Tag Archives: HTML5

Ajax Animator

A few months ago I wrote about a necessity for HTML5’s success: a design tool similar to Flash.

Well, here it is: Ajax Animator. Test it:

  • standalone,
  • on Chrome Web Store
  • or on Google Labs’ new service, Shared Spaces which aims to give a home to Wave extensions once Wave sadly dies its untimely death.
  • Google Code, available in SVN repository.

What HTML5 needs to replace Flash?

Much is today said about HTML5. What is HTML5 precisely? HTML5 is Web 3.0. It’s integrated web video, it’s canvas, it’s SVG, it’s CSS3, it’s do-sickening-things-with-CSS3. It’s more Javascript technology and numerous Javascript objects than particularly interesting new HTML tags. (Apart from various special input element types.)

Yet, in this context, let’s consider HTML5’s potential for the so-called “rich content” — that is, let’s just consider how we could create animations and toons similar to what can be done with Macromedia Adobe Flash.

Flash is currently ubiquitous. Not because people love having another plugin in their browser; those aware of a concept of plugin don’t like having yet another plugin. Especially not the one that slows page loading; let’s remember Java applets. User doesn’t like browsers that crash; Flash Player can cause that to happen. User doesn’t like slow speeds that Flash Player delivers.

So who actually likes Flash? Content producers. Flash is an extremely likeable tool once you get to know it, and animation production is very rapid. It’s the RAD tool of web animation. Combine a true artist, skill in a pixel-based art tool (GIMP, Photoshop, PhotoPaint) and Flash, and you get one of those truly artistic movie web sites. Personally I hate the experience of those sites, but I admire the artists and designers who created the experience*. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of talent, all possible because you don’t have to have a geek programmer in the team, all possible because you don’t have one who’d say “Yeah, sorry, I can’t do that in Javascript that easily.”

That’s the key thing. You don’t need a geek to implement the animation. With Javascript animation, one could see a lot of cool stuff, “proving” that HTML5 is as good for animation as Flash. In fact, one can already find Smokescreen, a really awesome piece of engineering work that implements a Flash player with Javascript.

However, apart from Smokescreen, which again plays with Flash, every single Flash-like animation was tediously coded by a geek programmer. JQuery may make stuff simpler, but it’s not designer-material!

HTML5 animation needs proper authoring tools.
There is a market for HTML5 animation authoring tools.
Layers, tweens, reusable “symbols”, grouped “symbols”, vector elements, bitmap elements, at least basic early-Flash-style event handlers .. Give designers that, and they may jump on the Flash-less train.

In fact, even a geek like me will prefer using Flash, because doing HTML5 animation is tedious. Flash, despite being ruined compared to its early days, reigns as a creation tool.

I’m even willing to privately pay for an HTML5 animation tool. Not too much, but I’m willing.  Someone out there to snatch my cash? (Apart from Adobe, I don’t like them as a company.)

* I admire Flash artists — except those that create ads, I hate Flash ads passionately

Image courtesy of GretemanGroup.com/blog and FlashInYourFace.com