Web animation technology question

Subject: Web animation technology question
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 06:36:56 -0400


I've lost the battle. We are going to have a small, brief, animation on our home page. My goal is to make it as painless and unobtrusive as possible. In terms of the design, we're pretty well set on what it's going to be; and it involves moving words and geometric shapes (How original!).

I'm going to farm out the execution to a freelance, but I want to ensure that I am asking for the right thing.

Mr requirements are:

1. This must be compatible with the vast majority of browsers, as delivered with new computers (that is, without the _user_ having had to download any fancy plugins). Our target audience--the only people we care about, really--consists of senior executives of major corporations. So they are likely have the latest laptops with lots of bells and whistles and are using IE 6. I just don't know what plugins ship by default with such computers these days.

2. If the user does not have a compatible plugin, I want to degrade gracefully to static art rather than challenging the user to download the damn plugin. So I probably need some code on the page to detect that condition, but I'd like this code snippet to be part of the deliverable, unless you want to point me to a URL where I can grab it myself.

3. If it is technically feasible, I'd like the words that are animated to be pulled from a {file|database table} so we can vary them over time rather than having to go back to the freelance for rework.

4. If it is technically feasible, I'd like to be able to alter things like font face, size, and color for particular text strings--again in an external text file or database table--and have that information used dynamically by the animation.

Given that wishlist, what technology should I be asking for? I mean, it's probably going to be something that is either Flash or one of its cousins, but which cousin in particular, and what is the minimum or oldest version compatible with those requirements?



PS: I am not soliciting bids on techwr-l. When I get the above questions answered satisfactorily, I'll be posting the project on a bid site, where I anticipate the winning bid will be less than anyone here would do it for.


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