IN THIS CHAPTER
Moving Beyond HTML
Understanding the Flash Platform
The Web has changed. What began as a text-based system for scientists and academics to share information has grown into a vital part of life for many people. No longer can businesses afford to ignore it; for many, a simple collection of static HTML documents will no longer suffice. Users have come to expect a deeper, more involving Web experience; your users and your company or clients want Rich Internet Applications.
The idea of Rich Internet Applications, or RIAs, first came about in the early part of this century. One of the early proponents of the idea was a company named Macromedia. Macromedia developed its Flash Player technology — already the most installed piece of software in history, to provide designers and developers with a set of tools that could be used to create RIAs effectively. More important, Flash applications had the advantage of being completely cross-platform and cross-browser, unlike many other RIA technologies such as Ajax. Flash apps could be written and designed without regard to how they might perform on other machines or different browsers.
Web pages are for the most part written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). HTML is a text-based language that allows developers to "mark up" text on their Web page with instructions as to how the Web browser should display text and other Web page items.