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Painting the Web by Shelley Powers

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Chapter 10. Dynamic Web Page Graphics

I stumbled onto the Bubblemark animation test site while writing this book. It’s a site set up for one purpose: to compare the performance on the same task between different Rich Internet Application (RIA) frameworks. What’s the task? Animating from 1 to 128 balls within a given box.

The systems compared were: dynamic HTML (DHTML, shown in Figure 10-1), Microsoft’s Silverlight (both the Common Language Runtime [CLR] and JavaScript), Adobe’s Flash (Flex) and Apollo, several variations of Java (including JavaFX and Swing), the older IE-WPF, and the very new Python-based Cairo. That’s a lot of user interface frameworks, including a couple I hadn’t yet heard about.

With all of these different styles to choose from, why am I only focusing on the first option, DHTML (with and without SVG/canvas) for this book?

Trying out the various test pages provides some explanation. Some of the options, such as Silverlight and Flash, require installation of plug-ins or other external libraries. Other options lack maturity, or the performance suffers when compared with DHTML.

My main reason, though, is because DHTML (or Ajax, or client-side JavaScript, or ECMAScript, or whatever you want to call it) is a framework for interactive and animated web page graphics that has been under development and refinement for over 10 years, with support in all of the browsers. Yes, even IE. Add in the non-proprietary nature of the technology, the addition of graphical cousins such ...

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