Site Animation - JavaScript Libraries vs. Flash

Since the advent of JavaScript libraries, like JQuery, script.taculo.us, and others, animating a site without Flash has become much easier.  Animation on a website has forced designers and developers into a bit of a conundrum;  Flash logoWhich technology to use to best suit one's audience.

Flash had been the precedent when it came to advanced animation and interactivity. The use of vector imagery through Flash allows web producers to create some very impressive visuals.  The issues with Flash is the reliance upon an application extension.  It is something that customers or users do not always have.  With the growing population of mobile users this has become more of an issue.

Now with JavaScript libraries it is possible to efficiently create similar animation without these jquery logoissues.  One can utilize HTML elements and animate those elements.  This is a major SEO improvement as the code can be easily read by search engines.

Google has now made it much easier for us to take advantage of these tools with their centralized set of libraries. A developer can use these libraries knowing that users will experience miniscule load times.  The benefit is that a user may already have these files cached from another site.

If one decides to use Flash on the web, use SWF Object to implement. It is optimized and more flexible than other Flash embed methods (read more). Also be aware that Microsoft has an alternative Silverlight.

Further reading: SWF Object Transparencies

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