Serious Flash Alternative using CSS3?

Sencha Animator

Although Adode Flash has improved performance-wise (arguably) recently and more people are upgrading to more powerful systems (desktops, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets and other mobile web hardware) – still flash cannot offer what the world has been looking for. That is – even better performance cross-platform, more openness and better security (to name a just a few). Obviously the blanket ban flash has been given from some Apple products (think Iphone/Ipad) is not helping.

For the past couple of years, web technology has exploded in terms of what can be achieved using JavaScript. Things have also moved forward with HTML and CSS. The terms used to describe these recent improvements are HTML5.

Apple has mentioned many times that flash is not needed and that “everything that can be done in Flash, can be done using HTML5” (that is – HTML, JavaScript, CSS and perhaps Canvas). They are not the first to say this (Apple usually pick-up on what other already know!).

With the Iphone and Ipad selling like hotcakes, web application providers previously using Flash (or considering using it) need to have a serious think about the user reach. They could do the old-fashion thing – build a Flash web application and an alternative HTML 4 one. Or they could build one in HTML 5. Now that’s a hard one!

There are various JavaScript libraries out there with some great UI. But one of the newest ones using the very latest technologies comes from the team that brought us EXT JS (now run by Sencha). It’s called Sencha Animator. Is Sencha Animator a serious flash alternative?

Sencha Animator comes as a desktop application used to create rich HTML5 animation. It’s currently in its infancy but could have real potential. There is one drawback at this point-in-time however; it requires a Webkit browser to work. This means it will work in Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Iphone, Ipad, Blackberry torch, Google Android and other Webkit based browsers. But it will not fully work in IE, Opera or Firefox. At least not until the CSS3 is fully supported (IE 9 claims support).

At this time, many of the CSS3 techniques used by Sencha Animator are Webkit only (i.e. it has things like: -webkit-text-fill-color and -webkit-transform).

Sooner or later all major browsers should support these… but just not yet.

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