In August 2011 I was introduced to the wonderful, wonderful world of buttons, tweens, and animation, common characteristics of the Adobe software Flash. My first thought was “What exactly is Flash? I typically have to download the software when trying to view certain content on websites, but what exactly is it?”
So I did some research.
Flash is a software used to create animation and to add interactivity to web pages. The software manipulates graphics to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images.
It originated with Jonathon Gay’s application, SmartSketch, which was a drawing application for pen computers running the PenPoint OS. However, once it failed in the marketplace, SmartSketch was ported to Mac OS and Microsoft Windows. SmartSketch was re-named first as CelAnimator, and then as FutureSplash, a vector-based web animation application similar to Macromedia Shockwave. In 1995, SmartSketch was further modified with frame-by-frame animation features and released as FutureSplash Animator. In 1996, FutureSplash was bought by Macromedia and released as Flash, which combined “Future” and “Splash”. In 2005 Adobe Systems purchased macromedia.
Adobe Flash Player exists on several systems and devices such as Windows, Mac OS 9/X, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, Pocket PC/Windows CE, OS/2, QNX, Android, Symbian, Palm OS, BeOS, and IRIX, although the performance is typically best on Windows. Flash as a format has become widespread on the desktop market; one estimate states Flash is on 95% of all PCs, while Adobe claims that 98 percent of U.S. web users and 99.3 percent of all Internet desktop users have installed the Flash Player, with 92 to 95% (depending on region) having the latest version.
So it seems that Adobe Flash will be around for a while. I personally enjoy the software and the interactive components it allows me to create. As technology progresses and times change, it will be interesting to see if Adobe Flash continues to be a dominating force.