Flash power tools - Web Designing

You can do some pretty nifty things with Flash using its built-in features right out of the box. For many users, this is plenty. But Flash isn't just about animation and sound. Using its advanced scripting features and add-onsoftware, Flash movies can be programmed for complex interactivefunctionality and even serve as the front end for dynamically generatedcontent.

Flash 5 uses the robust ActionScript scripting language for adding behaviors and advanced interactivity to Flash movies. ActionScript is an object-oriented language based on a version of JavaScript (the ECMA-262 spec, for those who need to know), so although it shares characteristics with the JavaScript we know and love, the two are not 100% compatible.

ActionScript, which was introduced in Flash 4, evolved into a much more powerful and useful tool in Flash 5. Not only is it responsible for controllingbasic playback and user triggered behaviors, it also enables Flash tointegrate with XML, HTML, and other parts of the web page. The latestActionScript version features complex math operations that allow advanced
programming functionality, such as 3-D modeling. If you are set on becoming a Flash power-user, you will definitely want to learn ActionScript.

Macromedia Generator 2
Macromedia Generator 2 is a development tool and server application that composites, produces, and delivers web graphics on the fly. It is integrated with Flash but is a separate commercial product. The web graphics can be GIFs, JPEGs, PNGs, imagemaps, QuickTime Flash movies, animated GIFs, or other Flash movies. Some uses include automatically updated charts and graphs based on real-time information (such as stock information or sports scores), regularly changing bitmap images (such as weather maps), orpersonalized content based on user input.

To use Generator 2, you create Generator templates (.swt) in Flash that separate the actual visual content on the page from the design structure of the page. The dynamically generated content (such as charts, images,personalized messages) can be switched out and delivered to theFlash player either immediately or at scheduled times.

There are two versions: the Enterprise Edition ($2999) and the Developer Edition ($999). As the price suggests, the Enterprise Edition is a morepowerful solution, offering better performance, scalability, and administrative tools. It is appropriate for large corporate sites that serve millions of visitors. The Developer Edition brings the same basic functionality to smaller scale sites.

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