PHP and Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) are popular scripts used for creating web pages and online multimedia presentations. The two scripts can be combined to create dynamic, interactive pages similar to those used by big movie studios to promote their latest film releases.
PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is similar to the standard static HTML script and it recognizes the elements of HTML, but it also uses active server-side processing in creating dynamic pages. PHP can deliver varied content and page format depending on factors like user behavior and input, and other variables such as the time the page is called or the location of the user.
Adobe Flash is a multimedia script that is run on the web browser and also on compatible mobile and other electronic devices. Web programmers use Flash to create vector and raster animation with text, artwork and photos.
Combining the Two
By combining these two platforms, the web designer is able to create pages of the highest quality that provide stunning visual presentations with highly-focused content specific to the user. Flash alone could handle all the graphic and audio elements of the web page, but it is not a server-side script. Flash only works on the client side after the script is downloaded to the computer or other device. That is why you need a server-side script like PHP that will run on any server that supports PHP, you can choose betwee windows hosting solutions or Linux hosting.
PHP handles user variables that are passed to the server when the user clicks on a link or takes some other action that calls the server. Using these variables, the script can be written to respond in various ways. The most effective way to use PHP is in conjunction with a database like MySQL. The database stores user information or other data that is used to create the web page on the fly. In some cases, information is passed to the server in the form of cookies that are stored in the user’s browser files.
The user variables are used to create web pages that are as specific as possible to the user. For example, a user visiting a page for travelers might have cookie-based data that indicates interest in African safaris. The script could then construct a page that includes a Flash movie focused on African safari travel. In addition to the Flash presentation, specific information on travel packages can be included on the page or links to such information can be provided.
Note that the Flash animation does not have to be pre-programmed. PHP can even create animations on the fly based on user variables and other data. However, the coding for this type of operation is complex and can require significant amounts of work to address bugs that might arise.
In addition to using data from server-side databases, PHP can also access remote information like RSS and Atom feeds for use in creating dynamic web pages. The web designer can use services like Yahoo Pipes and Google Maps to create high quality page content. In some cases, feed information can also be parsed for incorporation into Flash presentations.
For web designers who only have experience with static scripts like HTML, learning active scripts like PHP and Flash can be daunting. Fortunately, there are editors out there that help make the job much easier. You don’t necessarily have to deal with raw code, but it does pay to have a good basic understanding of how the code works. This will help you when you have to deal with bugs in the script. Knowledge of PHP is probably more important than Flash because the real tricky stuff happens on the server side.
With some patience and practice though, designers can master PHP and start creating dynamic, highly-focused content. Flash animation requires more mastery of the editor and many great Flash animators have little or no knowledge of raw object-oriented Flash code, which is known as Action Script.
Many top sites use Flash animation in combination with a server-side script like PHP. The internet offers many resources for learning how to master these two platforms including tutorials, glossaries and detailed references that outline the entire programming languages. PHP and Flash editing software is also available via the web. You can see many web games using