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Published by shreejha

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: shreejha on Aug 21, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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HTML is ideal for creating static websites where text and images are placed at fixedpositions.But it doesn't really support dynamic sites, where text, images, and animations aremoving around on the screen.Traditionally, these effects were achieved with animated GIF images or java applets.Before we move on to concrete examples of Flash movies, we will compare Flash toboth animated GIFs and java applets.
An animated GIF is actually many images saved in one.When the animated GIF is loaded onto a webpage, the browser simply loops theimages. This means, if you make an animation of a clown that moves his hand upand down in 25 small movements, then the animated area of the image is saved 25times. So it doesn't take a lot of animation to create a GIF image that's remarkablebigger than a regular clown image.Therefore, even small animations take forever to load.While animated GIFs can be used for animations, they do not support interactivity.They simply loop images in a predefined order and that's it.In Flash, you can control the animations. For example, you can make the animationstop and wait for the user to click a button. And when the animation starts again itcan be dependant on which button was clicked.A final obvious difference is that GIF images are limited to a 256 color palette.So compared to animated GIFs, the advantages of Flash are that:
Flash movies load much faster.
Flash movies allow interactivity.
Flash movies can use more than 256 colors.
Aside from animated GIFs, another approach has been used to add dynamic effectsto web pages: java applets.One of the most famous is thelake applet.Unfortunately, java (the programming language for applets) requires programmingskills. This means that you can't just start creating your own applets.Therefore, some programmers have created free applets that allow customization. Soinstead of learning the programming, people can simply use the already programmedapplets.Again, the lake applet is a good example. It makes a wave effect on any image of any size. But if you wanted to add anything else to the applet you would have toeither program it yourself or find a free applet that actually did what you wanted.Flash movies are in many ways similar to java applets. Small programs that can beembedded into your HTML pages. But unlike java applets, it is fairly easy to createanimations in Flash without programming skills.Applets have often be criticized for "killing" browsers.Sometimes, java programmers are not as skillfull as one might have wished. Someapplets are programmed so they eventually take up all resources on the computer,and this results in "freezing" the browser.So compared to java applets, the advantage of Flash is:
Flash movies are easier to create than java applets.
Flash movies are more stable in web browsers than java applets.Note: While Flash has these advantages over applets, there is more to the story.There are things that you can program in java that just can't be done with Flash. Butsince the focus here is Flash we will not go into the details.
On the next page we will look at a few examples of Flash...
If you're completely new to Flash, you should try clicking some of these links to seeexamples of what can be made.Note: Each link will open in a new window, but since some of the pages take a whileto load you should probably just open one link at a time.
EYE4U.COM(Full screen animation)This site has several examples of what can be made with Flash. The intro isparticulary interesting.
EMPIRE-US.COM(3D effects)This site is an example of mixing Flash with normal HTML. Also, it is anextremely good example of how 3D effects can be created with Flash.
BEATSTREAM.COM(User Interface)This site has an extremely interesting user interface. Click an option and seethe screen dance!
ALMOs FLASH 3 TUTORIAL(Speed)This site loads extremely fast. In a split second you have full screenanimations running in your browser. An example of what can be achieved withFlash if heavy sound modules are left out.If you want to see other examples of outstanding pages made with Flash you cancheck out theMacromedia Site Of The Day Archive.If you still want to develop your own Flash movies after seeing these examples (andwe believe you do!), jump to the next page to read about what is needed before youstart.

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