Adobe is not the only company preparing for the heralded death of Flash on the web. Sencha has announced the developer preview of a new CSS3-based animation tool for the creation of rich media animations in HTML5-enabled browsers. The new desktop application is said to allow developers to bring web animations to life without having to mess around with hundreds of lines of complicated code.
Like Adobe's Edge prototype, Sencha's Animator has been created with Webkit browsers and touchscreen mobile devices in mind. The Windows, Mac and Linux-friendly GUI-based desktop application features a timeline, parameter control windows and a resizable stage area. Objects such as text, images or shapes can be dropped into the stage area, properties configured and then previewed.
Single or nested objects can be moved, scaled, skewed and rotated in both 2D or 3D, and developers can add CSS3 stylings such as gradients, blurs, reflections and shadows. Sencha says that "best of all, Sencha Animator outputs pure CSS3 animation code, so it's hardware accelerated on Apple iOS, which creates incredibly smooth animations."
Two versions of the Animator have been created, an Ad Builder Edition and the currently available Standard Edition. They include all of the tools needed to create web content such as splash screens, motion graphics, kinetic typography and so on. Being CSS3-based also means that the technology is compatible with all of the major mobile platforms including Android and iOS. The Standard Edition license doesn't cover advertising applications though, so ad agencies will need to wait for the forthcoming private beta of the Ad Builder Edition.
Sencha says that the cost of the Animator Standard Edition is likely to be "in the low hundreds of dollars" and is currently ironing out some of the rough edges of the preview release ahead of final product release. There will be more CSS3 properties added too, like "a better color picker, a gradient maker, more complete backgrounds support and more complete text formatting properties." The company is also looking to grow beyond Webkit-based browsers.
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