Adobe Flash is an authoring tool for the creation of multimedia and interactive content. It allows you to connect graphic components and technical programming. New graphic objects can be created or existing ones integrated. At the same time, they can be easily addressed and animated by ActionScript code. Also, audio elements can be added quickly. This results in many applications, from games to banners.

Development with Flash

You can create graphic objects with Flash. These can be easily animated even without code. You interpolate between two forms. Other tweens (interpolation between key frames, in other words animation with key frames) are possible. These can be programmed using the object-oriented scripting language ActionScript, which allows various applications.

Interaction is possible with ActionScript, because it can respond to mouse and keyboard input. You work in a .fla file. As a result, this file gets converted at the end into a .swf file (pronounced swiff = shockwave flash). This file type can be easily integrated into a webpage and is playable on any platform. Even offline, a .swf file can be played with many media players, alternately just in a browser window.

Areas of application

The applications for Flash are many. Besides banners and games, a video player or a whole page can be created with it. Flash is also used frequently in e-learning and interactive presentations. There are many elements on websites that have been created using Flash. Generally, Flash is browser and operating system independent. However, the surfer must have the Adobe Flash plugin installed.

Current issues

Vulnerabilities have repeatedly been found in Flash Player. These are actually used by criminals. In February 2013, there were reports that attackers could take control of a computer when a malicious file is opened by the user with the player. In May 2013, new vulnerabilities were reported on. The software has been being adjusted with updates to handle any vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is important to promptly install updates offered.


It is speculated that Adobe is no longer interested in the further development of Flash. At the beginning of 2012, Adobe announced that Flash Player would be radically overhauled to meet the requirements of the years to come. Flash Next was to be created, whereby both the Flash Player code and ActionScript Virtual Machine were to undergo refactoring. A new version of ActionScript was to be released.

The official statement was that Flash Next would not be compatible with earlier Flash versions, which would have meant a huge amount of work for developers. This drawback by Adobe gives the impression that Flash does not have much of a future. While the existing player is to be further developed, critics also note that the staff who had participated in the development earlier was being reduced. On top of that, less is being developed with Flash than previously.

Apple Inc. provided another reason for this assumption. Many mobile devices from Apple do not support Flash. This is a signal for software developers that Flash is on a decline. If you put a swf file online, you will have to take into account that many users will not be able to see it, because they use an Apple product. This is all the more surprising because Apple and Adobe maintain a very good business relationship. Apple states the multiple security vulnerabilities as one of the reasons for the lack of Flash on their products. Another is that Flash is not suitable for touch screens. Generally, it is criticized that Flash is not made for mobile devices, but for PCs with mouse.[1]

Relevance to search engine optimization

If elements are created with Flash, they have a fixed size. This is different as compared to pure HTML pages. Therefore, it must be remembered that the visitors’ screens are not always the same size. An HTML page can be programmed in such a way that they conform to a certain extent. As a website operator you have to ensure that a Flash element does not get limited due to its size or becomes unusable.

What has changed over the years is the relevance for search engines. Today, large search engines can read Flash file content. Adobe has worked with Google and Yahoo to make this possible. That is different to JavaScript applications, for example, whose content cannot be read by search engines.

Earlier, search engines were unable to read Flash. Pure Flash pages, such as typical intro pages therefore had no ranking. It is always recommended to include plain text on a page. The use of HTML5 offers good possibilities for the design of websites.

If you use Flash, you have to be aware that not every user has the Flash plugin installed. If it is not installed for whatever reason, the visitor will not be able to see or use the element.

If you deliberately do not want to load Flash or JavaScript files in your browser, you can install a NoScript add-on.


  1. Thoughts on Flashapple.com. Accessed on 10/29/2014