Modern Website Animation

18 May 2012

Modern website animationAnimation is fantastic. It takes a static (and sometimes boring) page and brings it to life. But website animation took a major hit in the ribs over the course of the last 3 years. Originally stemming from a game of chicken between Apple and Macromedia and ending in a re-working of the way we play animations and videos over the Internet.

Let me explain.

Since the earlier days of the Internet, the standard way of producing website animations has been Macromedia Flash. It required the website viewer to have Flash installed on their machine in order to watch or view the animation and would often take some time to load. Even YouTube (in its earlier days) ran on Flash. But with the introduction of the iPhone, Apple set out to emphasise that Flash was a dated technology and that the Internet needed to move on to more practical methods. That’s all very well, but every site that contained Flash suddenly became un-viewable on iPhones (and soon to be iPads).

So what’s the alternative that Apple were so keen on? Well, unlike Flash, it was an open-source set of rules that were becoming popular on the web called HTML5. HTML5 enables a whole range of capacities on websites. One of which is animation that will play across all platforms – WITHOUT the need to install software on the computers. It makes more sense, but is frustrating to the already-built Flash websites (especially the really good ones!).

Some of our team trained in Flash animation at University, so they mourn the passing of such a vintage and classic technology. However – even they admit that the new ways make more sense. But in short, any websites that contain animation and interactivity will be using a number of methods: HTML5, Javascript and others – but one thing is for sure, they won’t be using Flash! Sorry Macromedia, Apple won the battle this time.