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The file format[1] SWF, has variably stood for "Small Web Format" or "Shockwave Flash". It is a partially open repository for multimedia and vector graphics, originating with FutureWave Software and then coming under the control of Adobe. Intended to be small enough for publication on the web, SWF files can contain animations or applets of varying degrees of interactivity and function.

SWF currently[update] functions as the dominant format for displaying "animated" vector graphics on the Web. It may also be used for programs, commonly games, using ActionScript.

SWF files can be generated from within several Adobe products: Flash, Flex Builder (an IDE), as well as through MXMLC, a command line application compiler which is part of the freely available Flex SDK. Other than Adobe products, SWFs can be built with open source Motion-Twin ActionScript 2 Compiler (MTASC), the open source Ming library, the free software suite SWFTools, the proprietary SWiSH Max2. There are also various third party programs that can produce files in this format, such as Multimedia Fusion 2, Captivate, SWiSH Max or BannerSnack.

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