Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform and framework for interactive online content and rich multimedia. Adobe Flash, formerly Macromedia Flash, was first developed in 1993 as a very simple, vector-based Web animation tool. The technology expanded throughout the 1990s, introducing the interactive elements throughout.
Adobe Flash now integrates with other innovative multimedia and dynamic content protocols including Flex and ActionScript.
Throughout the 2000s, Flash became the de facto standard as an online video player with companies such as YouTube utilizing the platform for video delivery.
There are two primary types of Flash files - the ShockWave Flash movie (SWF) and Flash Video (FLV). ShockWave Flash is used by many Flash games online, where interactive content and animation is the primary purpose. By contrast, Flash Video is used for video content as found on video steaming websites.
Along with the interactive and video Flash types, there is also a Flash Audio file type and format. Flash Audio, a container format, is utilized by Flash Video. As a container format, Flash Audio still requires other codecs to encode the audio. Flash Audio was most commonly encoded with MP3 or the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) codecs, though with the rise in popularity of MPEG-4, Flash Audio now features the same container capabilities seen in the MP4 container.