It first must be born in mind that Adobe is the only legitimate holder of Flash technology. It should be noted here that one should avoid confusion in making reference specifically to the words “Flash technology”, as one easily could be referring to flash, or thumb drives, or other memory technology.
Flash technology is the use of vector graphics to create animation and interactive features on the web. As one may expect with other software products, there have been many versions, but we will quickly look at the latest, version 9.
While the original thrust of Flash was in games and advertising – still very major, it is used in any situation where animation and interaction is required, such as in educational settings. Gone are the days when students have to be presented static material – just a still image and text. They now can see how cells multiply, chemical reactions, the development of mathematical equations, the unfolding of a verb conjugation, and any situation where animation can assist in learning. Particularly use is the rendition of symbols, as in chemistry and mathematics. Any situation requiring an animated graphic, Flash can oblige. Students can collaborate on on projects through Flash’s communication features. Teachers and students can interact in the learning process. The now classic Sesame Street used Flash technology not only teach kids but have them interact as though they were on site and facing a learning situation with teachers and other students. Smartphones, where a user can get updates and send messages on the fly use Flash technology. Of course, there are the games. However, there is the more serious world of modeling and simulation. Here, simulated societies, such as Second Reality, Human Version 2, and Second Life that simulate real world situations, albeit with some fantasy thrown in. In even a more serious vein, war gamers in various countries are constantly looking for ways to present scenarios which can be analyzed for optimum battle strategies. So, it appears that there is a bright future for Flash technology and its successors.
Even in the arena of television, where a person used to sit passively watching shows, Flash technology has been taking more of a part in allowing a viewer to interact. The main feature of Flash is allowing for consistency across various platforms, such as laptops and smart phones.
Flash is embedded in a technology “Creative Suite”, the most recently released version in April being CS5.5. Currently, this development package contains Flash Builder, Flash Professional, and new version of Dreamweaver, the classic web development tool. Other diverse applications allowable by CS5.5 include the “War Stabilizer”, which converts the often seen shaky video rendered by amateurs running a camera to steady professional-like work. A main feature of CS5.5 is let developers create software with HTML5 and Flash together. There is discussion of whether the CS5.5 will supercede Flash, as did Adobe Photoshop suite did with individual applications. It seems, however, that there will be more and more attention paid to CS5.5, and this is why we are giving it more extensive treatment at the outset. Right now, Adobe is referring to the relationship as “Adobe Flash Professional CS5”.
In the web development world “cascading style sheets” (CSS) let a code writer can introduce and use styles in presentations according to a set of rules. These include fonts, spacing, colors, and any aspect of style and are part of a wider world of markup languages, a subject for a book. There is even a website http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/ devoted to the CSS. More is described in the article on Flash and HTML development.