News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 2/18/98
The future of multimedia on the Web isn't just about vector graphics (although vectors are certainly essential). We're also seeing new compression technologies for video and audio that create amazingly small files--as small as 10-20K.
From: email@example.com (Humayun S. Lari);
Sent at Thu, 19 Feb 98 16:30:22 -0500;
The future of multimedia
This is a big deal. If web authors can use video and audio that have the same sizes as animated GIFs, coupled with good streaming capabilities, the limits become endless.
Today's holy grail is a solution that lets authors do everything, and do it well--using bitmaps, vectors, animation, video, sound, MIDI, 3-D, *and* VR. With interactivity and streaming over 28.8K modems, of course.
At the moment, QuickTime 3.0 looks closest to achieving this--one install and you get everything. It doesn't matter whether you're using Navigator or Explorer, Macintosh or Windows--it just works. And there are a ton of ways to get QuickTime--it might even be on your favorite music CD (if it's an Enhanced CD).
It doesn't help that Microsoft describes their new technologies as "Explorer" features; authors want to use Navigator too.
So, since this particular holy grail is tremendously intriguing to me, and my company creates apps, we're writing apps based on QuickTime 3.0.
From my perspective, the problem with scripting is picking the right "platform" for long term maintainability.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Seitz);
Sent at Thu, 19 Feb 1998 09:54:40 -0500;
Re: Scripters get no respect
- Perl makes it too easy to write unmaintainable code.
- All the TCL programmers are UNIX geeks.
- There aren't enough Python or Frontier developers around for me to have a good market to hire from when today's employee leaves.
The horrifying result is being forced to seriously consider Visual Basic.
Wow! I've never really seen flash in action. www.paulallen.com was pretty impressive. But it was very bloated compared to www.microsoft.com and www.zdnet.com. My calculations were as follows for how much data is transmitted to the browser for each site:
From: email@example.com (Earl Malmrose);
Sent at Wed, 18 Feb 1998 23:28:31 -0800;
So although www.paulallen.com was "flashy", the content came up much quicker on the other sites. And yes, I'm using a 28.8k modem.
QuickTime 3.0 includes a vector graphic codec, which means that any browser with the QuickTime plug-in will support vector graphics.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Saxton);
Sent at Wed, 18 Feb 98 09:13:57 -0800;
QT3 supports vector graphics
I've seen demos of this used with both stills and animations, but I haven't worked with it myself.
You and your readers are welcome to check it out at
A vector image sample is at
Happy Digging! :-)
IE 4 actually supports vector graphics with an ActiveX control. The authoring story is a bit painful but there is a WMF (metafile) converter. For a really cheesy demo look microsoft.com
From: email@example.com (Michael Winser);
Sent at Wed, 18 Feb 1998 12:02:41 -0500;
A site that makes excellent use of splash is http://www.gabocorp.com/ although I don't know how it looks on other browsers. On IE 4 I made it possible for windowless controls (ie, they don't have to be opaque rectangles) to get direct access to the rendering surface via DirectDraw. The result is that flash can antialias to the HTML behind it. Very cool.
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