Adobe Flash Player
Adobe Flash Player (labeled Shockwave Flash in Internet Explorer and Firefox) is freeware software for viewing multimedia, executing rich Internet applications, and streaming video and audio, content created on the Adobe Flash platform. Flash Player can run from a web browser as a browser plug-in or on supported mobile devices.
Flash Player has a wide user base, with over 90% penetration on internet connected personal computers, and is a common format for games, animations, and GUIs embedded into web pages. Adobe Systems, the developer of Adobe Flash Player, states that more than 400 million of total more than 1 billion connected desktops update to the new version of Flash Player within six weeks of release.
Flash Player can be downloaded for free and its plug-in version is available for recent versions of web browsers (such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari) on selected platforms. Google Chrome distribution comes bundled with the sandboxed Adobe Flash plug-in and will continue to support the plug-in in Windows 8 Metro mode. Each version of Adobe Flash Player is backwards-compatible.
Adobe Flash Player is software used to stream and view video, audio and multimedia and Rich Internet Applications (RIA) on a computer or supported mobile device.
Adobe Flash Player is software used to stream and view video, audio and multimedia and Rich Internet Applications (RIA) on a computer or supported mobile device. Flash Player was originally created by Macromedia, but is now developed and distributed by Adobe Systems Inc.
The latest version of Adobe Flash Player is available for major desktop platforms, including Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X. The Flash Player plugin can be downloaded for free on recent versions of Web browsers on the aforementioned platforms. Each version of the plugin, whether for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Chrome or Safari, is backward compatible.
Flash Player runs SWF files, an Adobe Flash file format for displaying "animated" vector graphics on the Web. SWF file formats allow audio, video and several other possible forms of interaction with the end user. Once files are created, they can be played by the Adobe Flash Player, working either as a browser plugin or as a standalone player.
There are a number of mobile operating systems that support Flash Player usage as a standalone application or within an Internet browser. Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry Tablet OS are among devices that support Flash Player as a standalone application, while operating systems on Maemo, PS3, Pocket PCs and Windows Mobile support usage within an Internet browser.
Flash Player supports several data formats, including XML, JSON, AMF and SWF. Multimedia formats supported by the Adobe Flash Player include mp3, FLV, PNG, JPEG, GIF and RTMP, among others.
The newest version of Adobe Flash Player enables greater security and privacy controls with protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS). Other features include webcam support, accelerated graphics rendering, multi threaded video decoding and improved software encoding for cameras. Versions of Adobe Flash Player can be downloaded for free on Adobe's website and often download automatically on one's Web browser upon release.
Question: What is 'Flash'? Is that the same as 'Adobe Flash'?
Answer: Flash was formerly called "Macromedia Flash", but is now relabeled as "Adobe Flash" since Adobe purchased Macromedia software in 2005.
Flash is streaming animation for web pages.Sometimes Flash is a portion of an html web page, and sometimes a web page is made entirely of Flash. Either way, Flash files are called "Flash movies". These are special .swf format files that beam to your web browser screen as you watch them.
Flash requires a special free plugin (modification) to your browser before you can view Flash movies.
Flash movies offer two very special web browsing experiences: very fast loading, and vector animation with interactivity:
Flash benefit #1: very fast loading to your screen
Unlike file attachments in email, which you must wait to fully download before viewing, Flash movies start playing as the content is transmitted to you. While the Flash movie may be 6 megabytes large, you can start to watch the animation within moments, while the rest "streams" to your screen in the background. This makes Flash very desirable for web publishers, as it opens creative doors for them to make very powerful animations for their readers.
Flash benefit #2: vector graphic animation
"Vector graphics" are different from "raster graphics" (jpg, gif, png, bmp graphics). Vector graphics use math formulas to draw animation shapes, while raster graphics save millions of tiny colored dots to draw photos. This difference allows vector graphics to be very small file size, and very crisp at any resized format. For these two benefits, Flash designers use vector graphics to make powerful web page visuals that load to your screen very quickly and crisply.
There are three downsides to Flash animation:
Downside #1: Some organizations block Flash movies from being received through the Internet. While this is partly motivated by fears of Flash viruses and Flash hackers, the greater motivation is disciplining staff. Many managers of private companies do not want their employees playing Flash games at their office computers, so they will ban Flash movies at work through technical blockers on the network. Do not be surprised if your employer chooses to implement a ban of Flash at your office.
Downside #2: Not everyone has the required Flash Player plugin. Because they do not like "blinking things" on their screens, some users choose to disable or not install Flash Player.
Downside #3: Flash .swf movies can be very time consuming to edit. It is very laborious work to change a Flash web page quickly. For this reason, you will almost never see a dynamic content page like a news site utilizing Flash for its rapidly-changing content. Instead, Flash is used more for decorative purposes, and for advertising and online gaming purposes.