What Are SWF Files?

by Contributor

SWF files are Shockwave Flash files. They are commonly known as Flash files. SWF files can mean the Adobe Flash Professional multimedia-authoring program and/or Adobe Flash Player.


SWF files are typically used in the creation of websites. They can deliver video, sound, vector graphics and text over the Internet. Other uses include small-button effects and animation.


The Flash player was created by Macromedia. Macromedia was later purchased by Adobe Systems Inc., which now distributes SWF files.


SWF is an openly published format, which means that developers can use the format without having to pay a licensing fee (although it does carry restrictions on its use). This type of format is commonly known as" open source" or "freeware."


According to Adobe, Flash player is used on 98 percent of Internet-connected desktop computers. Adobe also says it is used on more than 800 million mobile devices and handsets.


Adobe announced in 2008 that it was teaming up with Yahoo! and Google to enhance search engine indexing of SWF files. The goal is to make automatic searching rankings more relevant. Adobe said it would be making SWF files "first-class citizens" for searchable Web content, which means that search engines will be able to understand what is contained in rich Internet applications (RIAs) that were created with Flash technology.

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