I remember the first time I saw something moving on a web site. Of course, it was an animated GIF. The “wow factor” associated with animated GIFs got many web designers at the time to add them to their web sites. Corporations adopted the technology more slowly than personal sites, but as animation progressed into Java applets and Flash plug-ins, companies around the world saw the usefulness of this eye-catching way to advertise.
Animation next evolved into DHTML, which opens menus, shows and hides objects, and supports the ideas required of a rich client. DHTML allows for more advanced application design, which eventually leads us to Ajax in animation.
Animation on the Web today takes many shapes and forms. We still see animated GIFs, Flash animation, Java applets and servlets, Shockwave, VRML, 3D metafiles, QuickTime VR files, video files (QuickTime, MPEG, AVI, etc.), and streaming video which can be live or recorded. Collectively, these comprise most multimedia on the Internet, notwithstanding music and images. Some of these types can be complicated to create, but others—especially with the right tools—are simple.
Not to gloss over most of these media forms, but the vast majority of them are not really related to the topic of this book. However, it is worth noting the role these media types have played in shaping the Web into what it is today. For instance, in 1997, I never imagined being able to watch live news feeds ...