Flash is a popular multimedia authoring and playback system from Adobe. SWF is one of the most popular Flash container formats and it's used for most of the animated ads and video clips on today's websites.
What is the .SWF extension used for?
The .SWF Flash media container extension is one of the most popular available on the Internet. SWF stands for Small Web File. .SWF was originally created as a file extension for Flash-based vector graphics and simple sequential animations and it used to stand for ShockWave Flash. Later, the .SWF extension became more complex and now it is a dominant file format which contains all types of Flash media (including audio and video). The .SWF file can be used for showing Flash animation based on vector and raster graphics, for different forms of interaction with the end user - Flash menus, Flash buttons, Flash banners, and more. Also, it can contain Flash applets which provide control for other Flash elements. For example, it can contain a Flash player applet which will provide advanced timeline and volume controls for a Flash-based .FLV movie clip.
How to create an .SWF file for my website
The .SWF extension is a proprietary format of Adobe Flash but because of its popularity there is a long list of software products which can generate .SWF files with Flash-based animations and applets for your website. In the first place, we need to mention some products from the Adobe Creative Suite - Adobe Premiere, Adobe Flex, Adobe Captivate and more. Also, there are various Flash button creation software solutions and movie convertors/editors which generate .SWF Flash graphics as an output. Some good examples are the popular screen capture software - Camtasia, all Amara Software products, and more.
How to add an .SWF file on my web page
Adobe Flash is a great web development product which made possible the creation of high quality, feature rich, interactive websites. All Flash buttons, players and other Flash-based media and applets can be embedded in the HTML code of your web page with a simple script.<object width="80" height="30"><param name="flash" value="/flash_button.swf"><embed src="/flash_button.swf" width="80" height="20"></embed></object>
Using the script above we will integrate a Flash button in our web page. All the information about the Flash button - like button animation, links, hover images and hit area, is contained in the .swf file. Using the script we only load the .swf file in the browser. Also, the client's browser needs to be Flash-enabled (to have the latest version of the Flash player installed) in order to view the .swf file.