Does anyone know any good alternatives for flash to do simple animations for web sites? Haven't had much luck with my googling.

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    How simple? Gif simple (you'd be surprised how nice an optimized palette looks)? Javscript + png simple? – Anonymous Jan 14 '10 at 2:57

Silverlight jumps out as a flash alternative.

The main thing that you need to remember is that your users need to be able to view it. If it's some obscure plug-in, no one is going to download or install it. Flash is the main event with Silverlight in a close second. You can do some cool stuff with HTML5 but not a lot of browsers support it even partially yet.

  • Interesting. Is there maybe a flash plugin that makes it quicker and easier to do simple animations? – user24734 Jan 14 '10 at 2:47
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    Flash is Flash. It's an Adobe product in a proprietary format owned by Adobe. If you want to design something in Flash, you need Adobe Flash Pro. If you want to design in Silverlight, there is an SDK and Visual Studio 2008 has some tools for that as well. If you want to just put a dirty animation up, perhaps the suggestion of an animated GIF is enough for you. – MDMarra Jan 14 '10 at 3:22

Responding to the comment on MarkM's answer: you can create Flash animations in lots of ways without using Adobe Flash. I like and own SWiSH Max 3 from SWiSHzone. It has most of the power of Flash, including scripting, for $99 US. They have even simpler and cheaper tools, depending on exactly what you need.

There are at least 10 other non-Adobe Flash animation creators, but I've only used Flash (including Flex) and SWiSH Max.


Gordon: An open source Flash™ runtime written in pure JavaScript (github.com)

Demos here.

  • LOL Great name for the project! It looks like it's still very young code. I haven't verified it but just by the looks of the code it doesn't appear to support older browsers (which makes sense, i guess, since they'll have to support SVG anyway). – nicerobot Jan 15 '10 at 15:37

Processing is excellent for creating animated visualisations. It runs on Java so you could embed it in a web page as an Applet. Alternatively, it has been partially ported to JavaScript/HTML5 as Processing.js.

  • My brother is getting into this and he's made some really cool stuff with it. Maybe I should have him teach me. – user24734 Jan 14 '10 at 21:18

Anonymous raises a good point. How simple? Do you program? Do you want to work with time-lines? Do you just need a bouncing ball or a spinner? Do you just want simple special effects on text? The type of animation, even simple, varies tremendously and your level of understanding of different techniques and approaches will also influence how best to approach the problem.

JavaFX will soon have a designer, will be incredibly easy to do animation, and is built on Java. The Java plug-in may not be as pervasive as Flash but it's, in my opinion, better than Silverlight. But i agree with CarlF that you might want to look for different ways to create Flash animations. There are tons of them. Without knowing the answers to the questions above, it's hard to answer your question. It might just take more googling and trying out everything you come across.

In my opinion, until most browsers support <canvas> and developers create designers for canvas/JavaScript, Flash is, and will remain, king.

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