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Free Flash Content

You can add Flash pizazz to your Web site without a lot of time or expense.

What is Flash?
Flash is a technology that makes it possible to add spiffy animations, sounds, movie sequences, and interactivity to a Web site. Flash can be used for particular components of a site, such as navigation menus or advertising banners. In fact, the entire site can be created using Flash (like Film House does), though there are plenty of reasons not to do that.

Animations made with Flash take up much less space (and load faster) than traditional GIF animations. And because it uses vector-based graphics, Flash animations appear in the proper size for a viewer's screen. This means that sites can be displayed uniformly on PCs with different sized screens, hand-held computers, and other computing devices.

Where Does Flash Content Come From?
Flash content is developed in using a software package called an "authoring environment" which is a cross between a drawing program and movie editor. The authoring environment, which is sold by Macromedia, costs $500. Relax - you don't have to buy or use it to get cool Flash stuff on your Web site. If you did, we wouldn't be writing about it here on CheapWebTricks.com.

Once the content is completed, it is uploaded to a Web server and incorporated into a Web page, where it can be viewed by any visitor who has a Flash Player installed. According to Macromedia, that covers more than 98% of Web browsers today - i.e. users can view Flash content without having to download and install Flash Player.

Where Can I Get Some (Free) Flash?
You might at some point decide that Flash stuff is so cool that you want to create your own, custom content, from scratch. That's when you'll have to fork over the funds for the authoring environment. Until then, you can catch a free ride from the enterprising folks who have created free Flash building tools and made them available on the Web.

These tools typically provide pre-made Flash elements that you can customize by visiting the creator's Web site. The resulting Flash file (something.swf) containing your element is then either emailed to you or made available through a download link. You upload it to your Web site, paste a bit of code (also provided by the free Flash entrepreneur) into the page where you want the item to appear, and now you've got a Web site that uses Flash.

Are you ready to search for free Flash tools?

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