The internet is a multi-media environment.
The web was originally conceived as a means of sharing text-based documents, but now websites regularly incorporate a number of different types of media including images, videos, audio recordings, animations, and games.
Typical File Formats
Media files can have many different file formats.
Common image file types include:
- .gif (which can be animated)
Common video file formats include:
Common file formats for audio recordings include:
Using Media Content on the Web
Media content can be used in a few differents ways:
- Streaming: This is the term use for media such as video and audio that is played as it downloads.
- Downloaded and embedded: Images are typically downloaded during the web page-loading process and embedded directly into the page.
- As an in-browser application: This method is typically used for complicated multi-media presentations and games which incorporate a lot of different types of media into a single experience.
Multi-media content, or content which incorporates several different media types into a single experience, can be delivered in a few different formats as well:
- Flash — Flash is an application platform that runs as an addon to browser. It can be used to build games and other types of highly-interactive experiences.
- Java — Java is an application platform that runs on many different types of computers and devices. There are Java plugins for most web browsers which allow Java applets to run in the browser.
The clear trend in multi-media web design is for native technology, which means HTML+JS. The other types of multimedia applications — Flash and Java — were useful when HTML and JS were not very advanced, and couldn’t provide the features needed. Now that HTML and JS (and web browsers) have advanced to the point where they can run serious applications, Flash and Java have fallen out of favor.
You will still run into Flash and Java apps online, but usually it will be on older websites.