The Unofficial Flash Page

Here is where I keep my short, sweet overviews of flash-related technologies.


AVM is the ActionScript virtual machine. It is similar in many respects to the JVM, being a platform-independent virtual machine that supports just-in-time compilation.


Tamarin is the open-source part of the AVM.


ActionScript is basically Javascript, plus a little bit. It shouldn't be viewed as learning another language, but rather learning javascript plus some new stuff.


This is the ActionScript binary code, a compact representation of ActionScript, embedded in a SWF file.


Flex is a framework for generating ActionScript. It is XML-based (FLXML to be exact), using tags and attributes, and generates ActionScript. It lends itself to rapid prototyping.


This is the Flash file format (it is said to have once stood for Shockwave Flash), and contains the resources (opaque blobs such as images, textures, etc.) as well as ABC.

Authoring Tools

There are three primary authoring tools.

  • Flash Pro is a free-form tool for generating ActionScript.
  • Flash Catalyst is design-oriented, and helps people lay out nice UIs. It generates FLXML as output.
  • Flash Builder is meant for data-oriented applications, and helps people create tools that operate on that data. It generates FLXML as output.


Here is an excellent page of flash security tools and information.