From Platform Studies


Building the Interactive Web

By Anastasia Salter and John Murray

How Flash rose and fell as the world's most ubiquitous yet divisive software platform, enabling the development and distribution of a world of creative content.





How Flash rose and fell as the world's most ubiquitous yet divisive software platform, enabling the development and distribution of a world of creative content.

Adobe Flash began as a simple animation tool and grew into a multimedia platform that offered a generation of creators and innovators an astonishing range of opportunities to develop and distribute new kinds of digital content. For the better part of a decade, Flash was the de facto standard for dynamic online media, empowering amateur and professional developers to shape the future of the interactive Web. In this book, Anastasia Salter and John Murray trace the evolution of Flash into one of the engines of participatory culture.

Salter and Murray investigate Flash as both a fundamental force that shaped perceptions of the web and a key technology that enabled innovative interactive experiences and new forms of gaming. They examine a series of works that exemplify Flash's role in shaping the experience and expectations of web multimedia. Topics include Flash as a platform for developing animation (and the “Flashimation” aesthetic); its capacities for scripting and interactive design; games and genres enabled by the reconstruction of the browser as a games portal; forms and genres of media art that use Flash; and Flash's stance on openness and standards—including its platform-defining battle over the ability to participate in Apple's own proprietary platforms.

Flash's exit from the mobile environment in 2011 led some to declare that Flash was dead. But, as Salter and Murray show, not only does Flash live, but its role as a definitive cross-platform tool continues to influence web experience.


$27.00 T ISBN: 9780262028028 192 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 8 b&w illus., 2 tables


  • Despite the news otherwise, Flash is not dead. Rather, as Salter and Murray's book Flash: Building the Interactive Web shows, it lives on through its influence upon HTML5 and contemporary 'expectations of web content development.' This book, therefore, is a fascinating study of one of the most important platforms of artistic expression of the early twenty-first century. A must-read for all scholars and artists of digital media.

    Dene Grigar

    Associate Professor and Director of The Creative Media and Digital Culture Program, Washington State University Vancouver

  • Combining historical research, software studies, and a deep appreciate for digital creativity, Salter and Murray dramatically explore Flash—whose very ubiquity has heretofore made it transparent to media scholars—as the defining technology for a generation of artists, storytellers, game designers, and Web 2.0 companies.

    Mark Sample

    Associate Professor of Digital Studies, Davidson College; coauthor of 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10

  • Salter and Murray have written a much-needed book that documents the history of a vital cultural product. The authors do a terrific job of using Flash to cast light on a larger media landscape. Highly unique, this is the best and most provocative work I've encountered about emerging technologies since the publication of The Cyborg Handbook.

    Aaron Delwiche

    Associate Professor of Communication, Trinity University