Delving deeper into animation

Thanks to your animated green stats chart, you're ready to take on some slightly more complicated requests: clients insisting on Flash development. As someone who got into web development through Flash in the 90s, a request for Flash development is no problem. Complain all you want, you have to admit, Flash sure can animate.

However, Flash does require a plugin and despite being the most popular desktop browser plugin out there, it's not always a good way to display core content you want to ensure everyone can see, much less essential elements such as site navigation. Plus, while it's the most popular plugin for desktop/laptop browsers, Flash is a "no-go" in Safari Mobile for iPhone and other WebKit-based browsers for most SmartPhones.

With all the advances of CSS and JavaScript support in browsers these days (especially mobile browsers), my first question for Flash requests is always: "Sure. First, tell me exactly what you'd like done, and we'll see". Sure enough, our client wants their main navigation panel animated.

Flash can certainly do this, but then so can jQuery, and when JavaScript is not an option, it will elegantly degrade into nicely styled CSS elements and in the worst case, with no CSS, the page will load our WordPress theme's clean, semantic XHTML into a text-only browser.

While there are plenty of ways to serve up Flash content and applications so they degrade elegantly into compliant HTML alternatives (and you should always offer these alternatives when working with the Flash player), why add that extra layer of development and complexity if it's not essential? The client doesn't need to serve up streaming video, or have custom cartoon characters animated, much less want an in-depth, multimedia slathered and mashed up Rich Interface Application (RIA). So, let's leave Flash for what Flash does best and use jQuery to enhance what our client's WordPress site already does best.

Luckily, the client is reasonable and willing to see what jQuery can do before we resort to Flash. Let's show them what their WordPress site is made of with a little jQuery inspiration.

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