on sites linked below.
To make software in Flash, you have to acquire an integrated development provided on the Adobe website or an alternative editor.
Reading some tutorials on game design in Flash will be indispensable.
- Tutorialized. List of tutorials on Flash games.
- Electrotank. Using the mouse, collision and other bases for achieving games.
- Tiles. Flash games based on tiles.
To get an idea of what happened in the domain, a visit of some specialized sites will be profitable too...
Examples of flash games to try online without registration...
- Stunt bike. Turning obstacles with a motorcycle.
- Battlefield assault. Shoot a moving target.
- Flash Game.
- Flash Games 247. The archives contain a SWF file to execute with a browser.
It is possible to export graphics to the SWF format with LibreOffice Impress.
- Download the Flash Player. Or the last version of LibreOffice.
- AIR SDK. The programming tool.
- Swiffy, by Google, convert on line SWF files into HTML 5.
- Music player with sources.