|Flash and Shockwave: Lets Sort 'em Out.|
Some people (often those who are new to this) get confused between Macromedia Flash and Macromedia Shockwave.
..And I don't blame them: they are both from the same company/manufacturer.
they are both a platform which are used for making visual material optionally mixed with external data from the backend.
they are both plugins for web browsers.
they both make use for ActiveX in web browsers.
However, when I thought and thoroughly researched over it, I found a lot of differences - mainly minor ones which a joe user would not know about. So lets sort them out:
Flash Is much more widespread.
More on the "looking good" side.
Can be made with several programs.
Is used by many designers/developers.
Is cheaper to master (Macromedia Flash costs near $400).
Requires you to draw each frame by hand (unless you duplicate a frame into another key-frame).
Doesn't require much technical knowledge.
Works in the .SWF Flash Format.
Is on the 'simple' scripting level.
Shockwave Is not as well known as Flash.
Requires some technical knowledge.
Can only be created using Macromedia Director.
Is much more expensive to master (Director costs more than $1,000).
Has the ability to move around objects (precisely, vector images) as opposed to drawing each one in key-frames.
Is on an advanced scripting language.
Works in the .DCR Shockwave format.
Can integrate Flash into its own format and not vice versa.
Uses a type of compilation and is much more harder to decode/modify.
Is mostly used for online games and things that require programming (as opposed to simple video clips or animations).
Can you do socket communications and basic form controls with flash and / or shockwave?
For example, if I were to make a basic chat applet .. which would I do it in?
For that matter, is there a good link that could help me get started on something like that?
> if I were to make a basic chat applet .. which would I do it in?
Flash. You can use the XMLSocket to do this.
I don't know if this is out of topic, but are there any stats on the installed bases of these.
What % of browsers are shock & flash enabled?
I saw a major site offer a flash shopping cart...has flash arrived?
The line between shockwave and Flash are really starting to blur. Most of us that have been using Flash from the beginning are old Lingo programmers, Director's scripting language. Flash started out as a way to embed vector graphics while Director allowed sprite animation on the level of a compiled program.
Now that Flash has really geared up Actionscript, included video, and moved past just tweening vector shapes, it has matured into a program that is hard to differentiate from Director. Actionscript is quite similiar to Lingo.
Now the last Director I worked with was 9 and at that time there was talk of killing it and moving it into Flash. Unless I intend on creating a full fledge video game, although flash can do this too, or I need to make a compiled program for desktops, I don't have need for Director or shockwave anymore. The last time I downloaded the shockwave plugin was 2 years ago. It is just not that common anymore.
I don't believe Macromedia will keep it going. Flash has become a nice cash cow at half the price. So many other programs have really started to take directors place for interactive movies. It will probably hang out for a while, but unless somebody finds a real good use for it, I don't see them investing the development time.
Because shockwave was before Flash, and Flash took it over so quickly, people will associate the two.
Useful post. I've never really taken the time to understand the difference between the two other than that Shockwave apps seem to provide more interactivity and it's a better platform for online games.
A little off topic but I personally think Flash is overused and abused, especially when it comes to adding sound to pop-up adverts, damn I hate those!
> Because shockwave was before Flash, and Flash took it over so quickly, people will associate the two.
Exactly. Therefore you often hear a thing called "Shockwave Flash" which any experienced Flash designer would know it doesn't exist.
I think Flash vs Shockwave is like Visual Basic vs C++. When scripting in VB, you get a WYSIWYG-like view of your program which makes it easier on the GUI side, and plus it provides you with wizards etc to help you create your applications.
However, in C++, a lot of technical knowledge is required, no wizards, it doesn't have a graphical scripting interface, but it can achieve amazing things - leaving it all upon to its developer.
I still think though if Director was a little cheaper, many of us would be using it for sure.
> What % of browsers are shock & flash enabled?
Although there are no real statistics I could find, many say (including Macromedia themselves) that Flash is much more enabled/installed on web browsers than Shockwave, therefore I had the statement, "Is much more widespread".
Aren't Flash files a lot smaller than Shockwave files? I always thought that Shockwave was used more for CD-ROMs and Flash was better for the web; thus, Flash would need smaller file sizes.
> Aren't Flash files a lot smaller than Shockwave files? I always thought that Shockwave was used more for CD-ROMs and Flash was better for the web; thus, Flash would need smaller file sizes.
Originally, Shockwave was built for the purpose of distributing visual presentations in CD-ROMs. However, as the web grew by, it was turned into a web browser plugin.
Shockwave files can be bigger - and usually are - because most Shockwave developers choose it due to its possibilities. If it is not possible with Flash, it is possible with Shockwave, and if it is possible with Shockwave, it's something big because it is not possible with Flash. ;)
Confusing I guess, but the bottom-line is Shockwave can do things which Flash can't - mostly scripting ones, and Flash can do things which Shockwave can't - mostly visual ones. Both can be bigger depending on the project size and the amount of optimization the developer has applied.
I disagree with some of the comparisons.
# More on the "looking good" side.
Depends what you want to do with it - it's a judgement call, not a fact.
# Loads faster
Depends. using a Flash executable locally on a desktop takes a lot of time to load. A Shockwave file is better suited to load locally. On the Net, it's a different story.
# Is used by many designers/developers.
Judgement call. Anyone can use both programs.
# Is cheaper to master (Macromedia Flash costs near $400).
Entry level work is easier, but to go beyond simple Flash require as much commitement as Director.
# Requires you to draw each frame by hand (unless you duplicate a frame into another key-frame).
Definitely false. You can program animations with ActionScript. In fact you can create frame animations in both programs. The animation capabilities of the programs are very similar.
# Doesn't require much technical knowledge.
Judgement call - depends about what you do with the program.
# Is on the 'simple' scripting level.
Judgement call. AS is simple in some ways, but isn't Lingo supposed to be as easy to grasp - hence its early popularity with developers?
Harry I think you are on mark. Lingo is an easy language to pick up. I don't see Flash as VB and Director as C++. Like I said it has become blurred. Flash is a very mature package now. If we were talking Flash 5 then I would say yes, but Flash MX 2004 is extremely robust.
Director does work well with cd roms and cd rom business cards, but with the proliferation of browsers it may not be the best solution. Director was created in a none connected world. Now Flash can be the same as Director since every computer usually has a browser. As I said before Actionscript is quite robust now.
|often hear a thing called "Shockwave Flash" which any experienced Flash designer would know it doesn't exist. |
so, what does .swf stand for?
not being sarcastic - really would like to know
> so, what does .swf stand for?
Not sure, but I read this (and some of the stuff I said above) on the Macromedia Website.
|[macromedia.com ] |
"(Sometimes you might hear someone refer to "Shockwave Flash", but these are actually two different multimedia players.)"
Thanks for the clearification, Harry and Korkus.
>> so, what does .swf stand for?
|SWF stands for Small Web Files. Itís interesting to know that most people think that SWF means Shockwave Flash. A company called Future Splash created a product that created files that allowed for vector file format playback through a web browser. Macromedia purchased Future Splash and the rights to the SWF format and created a product all their own: Flash. |
chndru - thanks.
like many, i had always assumed shockwave flash.
Flash for online content
Director for offline content needing complex requirements like accessing windows API.
When I used Windows more frequently, I noticed that shockwave aps were a lot more likely to crash my browser than flash aps - that could be due, though, to the programmer's temtpation toward bloat since shockwave has a few powerful features. Don't see shockwave anymore, not installed on linux or 'doze.