like i always tell newbies,
if you wanna use flash, WHY DO U WANT TO USE IT, and WHO ARE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.
Flash is not for the web alone, offline presentation comes out better with flash than with powerpoint and if you learn action scripting, then the possibilities are endless
if it is for the web, Then know the consequences which is slow loading websites then you are fine.
to learn how to use flash, YIM me and i will show you the way to go.
This is not recommended for low-budget sites though. Low budget = Get the thing working and move on (dont even bother to add it to portfolio).
Designing websites in flash is not a crime as we all know, but the setbacks gives headache to me every time I think about it. You might wanna learn from my experience as I usually develop animations using GIF animation on fireworks or flash. In the case of flash, I always convert all .swf to .gif/jpg. I have not seen any free product of that without a watermark though.
If you need such softwares, let me know and I will supply you links.
My 2 cent
@poster, i am very good with flex builder (a flash development GUI), but due to our slow connections in nigeria, i have stopped using it online.
I only reserve it for intranet applications at least for now.
Designing websites in flash has it setback. I would strongly advice to design more using CSS and play around flash for uninformative stuff.
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My 2 cent