What’s the Difference Between Flash and Shockwave?

Flash and Shockwave allow Web sites to deliver the most engaging, compelling and interesting entertainment content on the Web. There are certain Web sites that require either Shockwave or Flash to be installed in order to view their content. For example, many online gambling sites require Shockwave to be able to play free slot games, etc.

As you may be too, I have always been confused about the difference between Flash and Shockwave. I mean, they both:

1.) Are technologies developed by Adobe Systems, formerly Macromedia Inc..

2.) Are plug-ins for Web browsers.

3.) Make use of ActiveX in Web browsers.

4.) Enable Web pages to include multimedia objects, such as graphics, video and animations.

However, when I thoroughly researched both of them, I found quite a few differences. Most of them are minor, but I never knew about them, so I figured we could sort them out together. Let’s go!

Adobe Flash

1.) Adobe Flash is widely spread, as many Web sites require Flash to be pre-installed. It allows designers to combine text, graphics, video and sound to create dynamic and immersive applications in a variety of fields, including interactive Web content and games.

2.) Flash loads comparatively faster than Shockwave.

3.) Flash allows designers and developers to integrate video, text, audio and graphics into their interactive presentations.

4.) Flash is also much cheaper than Shockwave, as it costs approximately $400.

5.) Flash works in the .SWF Flash format and it is part of the “SIMPLE” Scripting Level.

Adobe Shockwave

1.) Adobe claims that over 200 million Web users have installed the Shockwave player. Some of the features supported by Shockwave are 3D games, product demos and online learning applications.

2.) Shockwave is mostly used for online games and areas that require programming (as opposed to simple video clips or animations). It has the ability to move objects around as well.

3.) Shockwave has a special built in feature where it can integrate Flash into its own format (Flash cannot do that with Shockwave).

4.) Shockwave can only be created using the Adobe Director and it is part of the Advanced Scripting Language. Shockwave requires technical expertise as well.

5.) Shockwave is much more expensive than Flash, as it costs more than $1,000.

6.) Shockwave works in the .DCR Shockwave format, which is one that is much harder to decode/modify.

There you have it! Now you know all there is to know about Flash and Shockwave. Don’t you feel special?!

~Chetan P.