Infobox file format
name = Adobe Flash (SWF)
icon =
logo =

caption =
extension = .swf
mime = application/x-shockwave-flash
type code =
uniform type =
magic =
owner = FutureWave Software,
later taken over by Macromedia and
Adobe Systems
type = Vector graphic animation
container for =
contained by =
extended from =
extended to =
standard =

The file format [http://www.adobe.com/openscreenproject Open Screen Project] ] SWF (acronym of "Shockwave Flash", [http://www.darrelplant.com/blog_item.php?ItemRef=736 The Telltale SWF] ] pronounced "swiff" [See the specification of SWFv9 in PDF at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/] )a partially open repository for multimedia and especially for vector graphics, originated with FutureWave Software and has come under the control of Adobe. Intended to be small enough for publication on the web, SWF files can contain animations or applets of varying degrees of interactivity and function. SWF is also sometimes used for creating animated display graphics and menus for DVD movies, and television commercials.

SWF currently functions as the dominant format for displaying "animated" vector graphics on the Web, far exceeding the use of the W3C open-standard SVG, which has met with problems over competing implementations.


FutureWave Software, a small company later acquired by Macromedia, originally defined the file format with one primary objective: to create small files for displaying entertaining animations. [] The idea was to have a format which could be reused by a player running on any system and which would work with slower network connection.

Adobe acquired Macromedia in 2005.

On May 1, 2008, Adobe dropped its licensing restrictions on the SWF format specifications, as part of the Open Screen Project. However, Rob Savoye, a member of the Gnash development team, has pointed to some parts of the Flash format which remain closed. [http://www.openmedianow.org/?q=node/21 Free Flash community reacts to Adobe Open Screen Project] ] On July 1, 2008 Adobe released code which allowed the Google and Yahoo search-engines to crawl and index SWF files. [ [http://www.streamingmedia.com/article.asp?id=10523 Streamingmedia.com: Google and Yahoo Roll out Flash Search ] ]


Originally limited to presenting vector-based objects and images in a simple sequential manner, the format in its newerwhen? versions allows audio, video and many different possible forms of interaction with the end-user. Once created, SWF files can be played by the Adobe Flash Player, working either as a browser plugin or as a standalone player. SWF files can also be encapsulated with the player, creating a self-running SWF movie called a "projector".

Adobe makes available plugins to play SWF files in web browsers on many desktop operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux on the x86 architecture. As of 2007 intensive development had taken place on Gnash, a free-software implementation of a SWF player. Another FOSS implementation is swfdec.

Based on an independent study conducted by Millward Brown, over 99% of Web users now have an SWF plugin installed, with around 90% having the latest version of the Flash Player. [] Sony PlayStation Portable consoles can play limited SWF files in Sony's web browser, beginning with firmware version 2.71. Both the Nintendo Wii [ cite web | author= | title=Wii Internet Channel | url=http://www.nintendo.com/wii/channels/internetchannel | publisher= | date= | accessdate= ] and the Sony PS3Fact|date=June 2008 consoles can run SWF files through their Internet browsers.


Adobe makes available a [http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/ full specification of SWF] . Until May 1, 2008, it was not an open format, as implementing software that plays the format was disallowed by the specification's license [cite web
title=SWF and FLV File Format Specification License Agreement
url=http://www.adobe.com/licensing/developer/fileformat/license/ | publisher=Adobe Systems
quote="You may not use the Specification in any way to create or develop a runtime, client, player, executable or other program that reads or renders SWF files."| accessdate=2008-01-05
] . On that date, however, as part of its Open Screen Project, Adobe dropped all such restrictions on the SWF and FLV formats. [cite web
title=Open Screen Project Press Release
url=http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/200804/050108AdobeOSP.html | publisher=Adobe Systems
] Implementing software which creates SWF files has always been permitted, on the condition that the resulting files render "error free in the latest publicly available version of Adobe Flash Player." [cite web | author=| title=Adobe Player Licensing: Flash Player Developer SDKs| url=http://www.adobe.com/licensing/developer | publisher=Adobe Systems | date= | accessdate=2008-01-21]

GNU has started developing a free software SWF player called Gnash under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Another player is the GNU LGPL swfdec.

ee also

*SWF & FLV Player
*SWF2EXE Software
*FutureSplash Animator


External links

* [http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/ Adobe Systems Flash SWF reference]
* [http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/pdf/swf_file_format_spec_v9.pdf SWF File Format Specification] (Version 9)

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