How did they do that? How to deconstruct websites and Flash files

When viewing a stellar website or multimedia project, most people want to know how they did it. A lot of it is having a good eye for online technologies, but there are some tools that will help you discern how the site was put together.

One of the quickest ways to see the inner workings of a site is to scan the source code. In Firefox or Internet Explorer select “View” from the file menu and choose either “Source” or “View Source.” A text document with the source code of the website you are viewing should appear.

An easier alternative is to use the site BuiltWith. Simply enter the web address of the site you are interested in and BuiltWith will tell you what elements are used on the site. For example, here are the elements that make up the 10,000 Words (Hint: Blogger, Flash, Feedburner, Google Custom Search and CSS, plus other things.)

Deconstructing a Flash file is not as simple, but there are tools like Sothink’s Flash Decompiler and Eltima’s SWF Decompiler that convert SWF files to FLA files. Both are free to try.