Flash started out as a proprietary animation solution by Macromedia, inc. as a software studio which enabled animators and developers alike to collaborate on rich, interactive media objects which could in turn be embedded in a web page and displayed within a standard web browser.
The Flash technology always enjoyed a strong niche following on the web, with a loyal developer, contributor and user base, however it was Adobe's 2005 acquisition of Macromedia  which infused the Flash technology with new life, as it re-emerged as an entire rich media platform of its own, still designed for delivery over the web and standard browsers, but with many more capabilities and a larger scope. Entire applications could now be created using the Flash and Adobe ColdFusion combination.
- GoToAndLearn - Excellent Flash Video Tutorials (with objects and source code): http://gotoandlearn.com/
- Adobe Acquires Macromedia: http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/200504/041805AdobeAcquiresMacromedia.html