On Mon, 30 Jun 2003, Daniel Mayer wrote:
Heavens no! Macromedia Flash is a proprietary software
users would have to install separately from their browser.
Animated GIFs are much better
Hopefully MNG (the animated version of the open source
format) will be supported by IE soon (users of IE need to install a
plug-in to see these last time I checked).
MNG support has been removed from new builds of Mozilla due to maintainer
issues; many Mozilla users will also need a plug-in shortly.
Both MNG and GIF are very limited, though. They're bitmap formats (don't
scale, and filesizes can be prohibitive for a large, attractive image on
dial-up connections), and allow little-to-no interactivity.
As far as Flash; theoretically the _format_ spec is open, and at one point
I regularly used a free software Flash plugin for Netscape on Linux. I
don't know if it's still maintained, since Macromedia started putting out
a binary version of their plugin for (some) Linux/Unix versions a couple
years ago and likely squashed development momentum.
leaves open even more exciting security bugs. (As may Flash...)
Most significantly, though, no animation format is going to be fully
accessible to vision-impaired readers or conversion to the printed page.
This means that any animation we might have needs to have the same
information presented in some alternate, text/print-friendly way.
Which makes the issue somewhat moot. Those who have the appropriate
support in their browsers can make use of pretty animations; those who
don't can make use of other formats. But it' a matter of authorial
discipline to make sure that all information is available, accessible, and
gracefully degrades where support is not available. (Better to think of it
as gracefully _improving_ where extra support is available: the raw text
should be the basis, and anything more is frosting on the cake.)
-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com