Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Animation Companion Online

I've ported my Animation Companion program for the web, so it now runs in your web browser. So now you can make animations in your web browser without having to download any software. It should work on the Mac and on Linux too, though I haven't tried it there yet. Due to the limitations of web browsers, I had to leave out some features like having the animations automatically update themselves when you change the underlying images (you have to manually replace the images with updated versions), support for PSD imports, and certain types of exports. The interface for saving files is also a little clunky (and might not work at all in Safari). Overall though, it's really close to the desktop version. So if you need to quickly throw together a sprite animation, you can just do it in your web browser now. There's no ads, there's no registration, and all the data stays entirely on your computer. It's just a simple, straight-forward animation app that runs in your browser.


For the past few years, I've been developing all my software using HTML5 for the user interface. The hope was that I would eventually be able to use the same code for both desktop applications and web applications. Unfortunately, there aren't any fully featured embedded web browsers that I could use for making desktop versions of my applications.

I developed Animation Companion as a desktop application. Even though I still used HTML5 for the UI, I was only able to use some of the UI features due to the limited functionality of the embedded web browser engine I was using. I was eventually hoping to port it to the web too, but I wanted to wait for a full-featured embedded browser to arrive, then I could rewrite the UI to use the newer features.

Unfortunately, there still isn't a full-featured embedded browser available to use, and I haven't had time to port one over myself, but since the UI code for Animation Companion was in HTML5 anyway, I thought I would take advantage of that fact and do that port. Making user interfaces in HTML5 is actually somewhat hard to do, so I might as well get some of the benefits of all that painful coding and make a web version available.

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