Animated GIFs are not the only way of putting animations on the internet, other formats are available. Dynamic HTML, Flash, Shockwave, Quicktime, Realplayer and Silverlight offer ways of putting more advanced animation in a webpage.

Dynamic HTML allows a website to modify itself and animate itself depending on the situation. One of the advantages; it only loads the sections of the pages that need to be changed so saving time and it does not need plug-ins.However it has its disadvantages; the software required to use dynamic HTML can be very expensive and not all internet browsers support it.

Flash is one of the most popular animation formats used on the internet, it is used to power websites such as ‘YouTube’. Flash has advantages; it is installed on almost all internet browsers worldwide, and offers a range of features including fully interactive website features as well as animation and video, but it also has some downsides; it is updated very frequently which can make some websites flash animations out of date and requires users to update regularly, and videos have to be converted from a normal video format such as ‘.wmv’ or ‘.avi’ to the format that flash players use ‘.flv’ and ‘.swf’

Shockwave is an animation format that allows people to crate and play interactive applications and games on a website. The ‘pros’ of shockwave; shockwave allows users to create detailed and complicated games and utilities for use on a website. However it does have disadvantages; shockwave requires the web browser to have various plug-ins installed such as ‘Active-X controls’.

QuickTime is a multimedia format developed by ‘Apple’ mainly for use on it’s computers but also available on Microsoft’s ‘Windows’. It is often imbedded into websites to run multimedia such as video and music but has lost favour as Flash begins to take hold. Quicktimes advantages; Large video files play quickly and use buffering to allow the video to play while it is loading, and QuickTime players are free to download and install on a website.Quicktiem’s disadvantages; they require videos to be streamed from a server to the user, they have a lower quality than other more modern formats such as flash.

RealPlayer is a collection of multimedia formats and a multimedia player, ‘RealPlayer’, that is available for most operating systems. Advantages; it plays the formats designed for it (.rm and .rmv) files perfectly without any errors and it is freely available to download. Disdavantages; it can be very slow and it can lag when loading other multimedia formats and often requires a reasonably good computer to run it reasonably.

Silverlight is a multimedia animation format released by Microsoft and is very similar to Flash in it’s uses and functions. Silverlight does have some advantages; it support cross domain applications and the plug in is only 1MB. But it also has disadvantages; it requires a plug in that not all computer and browsers support and having to download a plug in often puts people off.


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