I know knowing things is important but what is the most bang on the buck? I'm going to attempt to prove how and why flash is still king when it comes to the most fun,profitable, and time effective platform to work on. Does that mean HTML5/Javasciprt is out? no not at all Flash isn't in the same play ground as Javascipt is and we will look into what that means as we explore a personalized perspective of web/dev history.
A file type refers the identifier that lets our OS and/or our applications know what type of information they should expect to find in the file(kind of helps us as well ;). Some operating systems automatically hide file exentions and I recommend undoing that if your planing on working in the world of design and programing as its critical for you to always know what file types are in front of you. File types are normally identified with a 3 char combination at the end of the file name starting with a ".".
myFlashFileName.swf - The 'swf' is the file type
myVideoFile.mov - The 'mov' is the file type
Flash with the years accumulated many file types and i have a feeling many more will come in the future but throughout the years there have been some critical file types we need to pay attention to : SWF, .AS and .FLA.
You probably at some point in your life had someone tell you that computers store only bits(0,1). There is a magnetic + or there isn't. Computers are that simple the complexity comes to how to save complex data in this format. One of the biggest challenges of a modern computer(and a non modern one as well is infinity such as 0.333333333333333333333333333333(forever) - computers can not create such a value even if our minds can as its not physically possible to store an endless amount of information. I'm Drifting a bit but in a good way The old days where developers where actually telling the computer what to do in every bit seam like a very far history(there a few Brains out there that still are capable of doing that I hear) but with the years modern programing languages and programmers have shifted away to hide the details of how the computer works.
When building applications that where 'close to the hardware' there was a great amount of detail that the developer needed to develop and it only worked on specific systems (not even operation systems) at some point the OS was developed and many people became very rich as they came up with a tool that cut down development time dramatically now developers didn't need to worry about every single computer in the world and if it would work on it but only needed to worry about making it work with the OS that it was targeted at.
Things where booming program where ruling the day and more and more features and capabilities where added with richer and richer fantastic applications. Now developers just had to program to a few operating systems validating it worked on them. A natural evolution to that would be to create a tool or a way to share the exact same code throughout multiple Operating systems and then came JAVA a fantastically agile tool that seamed to sweep the world - now it wasn't the OS that was defining the language to code but a 3rd party that validated that there 'interpertator' would work on all major operating systems.
When developing applications for a specific OS the compiling process basically takes the human readable commands(or we tend to call it programing language) and changes it to be the minimum information it would need to translate that data down to 0,1,0,1 for the computer that hosting the application. leaving the OS to do the final adjustments as the application is running to translate to the computer the commands. You might be thinking why not leave it as is? Its a really good question and you might be surprised to hear that modern web developers are having the 'fight' these days in 2010(we will get back to that soon).
So now When JAVA or our interperator language came into the picture instead of finding the lowest denominator for one OS the 3rd party application had to come up with a way to deal with the information and be capable of translating it on a pc,linux or any other device(such as mobile) The only governing rule that the Translator application would need to be preinstalled on the system that wanted to run that application.
You might be thinking now that well that sounds perfect. Well its very close to that it had only one problem it demanded more resources from the system as now these new applications need to do more work to translate the data down to the OS that would then translate the data to the the operating system there was actually one extra step involved in the whole process. p Not to bad if you can cut down your development costs to fractions.
In the early days of the web there where some big fits on the web Internet Explorer/ Netscape wars(sounds kind of familiar right?) JAVA was primed pimped and ready to rule the web when users started to ask for more then just a few lines of copy and maybe a clickable image. users wanted more and JAVA was there but it had some major limitations(computers where slower back then and JAVA was really designed back then to work with applications) it was just not a fun experience if you can flash back in time you will remember running sites that would crash on you or that just took forever to do something locally (i think there are some government sites that still are running that way ;)
Without breaking into the history of flash it gave flash the perfect storm eye it was small very flexible and only know how to do a very limited amount of things it was then created to work mainly for we browsers at the time and just as JAVA it complied the information to a mediator file format(.SWF) that was then uploaded onto the web and as long as the user had a flash plugin on there browser they could enjoy the same content through out there devices.
Some are jumping and running around in the streets yelling that flash is dead but is it really? Is the need for a 3rd party tool that would mediate between multiple browsers and now operating systems. mobile devices, tvs, time square billboards and many more micro technologies .. is the need to be capable of knowing one language spend one budget and get it to work as far as you can get it to as much devices and operators suddenly not needed now that there is one or two devices that are very popular that don't support flash? we are living in a break through in pushing the basics of web pushing our content to more devices then ever known before is that really what would break flash? when applications and web are starting to become very blurry is this the time we can say goodbye to a tool that enables us to cut down the amount of hours we need to spend to get it to work on multiple devices?
Yes flash is about really pushing the web visually but that's just one portion of what flash is its about enabling you the developer to each the most possible users with the least amount of efforts. With that said Yea Flash player has been so popular that it might have needed a good wake up call and it looks like it got it and the energy is back to the basics of why flash is so great getting your message to as many users as possible in the most engaged way possible that would work on any device that flash has its footprint on... the web will continue to evolve as computers get smarter so will flash get smarter and now with the challenges of mobile devices it looks more then ever that if Adobe plays there cards right there future would be brighter then ever.
Enough history at this point you should be so buzzed and ready to learn flash and the first thing I want you to learn is file types get ready click on the video (visit our youtube channel and our web site for many hours of free videos and lets have some flash fun).
a video (in this video we get dirty and look at file formats and get started with learning flash)
Intro To video: In the years i've been teaching, learning and working with designers and developers i've noticed not everyone really knows what files they should be uploading on to the web when there ready to push there files live. This starter Article is to help sort out a few basic concepts such as source files and deploy files.
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