Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
As it pertains to computer technology, Flash is a browser "plug-in" (software embedded in a web page) that allows a page to display video, animation, enhanced image viewing, and provide more user interactivity. Flash allows web developers to create more interesting and usable presentations and programs. The Flash plug-in has become less prevalent as more of the technology is built-in. The drawback of Flash is that it requires additional software installed on the local computer, and some platforms (such as the iPod and iPad) prefer users disable plug-ins that might cause corruption or provide functionality that they do not want performed on their platforms.
Genealogy researchers are likely to encounter Flash on various websites, including some FamilySearch applications. For the most part, Flash functions invisibly, and users are typically unaware of the functionality unless they do not have it installed on their computers or if the software needs updating. Where Flash has not been installed nor built-in, users may have to download it from the Internet. Flash is a product of Adobe Systems and can be downloaded without charge. Websites that use Flash may recognize when Flash in not present and send a Flash pop-up window, providing a direct link for download. Many websites, aware that not all computers have Flash capability, may offer Flash and non-Flash presentations.