Definition of Macromedia Flash

By David Gitonga

Macromedia Flash is a multimedia platform that is used to create stand-alone and web animations and applications that are interactive. Flash content can be manipulated, using the scripting language ActionScript, in different ways and on a number of devices including mobile phones.

Flash Formats

Once a flash animation has been created, Macromedia Flash converts it into a format called ShockWave Flash or simply SWF. Other supported formats include .flv and .fla, with the latter used in the flash environment during development.

Flash Videos

Flash videos take the extension .flv and can be played using an flv player or directly within other .swf files.


ActionScript is the scripting language that Flash uses to offer extra flexibility and more interactivity to flash applications.

Adobe Flex

Adobe Flex is a platform developed by Adobe Systems to simplify the development of rich flash Internet applications much the same way AJAX does. With Flex, a client can request data from the server without the need to reload the web page.

Extending Flash Capabilities

The power of Macromedia Flash, now referred to as Adobe Flash, can be seen by its integration with Javascript and .css files. Other authoring environments and open source projects have likewise extended the capabilities of Flash extensively.


The Flash formats .swf and .flv have the same encoding for both audio and data.SWF decompilers allow you to view the source code of a flash application.