Known as Adobe Flash, this multimedia software streams animations and videos through a required and free plugin browser modification. Through the manipulation of vector and raster graphics, Flash animates text, drawings, or still images and also allows bidirectional streaming of audio and video.
ActionScript is the main programming language used to create Flash applications and animations. Nearly all Flash browser plugins are free of charge and are available on almost every computer platform. Flash video is the default standard for online video and notable sites that rely on the use of flash are YouTube, Hulu and Reuters.
Benefits of Adobe Flash include the extremely fast load times and vector animation with user interactivity, while downsides of Flash include long Flash movie editing times, organizations not allowing Flash movies to play, and the fact that not everyone has flash or wants to install the plugin. Another downside to Flash is its potential for being hacked, exploited, or used as a portal for viruses.