Aside from animated GIFs, another approach has been used to add dynamic effects to web pages: java applets.
One of the most famous is the lake applet.
Unfortunately, java (the programming language for applets) requires programming skills. This means that you can't just start creating your own applets.
Therefore, some programmers have created free applets that allow customization. So instead of learning the programming, people can simply use the already programmed applets.
Again, the lake applet is a good example. It makes a wave effect on any image of any size. But if you wanted to add anything else to the applet you would have to either program it yourself or find a free applet that actually did what you wanted.
Flash movies are in many ways similar to java applets. Small programs that can be embedded into your HTML pages. But unlike java applets, it is fairly easy to create animations in Flash without programming skills.
Applets have often be criticized for "killing" browsers.
Sometimes, java programmers are not as skillfull as one might have wished. Some applets are programmed so they eventually take up all resources on the computer, and this results in "freezing" the browser.
So compared to java applets, the advantage of Flash is:
- Flash movies are easier to create than java applets.
- Flash movies are more stable in web browsers than java applets.
Note: While Flash has these advantages over applets, there is more to the story. There are things that you can program in java that just can't be done with Flash. But since the focus here is Flash we will not go into the details.
On the next page we will look at a few examples of Flash...