Internet, Networking, & Security Around the Web Is Flash the Same as Adobe Flash? Benefits and Downsides Share Pin Email Print Adobe Systems Incorporated Around the Web Browsers Cloud Services Error Messages Home Networking 5G Antivirus VPN Web Development Around the Web View More By Paul Gil Writer Paul Gil, a former Lifewire writer who is also known for his dynamic internet and database courses and has been active in technology fields for over two decades. our editorial process Paul Gil Updated June 24, 2019 38 38 people found this article helpful Flash was formerly called "Macromedia Flash", but is was relabeled as Adobe Flash when Adobe purchased Macromedia software in 2005. Flash is Streaming Animation for Web Pages Sometimes Flash is a portion of an HTML web page, and sometimes a web page is made entirely of Flash. Either way, Flash files are called "Flash movies." These are special .swf format files that beam to your web browser screen as you watch them. Flash requires a special free plugin (modification) to your browser before you can view Flash movies. Flash movies offer two very special web browsing experiences: very fast loading, and vector animation with interactivity: Flash Benefit #1: Very fast loading to your screen. Unlike file attachments in email, which you must wait to fully download before viewing, Flash movies start playing as the content is transmitted to you. While the Flash movie may be 6 MBs large, you can start to watch the animation within moments, while the rest "streams" to your screen in the background. This makes Flash very desirable for web publishers, as it opens creative doors for them to make very powerful animations for their readers.Flash Benefit #2: Vector graphics, which are different from "raster graphics" (.jpg, .gif, .png, .bmp graphics). Vector graphics use math formulas to draw animation shapes, while raster graphics save millions of tiny colored dots to draw photos. This difference allows vector graphics to be very small file size, and very crisp at any resized format. For these two benefits, Flash designers use vector graphics to make powerful web page visuals that load to your screen very quickly and crisply. One example of a powerful flash animation site is Flashkit.com. Three Downsides to Flash Animation Downside #1: Some organizations block Flash movies from being received through the Internet. While this is partly motivated by fears of Flash viruses and Flash hackers, the greater motivation is disciplining staff. Many managers of private companies do not want their employees playing Flash games on their office computers, so they will ban Flash movies at work through technical blockers on the network. Do not be surprised if your employer chooses to implement a ban of Flash at your office.Downside #2: Not everyone has the required Flash Player plugin. Because they do not like "blinking things" on their screens, some users choose to disable or not install Flash Player.Downside #3: Flash .swf movies can be very time consuming to edit. It is very laborious work to change a Flash web page quickly. For this reason, you will almost never see a dynamic content page like a news site utilizing Flash for its rapidly-changing content. Instead, Flash is used more for decorative purposes, and for advertising and online gaming purposes.