What is Flash anyway?Flash has quickly become an accepted 'plug-in' for Internet surfers, with some major web sites using the application to create interactive features (Fox.com, CNN.com, Disney.com, Coke.com just to name a few). According to Macromedia, Flash 3 players are installed in over 96% of browsers, Flash 4 in over 92%, and Flash 5 in over 60% (as of March 2001). The latest version allows for a lot more interesting and interactive features to be created, original ideas to come to life, with the required plug-in to be downloaded in under a minute on a common telephone modem. For example if you are to go on to the coke.com web site there is an intro to the site which uses music from their commercials, creative animation and interactive buttons that are constantly moving - all which intrigue the user that has come to the site and will hopefully have them wanting to enter the site and learn more about the organization.
How Did Flash Evolve?There is a constant debate among the designer community over which form a web site should take. Some are loyal to HTML by holding firm to faith in textual, business-based notion of the Web; while others believe in 'cutting edge technology' and an expression based idea of the Web. A few years ago with Flash version 3 designers started creating short multimedia introductions to company sites and this eventually lead to full-fledged web sites being designed with the application. One excellent feature that caught the attention of many was the fact that sites could be scalable at any resolution and watched identically on either of the popular Netscape or Internet Explorer browsers. At the same time one negative aspect that many users would become frustrated with was the fact that the plug-in would need to be downloaded from the site, only to be done once, but would delay the web site from starting the Flash file. However, in the latest versions of the browsers they are included in downloads and the Flash plug-in installs automatically, that way the user can view Flash files quite easily.
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