Moving forward with ActionScript 3

icon_flash_lg.pngMany people who’ve heard of Adobe Flash (previously Macromedia Flash) have experienced it as irritating splash screens or banner ads on web sites, or as a way to make a web site beautiful to the eye but often completely unusable. This is by no means the whole story – some companies have seen the potential of Flash to deliver a user experience not possible using ordinary web technology, and we have seen web sites that allow you to decorate a room using colours from a particular paint range, or construct and order your own custom baseball shoes.

In the education sector, companies like Vivid Interactive have quietly been using Flash for years to create rich interactive learning experiences. The ubiquity and small size of the browser plug-in means that companies can confidently create Flash based content in the knowledge that the majority of web users can view it, or would be prepared to download the plug-in if necessary.

Although originally developed to create web content, it is now also extensively used to create CD ROMs in conjunction with third party software such as MDM Zinc, which allows Mac and Windows compatible CD ROMs to be created without the need for separate plug-in installations. Flash has come a long way since it’s early days as an animation tool, and it’s power has increased to the extent that it can be used as an application development tool, where one might have used Visual Basic or C++, Flash can now be used, breaking away from the stuffy grey user interfaces normally associated with the former.

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