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Flash Introduction

Macromedia's popular application Flash has redefined the way web developers approach web design. With flash the web developer is now able to create a user experience that is rich in media and relatively quick loading, especially compared to traditional methods like GIF animations. Websites made up of music, videos, and custom, graphic intensive interfaces are all possible with Macromedia Flash.

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Flash Uses

In flash you can create unique text, animations, movies, web applications, games and more. Although flash is somewhat more complex than traditional web development technologies like HTML and CSS, this tutorial will give you the basics you need to immediately get started with designing your own flash projects.

Flash Pros

With flash you can entertain your users like never before. Your web site can transform from a bland text based web site into a graphical playground. Many companies that are based primarily on image and appearance have flash web sites to help show their company in the best light.

Flash Cons

If you are designing a site that you want to rank well in search engines, chances are a pure flash design will not be beneficial to you. Although search engines are getting better all the time, they still have trouble spidering and gathering information from flash sites. This difficulty usually results in flash pages performing below that of normal text based HTML web sites.

Not everyone has the Macromedia Flash player installed, so it is a possibility that you will alienate some of your potential audience if you go with a pure flash design. Often web developers will create two sites: flash and normal HTML to prevent losing any visitors.

Flash can also be very computationally intensive making animations and videos look great on your top of the line computer, but visitors with older technology may only see a choppy, slugglish slideshow that leaves them with a bad feeling.

Need to Know

Basic knowledge of HTML will be beneficial to you for following this tutorial. If you would like to review HTML check out our HTML Tutorial.

Knowledge of graphics programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will make creating graphics in flash much easier, but this experience is not required. Also, if you have used WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors like FrontPage and DreamWeaver, then flash will be much easier to learn.

This tutorial was written using Macromedia Flash 8, but if you have an earlier version of Flash you should still be able to follow along the tutorial without a problem.

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