Adobe Edge Animate proves HTML5 is no substitute for Flash
Animation is handled via the Timeline panel, by specifying time-based keyframes and changing property values. It’s very different from Flash Professional’s frame-based approach and takes some getting used to, but it’s certainly more modern and, as programs such as After Effects show, can be just as powerful. However, the power of property-based animation clearly depends on the properties on offer, and those are disappointing.
There are other limitations. Without frames you can’t quickly create flick-book-style sequential animations, those “vector videos” with which Flash made its name. Neither can you create advanced effects such as animating along a custom motion path, shape-based tweening, 3D transforms, variable filter-based special effects or bone-based animation. It’s all pretty static for a dedicated animation package.
Older versions of Internet Explorer offer only spotty HTML5 support
Time to publish
At least Edge Animate offers the sort of universality that Flash no longer can, and your animation should appear as designed on Android, Kindle, BlackBerry and the all-important iOS, thanks to shared reliance on the WebKit layout engine that Edge Animate employs (plus the current most popular desktop browsers – Chrome on Windows and Safari on Mac – are also WebKit-based). But remember that WebKit isn’t the only target, because on the desktop there are Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer, along with their increasingly important mobile incarnations. Thankfully, the latest version of each offers advanced support for HTML5 so your project should render more or less as expected (but only more or less).
A bigger problem is that not all your site visitors will be using the latest versions and, in particular, older versions of Internet Explorer offer only spotty HTML5 support, while IE8 and earlier can’t render SVG at all. There are probably as many non-HTML5 desktop browsers as there are HTML5-only mobile browsers. There’s a partial workaround thanks to the ability to turbo-charge older IE releases using Google Chrome0 Frame. This just about enables Edge Animate to claim web universality and seize Flash’s crown, but asking visitors to download a plugin to view open content is both awkward and undesirable.