Unit1.  Introduction to Flash 8 (II)

The alternatives to Flash 8. Javascript


For a long time, the language HTML has shown important shortages in all the aspects. The HTML creates static web page, pages in which all the movement that we can find is due to the animated images (GIFS) or to videos inserted in them... This language, revolutionary then, quickly demonstrated its insufficiency in all the fields. Alternatives started to appear soon:

Javascript was created in an effort to create actions or short programs that could be inserted in the web to animate it. Javascript, is not a programming language in the strict sense, since only creates "actions" that will be executed later in the browser, we can never create a program in Javascript, but only complements to the web. This language presents various inconveniences; first, its execution can be dangerous for someone who accesses the web, so many people decide to deactivate "Javascript" from their browsers. If our web page contains many Javascript code, the browser simply does not see it. Secondly and as usual, there exist browsers (each time less, that is true) that do not support it and it will be useless to seek to execute a Javascript code if the browser does not recognize it. Moreover, Javascript does not fit to create web pages, only complements them, that is why its general use is usually focused on some small “helps” in the interactivity of the web, as for example to verifying in the formularies, effects in the state bar...)

We should also emphasize that Flash can work together with javascript and execute codes and Javascript functions without problems, because Javascript is converted in a help for all users of Flash 8.

Visit out Advanced Page to see some examples of Javascript usages and codes.

The alternatives to Flash 8. CSS


Although it is not widely noticed, HTML has a very limited power in the treatment of texts. In fact, the principal problem of HTML is the lack of precision rather than the incapability to show and distribute texts throughout screen (the possibilities that are usually more than sufficient for any ordinary user). So far, it is practically impossible to assure that the text is going to appear in the desirable form in the browser of another person, or for example, that HTML does not allow creating justified texts or just leave a margin to the left of the document... For this Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were created.

CSS is very powerful, and has a number of advantages that have turned into a standard (although one will always not be able to visualize a content, which is used a style sheet). In addition, they allow to administrate texts and images for our web page in the desired way, "Style Sheets” is a magnificent form to simplify the code of the web page and to accelerate its creation, as its name indicates. Once the treatment to apply to one type of text (for example, to the titles) is created, then all the titles that we create and identify by it will have that treatment (color, font size, font type...). Thanks to the CSS we have gained control over our web pages, and perhaps in brightness and design, but these are not helpful for creating animations.

Why do not use the Style Sheets within Flash?

For it was not contemplated in previous versions of Flash. From the version 2004 (Flash MX 2004) the style sheets are perfectly compatible with Macromedia Flash, just because they can be associated with texts used in our movie by mere assigning the style sheet that we want to apply. Moreover, the CSS have ceased being an alternative to the use of Flash and have been integrated within it. That is one more reason to use Flash.

The alternatives to Flash 8.DHTML


We have seen how the main problems of HTML are solved, but it is still unknown how to eliminate this "static" feature of the HTML pages. The first solution comes from HTML itself. It is called DHTML (or Dynamic HTML) and as its name indicates that it was made to create contents in movement in the web pages. Its functionality brings up to moving objects through the web, and moreover, it is useed to create animated menus. For sure, that you had seen a lot without noticing. It usually appears as:


In fact the DHTML is nothing but, a combination of HTML and Javascript (so that, we will leave this to the end), although it is a good solution to create bright menus without extraordinary animations.

What is about its inconveniency? There are too many browsers that have problems with the DHTML and its download can be slow or delayed...

The Eternal Deal


First and foremost. What does Flash offer to us? Since Flash is the most powerful tool of the market to create multimedia content for the web, but it presents two important inconveniencies.

The first problem is the compatibility with FLASH. Along with some browsers that do not support javascript or cannot see contents of DHTML (or including CSS), in order to see, FLASH has to have an special PLUGIN of Macromedia. A PLUGIN is an special program that let's your browser identify the FLASH movies, download and visualize them correctly. This PLUGIN is free. You can download it HERE. Fortunately, each time more browsers have incorporated it and each time more people know what it is and are not afraid when it is offered to them. So far, each time more people have this PLUGIN.

The second problem is the size of the movies and their download time. Whereas an HTML page can size about 10 KB on the average, a FLASH animation sizes much more. Evidently it depends on the contents, but usually it easily exceeds the 100 KB, and in addition if it incorporates sounds it is obvious that the number drastically increases. So the time that it takes to make the Flash contents visible is still greater and not all the visitors are ready to wait ... they just go to another page.

On the other hand, the wide bandwidth connections each time become more numerous. That eliminates the problem of the downloading time. But the day when all the people are connected to the high-speed internet is still far away so the debate will continue being open for a long time.

Here you have some interesting pages made with FLASH


You can make really astonishing web pages with Flash.

To resume, nowadays it can be questionable: to insert or not Flash contents in a web page, although it depends on many things, for example, just like to insert DHTML. Still, keep in mind that Flash has much more features (the fact that has made other companies try to get "clones" of Flash). For example, the creation of interactive CDs (as those that are included in the informatics journals, for example), the creation of advertising banners or the creation of animated cartoon using Flash 8 (you will be surprised to learn the quantity of well known animated cartoons created or animated by Flash). Moreover, Flash has an industrial use, since it is useed for optimizing plans, creating designs of interiors and working with vectored images in general. Do not fail to learn handling the perspective program ... (at least with respect to web design)

You can test now your knowledge by realizing the:

  Unit 1 Test.

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