Flash and HTML – New partners, old friends

The development of Flash and its programming has recently introduced a new generation of web design possibilities. Originally called Shockwave, then Macromedia Flash, this ever growing programming solution is now over 15 years old and now owned by Adobe, the well known market leader in website authoring, graphics and publishing software. Adobe has continued relentlessly with the development of Flash and this ongoing innovation now makes it the professionals’ choice for detailed content programming and website development. In the early days, Flash was fairly basic only allowing a simple timeline and some vector graphic animations that could add a bit of sparkle to a website. Today the story is completely different; Flash is now a fully capable platform upon which a complete website can be built. Flash’s strength lies in its flexibility, allowing the programming of the many varied features that are expected of a high quality modern website.

Another old-timer…HTML

HTML, a basic coding language used from day-one on the World Wide Web has very limited functionality in comparison to Flash, but as a base language for the web, it is widely used, and very fast in response. This is partially due to its inclusion in server-side languages like the very popular Apache. HTML still very much has its place in 21st Century code just like Visual Basic, whose ancestors were the Commodore Basic of the early eighties. A good structured language will stand up through time – as long as it does a necessary job well and is updated regularly.

“Add” infinitum

So back to those building websites with Flash, there are now so many possibilities for a unique website to be built due to the number of widgets and add-ons that can be programmed, it’s hard to know where to start. It is relatively simple to create your own site from a website building service such as wix.com, a Flash based website building software solution where free websites can be built with user-friendly online automated Flash website authoring tools. To get a full service to include ecommerce, use dedicated domains etc, a monthly subscription can be taken out… but full widget and HTML functionality is granted with the free sites so there is no limitation there. The site has an editing and publishing system that is written in Flash and comes complete with all kinds of available graphics, clip-art and styles to help users make fast and good looking sites very quickly indeed. At wix.com they have created a multitude of templates that are extremely configurable to allow users with no web design knowledge in particular, to create their own site that is appropriate to their intended content – for free.

“This is Flash calling HTML…”

Now there are a few sites that allow users to build websites and some have a few add-ons and widgets too, but none seem as easy to assemble pages and publish them as Wix. A major feature of the Wix site too is that they are the only one of the up-to-date online website builders so far to incorporate HTML widgets into its basic functionality. There are good reasons why this is a great feature to add if you are building a website using a Flash builder; widgets written in Flash are more complex to code and once coded, to make them customizable they are even more expensive and difficult to produce, never mind the difficulty of integration. In contrast, HTML is quite well developed for producing widgets and plug-ins/add-ons to a web page and because this type of programming is not complex and has been around for a long time, there are literally thousands and thousands of already coded accessories that can be found free online and added to a Flash-built website – the sky is the limit when it comes to the range of available already programmed features.

A Flash free website builder that has HTML support can offer an almost infinite number of uniquely featured websites that can be configured and modified without a Masters Degree in Computing. This opportunity offers website builders of all abilities immense scope – at a very modest budget too! Almost every HTML add-on/widget has already been coded, and if it hasn’t, a freelance HTML programmer is comparatively cheap to hire and easy to find. Anyone thinking of using an online website builder must take into account whether they can afford to not have HTML support available as standard. Flash and HTML go back a long way, like old friends, but in the world of online website building automation, they are very successful, new-found partners.

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