Flash or Adobe Flash is a platform for adding multimedia to websites such as images, animation, sound and video. It is owned by Adobe and can be found on just about any web browser as an add-on. The format was born out of a need for rich media on the web at a time when web browsers where limited to static images or simple animated GIF files.
Flash started as a simple way to create vector graphic animations for the web and is still used for this purpose but today Flash is a highly sophisticated package with its own programming language (Actions Script), video formats and various versions for all popular operating systems and browsers.
Although it is strongly associated with vector graphics, the format can be used for displaying bitmaps too as well as video and playing music for that matter. Many websites use the format for rich media such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer for delivering video.