( August 11, 2020 )
|operating system||Windows , macOS , Linux , Chrome OS|
|programming language||C ++|
|category||Creation of multimedia content|
|License||proprietary , freeware|
Adobe Flash [ əˈdoʊbi ˈflæʃ ] (formerly Macromedia Flash ) is a platform for programming and displaying multimedia and interactive content. Flash makes it possible to display, animate and manipulate vector graphics , raster graphics and video clips . It supports the bidirectional streaming of audio and video content and from version 11 of Adobe Flash Player (2011) also the display of 3D content.
The programming of content takes place in the object-oriented scripting language ActionScript . User input can be processed via mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera.
Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player on December 31, 2020. Since mid-June 2020, Adobe has been explicitly pointing out this when downloading Flash Player and making it clear on the linked page that after 2020 there will no longer be any possibility to download Flash Player becomes.
Areas of application
Video or sound files are often used in Flash due to its multimedia capabilities. Since these formats require mostly larger volume of data, so-called in Flash Preloader used that part or the entire film caching . However, Flash can also stream media content so media can be loaded and played at the same time. The Real Time Messaging Protocol is used to stream videos or sound files over the Internet . For high-definition movies, Flash version 9.0 or an H.264 - Codec . Sound files can be edited with basic functions or played back via an integrated controllable equalizer .
Adobe Flash is used as a component in some websites , for example as an intro, advertising banner , menu, game, video player or as the basis of the website itself. To play the content published in SWF file format, software is required, usually with the help of a programming interface (API) is added to the web browser as a plug-in . Depending on the platform (computer) , several web browser plug-ins are usually available for this purpose, but the proprietary and free Adobe Flash Player is almost the standard, the most widespread web browser plug-in and available for almost all common desktop operating systems.
Flash is used by 2.6% of all websites (as of June 13, 2020).
Animations (GIF replacement)
In the meantime, Adobe Flash has also prevailed over GIF animations ( Graphics Interchange Format ) in Internet advertising , which are no longer used frequently because of their technical limitations. In contrast to GIF, Flash offers a more fluid display of animations, sound, interaction, a practically unlimited color palette and the possibility of integrating your own and other data formats. In contrast, the newer competing animation format MNG ( Multiple-Image Network Graphics ) could not establish itself either.
Interactive content (Adobe Integrated Runtime)
The Adobe Integrated Runtime (“AIR”) enables Flash to be bundled into “AIR” applications with an integrated runtime environment that are installed and executed like desktop programs. As a cross-platform runtime environment, “AIR” competes with the Java Virtual Machine and classic desktop applications. With Adobe Integrated Runtime and Apache Flex, in addition to the production and playback of website content, the development of rich Internet applications and applications in desktop-Internet mixed operation came to the fore.
With version 4, Adobe Flash was expanded to include ActionScript and thus a control option. Since then, it has allowed the creation of interactive content or the programming of browser-based applications. This combination enables interactive presentations, for example games or media in the field of e-learning or spherical panoramas .
The previously apt term "Flash film" for a SWF file no longer adequately reflects these new developments in the field of games or rich Internet applications .
The format allows a wide range of applications in the field of computer-aided training, for example the schematic explanation of a four-stroke engine. Flash is also used for multimedia tutorials in which screen activities are recorded and can then be provided with explanations or subtitles.
Flash offers possibilities to create accessible content. As of version MX 2004 , the compatibility with text-based browsers has been greatly improved. Options for better search engine indexing are also available, but the variant of loading text content from an XML file and making it available to search engine web crawlers outside of Flash has become established. Flash does not output graphics and animations in a text-based or barrier-free manner; Usually a carefully edited setting is used here.
A 64-bit version was released for Linux in November 2008 as an alpha version, but it does not yet support all features. In February 2009 this version was renewed. With version 11.0 of the Flash Player, a final native 64-bit version for all operating systems was published for the first time.
Access to Flash content using screen readers is only possible under Windows.
The formats are also used on the Internet to distribute Flash-based browser games. These have established themselves as computer games with several million users . Up until the introduction of version 11, these games were mainly in the 2D area and exploited the available options with sound, raster and vector graphics, and input options via keyboard and mouse, and more rarely microphones and webcam .
Since the introduction of version 11 of the Flash Player, the platform has integrated the Stage3D API (code name “Molehill”), with which three-dimensional content can be displayed in Flash. 3D presentations are accelerated by hardware via DirectX (Windows) or OpenGL (Linux), or by software acceleration . Flash games in full screen mode only have a very limited range of functions on the keyboard, which only include the arrow keys and the space bar. Adobe Flash introduced this restriction for security reasons. The Stage3D API also competes with the open standard WebGL .
With version 11.8, the Stage3D API for touchscreen functions has been expanded so that 3D browser games can also be played on mobile phones or tablets.
SWF file format
The abbreviation SWF stands for S hock w ave F lash. Under the name Shockwave, the then manufacturer Macromedia not only marketed Flash , but also a variant that was expanded to include 3D functions, an object-oriented language and other features that can be produced with Adobe Director . While the “Shockwave” format was designed for computationally intensive use from the start, the Flash web browser plug-in was intended to create a presentation format that corresponds to the universality of the Internet in terms of hardware equipment and bandwidth.
The proprietary SWF format is the format in which every Flash-based project is delivered and contains the finished production in compressed, binary form. The specification of this format was published by Adobe, but is not an open standard . SWF data is also part of AIR applications that run on the operating system and is the output format for projects in Apache Flex .
To this day, the SWF format has been based on self-described vector graphics and animations, but can now also integrate the most common raster graphics image formats such as JPG or PNG and video formats such as MOV , AVI or MPEG . Also used audio formats such as WAV or MP3 . The use of Flash as the basis for media players on the Internet was based on Adobe's developed Flash video format and enabled the higher quality transmission of video clips in Flash and later also the transmission in high definition using the H.264 standard. The video extension of HTML5 was created to base videos on the World Wide Web on an open, freely accessible standard, and competes with Adobe Flash as the platform used for playing video clips.
Creation of Flash applications
Many programs can generate SWF files.
The source files (FLA files) created with the Adobe Flash authoring tool are compiled (translated) into SWF files and, if desired, compressed so that they can then be stored on a web server. The compiled SWF files are loaded into the end user's web browser and displayed by the Flash Player . They can no longer simply be changed in this form.
The Adobe Flash Builder and the open source alternative FlashDevelop produce using the Flex - SDK SWF files for applications that have been programmed to a large extent. FlashDevelop also masters the compilation of Haxe projects. The Flash Builder offers the creation of Flash, Flex and AIR applications that were programmed exclusively with ActionScript, and also offers a GUI designer for Flex and AIR applications.
The Flash Player is a software component originally developed by Macromedia and taken over by Adobe. SWF files generated with the Adobe Flash development environment are displayed with the Flash Player in browsers and on operating systems in a separately executable program file , the projector . Browsers integrate the Flash Player as an add-on , e.g. B. in Internet Explorer through ActiveX . However, the Flash Player itself is installed separately on the operating system. The Flash Player, which can only be executed under Windows, is in turn able to create executable files from open SWF files, which can be run as a projector file without additional installation of the Flash Player on the operating system.
On Windows, the different browsers are the same component file. Flash is generally not subject to the usual deviations in the standards for browsers and is displayed in the same way on all systems, unless the hardware configuration B. limited by a low color depth of the monitor. If the fonts used allow it, they can also be embedded when authoring the Flash film, so that the text display does not depend on the fonts installed on the end system. For developers there is a special version of the Flash Player that can be paused to debug SWF content . The Flash Lite player is used to display Flash content on mobile devices ( tablet PCs , cell phones , etc.) . This player causes a lower processor load, but also reduces the content to essential components.
The movie played back in Flash Player adapts to the given size without any special programming. Content is also scaled in relation to the resolution of the film, which can result in a loss of quality when displaying bitmaps. The aspect ratio of the stage is always maintained. However, a Flash film can also be programmed in such a way that the content in the film is redistributed over the larger area without scaling. Flex applications running in Flash Player scale components with a relative height and width in relation to the resolution of the Flash Player. Another feature is the nine-part segment grid , which enables the proportioned scaling of bitmaps.
The scaling of Flash films has taken on a new meaning since Flash films offer the possibility of full screen display, i.e. playback over the entire screen.
Faithful to the layout and clearly defined scope of functions
In contrast, with the proprietary Flash format, alternatives to Adobe Flash Player play practically no role. This means that the implementation of the already more precisely defined format is practically always the same. This enables a precise layout (pixel-perfect, including embedding of fonts, effects, etc.) according to the author's ideas.
Conversely, this has the disadvantage that many Flash pages are only designed for a certain screen size and become almost unusable on small screens. However, Flash offers (similar to the different media types in CSS) the possibility of offering different versions of the Flash content optimized for the respective output medium for different device types (computer, mobile phone, television, etc.).
The following table contains the most important versions of Adobe Flash Player.
|Macromedia Flash Player 7||7.0||Older version; no longer supported: 220.127.116.11||September 2003||Last version with support for classic MacOS (up to version 9), Windows 95 , Windows NT 4.0 , Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS v.3 & Red Hat Linux 9, Sun Java Desktop System 1.0|
|Macromedia Flash Player 8||8.0||Older version; no longer supported: 18.104.22.168||August 2005|
|Adobe Flash 9||9.0||Older version; no longer supported: 22.214.171.124||December 2007||Last version with support for Mac OS X 10.1 , 10.2 and 10.3 , Windows 98 and Me , Red Hat 3 & 4, Novell SUSE 9.x or 10.1.|
|Adobe Flash 10||10.0||Older version; no longer supported: 10.0.12.36||October 2008|
|10.3 / ESR||Older version; no longer supported: 10.3.183.90||11th of June 2013||Last version of the Extended Support Release branch (functioning as ESR since May 12, 2011) until it was replaced by version 11.7 in July 2013.|
|10.3 (Mac only)||Older version; no longer supported: 10.3.183.90||July 9, 2013||Last version for Mac OS X Leopard .|
|Adobe Flash 11||11.1||Older version; no longer supported: 126.96.36.199||October 11, 2011||Last version with support for Windows 2000 .|
|11.2||Older version; no longer supported: 188.8.131.524||November 8, 2016||Version for Firefox under Linux with NP API (" Netscape Plugin" API); Browser with PP API ("Pepper Plugin" API) see version 19 ff.|
|11.7 / ESR||Older version; no longer supported: 11.7.700.279||April 28, 2014||Last version of the Extended Support Release branch (functioning as ESR since July 2013) until it was replaced by Version 13 in May 2014.|
|Adobe Flash 12||12.0||Older version; no longer supported: 184.108.40.206||March 11, 2014|
|Adobe Flash 13||13.0 / ESR||Older version; no longer supported: 220.127.116.119||July 16, 2015||Last version of the Extended Support Release branch (available since April 2013 and functioning as ESR since May 2014) until it was replaced by Version 18 in October 2015.|
|13.0||Older version; no longer supported: 18.104.22.168||September 9, 2014||Version 22.214.171.124 was released for Mac only.|
|Adobe Flash 14||14.0||Older version; no longer supported: 126.96.36.199||August 12, 2014||Last version 14 for Internet Explorer on Windows.|
|14.0||Older version; no longer supported: 188.8.131.52||August 12, 2014||Last version 14 for Firefox, Opera, Chrome etc. under Windows and OS X.|
|Adobe Flash 15||15.0||Older version; no longer supported: 184.108.40.206||December 9, 2014||Last version 15 for Internet Explorer under Windows and for Firefox, Opera, Chrome etc. under Windows and OS X.|
|Adobe Flash 16||16.0||Older version; no longer supported: 220.127.116.115||5th February 2015||Last version 16 for Internet Explorer under Windows and for Firefox, Opera, Chrome etc. under Windows and OS X.|
|Adobe Flash 17||17.0||Older version; no longer supported: 18.104.22.168||July 8, 2015||Last version 17 for Internet Explorer under Windows and for Firefox, Opera, Chrome etc. under Windows and OS X.|
|Adobe Flash 18||18.0 / ESR||Older version; no longer supported: 22.214.171.1243||April 7, 2016||Last version of the branch functioning as Extended Support Release with NP API (" Netscape -Plugin" -API) for Internet Explorer as well as for Firefox , Opera 12.17 etc. under Windows and OS X; does not support the latest versions of Chromium -based browsers with PP API ("Pepper Plugin" API)|
|Adobe Flash 19||19.0||Older version; no longer supported: 126.96.36.199||November 10, 2015||Last 19 version for Internet Explorer as well as Firefox, Opera 15 ff., Chrome etc. under Windows and OS X; necessary for Chrome , Opera 15 ff. and Vivaldi , also under Linux, due to the abandonment of the NPAPI under Chromium|
|Adobe Flash 20||20.0||Older version; no longer supported: 188.8.131.526||February 9, 2016||Last 20 version for Internet Explorer and for Firefox, Opera 15 ff., Chrome etc. under Windows and OS X; necessary for Chrome , Opera 15 ff. and Vivaldi , also under Linux, due to the abandonment of the NPAPI under Chromium|
|Adobe Flash 21||21.0||Older version; no longer supported: 184.108.40.206||April 7, 2016||Last 21 version for Internet Explorer as well as for Firefox, Opera 15 ff., Chrome etc. under Windows and OS X; necessary version for Chrome , Opera 15 ff. and Vivaldi , also under Linux, because of the abandonment of the NPAPI under Chromium|
|Adobe Flash 22||22.0||Older version; no longer supported: 220.127.116.11||July 12, 2016||Last version 22 for the browsers Internet Explorer (from version 8.0) or Microsoft Edge , Firefox, Chrome or Opera under Windows and OS X as well as Safari. For Vivaldi , the version for Chrome / Opera can be used.|
|Adobe Flash 23||23.0||Older version; no longer supported: 18.104.22.168||November 8, 2016||Last version 23 for the browsers Internet Explorer (from version 8.0) or Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome or Opera under Windows and macOS as well as Safari. For Vivaldi , the version for Chrome / Opera can be used.|
|Adobe Flash 24||24.0||Older version; no longer supported: 22.214.171.124||February 14, 2017||Last 24 version for the browser Internet Explorer (from version 8.0) or Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome or Opera under Windows and macOS as well as Safari. For Vivaldi , the version for Chrome / Opera can be used.|
|Adobe Flash 25||25.0||Older version; no longer supported: 126.96.36.199||May 9, 2017||Last 25 version for the browser Internet Explorer (from version 8.0) or Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome or Opera under Windows and macOS as well as Safari. For Vivaldi , the version for Chrome / Opera can be used.|
|Adobe Flash 26||26.0||Older version; no longer supported: 188.8.131.52||August 8, 2017||Last version 26 for the browsers Internet Explorer (from version 8.0) or Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome or Opera under Windows and macOS as well as Safari. For Vivaldi , the version for Chrome / Opera can be used.|
|Adobe Flash ...||...||Older version; no longer supported: ...||...||Release Notes Flash Player 7 to date|
|Adobe Flash 32||32.0||Current version: 184.108.40.2067||June 9, 2020||Release Notes for Flash Player 32 and AIR 32|
During the installation, the manufacturer Adobe requires the approval of the license conditions with a click of the mouse (“ contract by action ”) . These are published using a URL to a PDF file, including in German. The Flash system essentially consists of two parts: the fee-based authoring system for creating Flash animations and the free playback part on the respective end customer system, the Flash Player .
Because of its early prevalence, Flash Player is a popular target for cyber criminals . In recent years, for. Some serious security gaps were found in Adobe Flash Player, which were then closed with security updates.
At the beginning of 2015, vulnerabilities were discovered twice in a row without a corresponding patch being available from the manufacturer . The risk was assessed so high that various media and browser manufacturers advised to deactivate the Flash Player immediately or to switch it off automatically.
On the occasion of the discontinuation of the further development in 2020, the Waiting Test Foundation recommended uninstalling the Flash Player. Warentest concluded that the ever new security holes had brought the Flash Player into disrepute.
- 1992: The merger of MacroMind and Authorware results in the software company Macromedia , based in San Francisco .
- 1995: It comes to take over the Aldus , which among other DTP software PageMaker and the graphics program Freehand had developed. The company FutureWave from San Diego publishes the vector-based illustration program SmartSketch and a corresponding plug-in to display the format called Splash (SPL) in the browser. The player itself is called FutureSplash .
- 1996: Based on SmartSketch, FutureWave develops the animation program FutureSplash-Animator , the forerunner of Flash. Macromedia took over FutureWave that same year. The products FutureSplash-Animator and the player will be further developed under the name Flash and Shockwave Flash Player .
1997: Flash version 1 is released by Macromedia. The Shockwave Flash Player is included accordingly. The integration of audio and raster graphic formats is integrated.
In the same year, Flash version 2 and an extended Shockwave Flash Player appear. The integration of raster graphics has been significantly improved and new actions are available to the developer. These can be used to implement simple interactions.
- 1998: Flash version 3 is released and already contains an extended instruction set. The interaction options have been greatly expanded compared to versions 1 and 2. Actions can now be assigned to keyframes and images. In addition, the testing of Flash projects during the development phase is made much easier by the player integrated into the development environment.
- 1999: Flash Version 4, released this year, contains extensive improvements to the now integrated ActionScript programming language ; control structures such as conditional statements and branches and loops are implemented and the possible applications are expanded; The first games and applications for e-learning or the processing and display of point-of-interest data are developed. The implementation of input fields makes it possible to create forms and process the entered data via CGI , for example to generate websites dynamically.
- 2002: Flash MX (Version 6) is released in March. This version has a more extensive function library. Particularly noteworthy is the new drawing API , which allows the creation of dynamic shapes. This version also contains a video codec and support for Unicode . ActionScript is even closer to the ECMAScript standard. In addition, the object and event model has been expanded.
- 2004: The update from Flash MX 2004 7.1.1 to 7.2 will be released at the end of July . In this version, stability issues have been fixed and performance has been improved.
- 2005: Adobe acquires Macromedia for 3.4 billion US dollars . In mid-June, Adobe will then present the “Flash Platform”, which primarily addresses corporate customers. On August 8th it will be presented together with "Studio 8" Flash Professional 8. The German version was published in September, as was the new Flash Player 8. The innovations in Flash 8 include: the ability to create or change raster graphics (bitmaps) , filters such as Gaussian soft focus , drop shadows or distortion, blending modes such as in Photoshop , file upload, a new text engine called FlashType, bitmap caching, adjustable easing, a new video codec with alpha channel support ( On2 VP6), a stand-alone video encoder with batch processing , and an improved program interface. On December 3, 2005, Adobe completed the acquisition of Macromedia. Initially, Adobe continues to use the name Macromedia Flash for the products. With the next product cycles, all products will be transferred to the Adobe naming scheme, which is why the technology is then called Adobe Flash .
- 2006: On June 27, 2006, Adobe Flash Player 9 was released for Windows and Mac OS X. It contains adjustments for better integration in Adobe Flex 2. The new ActionScript version 3.0 contains E4X and thus further support for XML. The execution of the scripts was accelerated by the introduction of a just-in-time compiler .
- 2007: On January 17th, 2007 version 9 of Adobe Flash Player for Linux was released. The next program version, called Adobe Flash CS3, has been available since May 5, 2007. CS stands for C reative S uite and allows imports from Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
2008: Adobe reveals the specification for Flash. It is then possible for search engines to search through Flash files entirely.
Flash Player 10 will be released in mid-October together with Adobe Flash CS4.
- 2010: On April 12, 2010, Adobe Flash CS5 (German version) was released for Windows and Mac. On June 10, 2010, Flash Player 10.1 was released, which brought some improvements in the area of performance and stability and is available for various mobile operating systems as part of the Open Screen Project .
- 2011: On April 10, 2011, Adobe Flash CS5.5 was released for Windows and Mac. In 2011, Adobe Flash Player 10.2 and 10.3 were released. On October 4th, Flash Player 11 appeared, which for the first time brought a version with native 64-bit support and includes the API Stage3D. On November 9th, Adobe announced that it would discontinue the further development of the Flash Player for mobile devices and instead concentrate on the development of the Flash Player for desktop systems and the Air platform for mobile devices.
- 2012: On February 22, 2012, Adobe announced that it would offer future versions of the Flash Player under Linux exclusively for the Chrome browser from Adobe's partner Google.
- On April 23, 2012, Adobe released Flash CS6 Professional as part of Creative Suite 6 . The program now supports u. a. also the development of assets for HTML5 and is to be sold increasingly via a subscription model (the so-called Adobe Creative Cloud ). Since Flash version 11.2, x86 processors with missing SSE2 instruction set support are no longer supported by Flash under Linux .
In June 2012 it was announced that from August 15, 2012 the Flash Player for Android will no longer be available via Google Play , but existing installations will continue to be provided with security updates. As already announced in 2011, Adobe is not adapting the Flash Player to the upcoming Android versions.
- 2015: At the end of 2015, Adobe announced that the "Flash Professional" software for creating Flash content is now being marketed under the new name "Animate CC". The program should continue to support the SWF format. Nevertheless, this step has been interpreted by some media as the "end" of this technology.
- 2016: On August 31, 2016 Adobe announced that it would merge the Flash Player for browsers with NP API (" Netscape Plugin" API) (including Firefox) under Linux with the main development branch (Windows, Mac), but leaving out some newer ones Features. Support for this program version will not be ended in 2017, as previously planned by Adobe. This is intended to accommodate the Linux community and improve program security.
- 2017: On July 25, 2017, Adobe announced the end of the Flash player for 2020. The Flash-Player will no longer be developed and distributed from 2021. Adobe specifies HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly as alternatives.
- 2020: Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player on December 31, 2020.
... to the authoring software from Adobe
Originally, Adobe Flash, the proprietary authoring software of the same name, was the only integrated development environment for creating and compiling any Flash content. In the meantime, however, the US software company Adobe itself, third-party manufacturers or the independent open source community have published a large number of programs that enable the creation of Flash content.
Presentation programs such as Impress from the Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice office packages or Keynote offer the option of exporting presentations in SWF format so that presentations can be made available in this form via a format that is widely used on the World Wide Web .
Alternative as a platform for applications:
... to the Flash Player
Various alternative playback programs also process the SWF format - but mostly older SWF versions, as parts of the file formats to be processed are protected by copyright.
- Swfdec was last updated in 2008.
- Gnash supports ActionScript 1.0 and 2.0S (SWF 7.0). It is available for many platforms.
- Lightspark supports most of ActionScript 3.0 and is currently being actively developed.
... to Flash as a format
Open web standards of the World Wide Web Consortium ( HTML5 , Ajax , CSS Level 3 ) as well as Microsoft Silverlight , OpenLaszlo and JavaFX compete with the Adobe Flash platform in the field of online applications.
<canvas>element in HTML5 and the corresponding programming interface. With WebGL is an open standard for hardware accelerated display of 2D and 3D graphics without additional plug-ins.
... to Flash as a video platform
Since the introduction of the video element in HTML5 , there has also been an alternative to Flash Player as a video player platform .
In addition, there are or were various alternative browser plugins for playing video streams and files.
|VLC media player||Free software||GPL and LGPL||Windows , macOS , Linux etc. v. a.||at videolan.org|
|Windows Media Player||Microsoft||Proprietary||Windows only||at microsoft.com|
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- Colin Moock: Essential ActionScript 3.0 . O'Reilly, 2010, ISBN 978-0-596-52694-8 .
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