At the time of this writing, there aren't too many sites devoted to components, yet more and more sites are popping up on the Internet. Some developers create components and distribute them for free to help promote themselves. An increasing number of sites are beginning to sell components. Components can range from doing very small tasks such as powering a radio button to generating highly elaborate navigational systems of customizable games. The following is a list of places where you can find components:
Macromedia Macromedia's site hosts Flash Exchange. The link is dynamic. The easiest way to find Flash Exchange is to go the Products section at macromedia.com. Select Flash and then click on the Flash Exchange link. Flash Exchange features free components and a rating system so that you can get some idea of what other people think of the component. Since they are free, most of the components in Flash Exchange are modest in scope. You won't find previews for the components, but you can join a public forum for Flash Exchange where you can benefit from the knowledge of other component developers and component users.
Flash Foundry, Eyeland Studio Flash Foundry is a membership-based product. Members purchase access to components and other Flash resources. The components in Flash Foundry utilize a highly developed custom UI. You can preview the components and enter a public forum for support and information exchange. Flash Foundry also features very detailed interactive Flash tutorials that cover topics ranging from specific components to general tutorials that apply to any number of components. Flash Foundry is updated frequently with more components. Most of the components featured in this book are modified versions of components found at flashfoundry.com.
FlashComponents.com, Art Today FlashComponents.com is based on the same components and flash resources as the previously mentioned site. However, FlashComponents.com is operated by Art Today, the company behind clipart.com, photos.com, and rebelartists.com. FlashComponents.com has most of the same benefits mentioned above; however, from time to time members can also benefit from special offers for Art Today's other membership products.
Flashkit.com Flashkit offers several free components and smart clips in their free movies section. Flashkit does only rudimentary screening of the resources placed on their site, which means the quality of the resources can be somewhat unimpressive. However, free is free, and you usually get what you pay for.
Flashcomponents.net Flashcomponents.net is one of the first sites devoted to components on the Internet. The components are free, although some might have usage restrictions. Flashcomponents.com has previews, and the quality of the components are above average—particularly for a free site.
Games in a Flash Games in a Flash offers a growing collection of component-based Flash game engines for licensing. The games are customizable via the components, and the graphics and audio in the games can be edited to customize the look of the games. The game engines come with interactive Flash tutorials that demonstrate how to customize the games.
Methinks Methinks offers a small collection of components for Flash that generate special effects such as rotation, zoom, and fading.
Not listed above are personal sites that offer free components (although many of those same components are available at flashcomponents.net or Flash Exchange). There is no shortage of free components on the Internet, but the trade-off is that they usually do not utilize user-friendly, custom user interfaces, and there is usually no guarantee of any kind of support. Components that you pay for are typically held to a higher standard, and they almost always come with at least some level, if not multiple levels, of support (such as tutorials, built-in help information, FAQs, forums, e-mail support, and even phone support).