How to make make cool interactive/artsy web pages for free?
August 8, 2004 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I want to make cool interactive/artsy web pages for free. How?

There are many sites that I find amazingly cool (eg here). They seem to use Flash or Shockwave, both of which seem to have commercial authoring tools.

Do any free, legal authoring tools exist? Is there a freeware equivalent that is at all popular? Thanks.
posted by andrew cooke to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
 
(I have access to Linux and Windows 2k machines, but not Macs)
posted by andrew cooke at 12:42 PM on August 8, 2004


With the possible exception of Java, I'd have to say that no, no free tools exist. Many of these tools are extremely sophisticated, and thus are pricey. However, keep in mind that Flash, a $500 program, allows you to do work that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars a few decades ago.
posted by tweebiscuit at 12:51 PM on August 8, 2004


Get good at JavaScript and xHTML and all that stuff. It's pretty robust (not Flash, mind you, but very flexible and useful stuff).
posted by jpburns at 1:05 PM on August 8, 2004


Apparently done without Flash. All XHTML and CSS.
posted by dobbs at 1:20 PM on August 8, 2004


People have done some beautiful/cool things using Processing, a "visual programming" framework for Java. It's currently pre-release, but even the completed version will be free software.
posted by Aaorn at 1:40 PM on August 8, 2004


thanks. i'm aware of xhtml + css, but that really isn't the way i want to go (eg animations).

i need to look at processing again - i was aware of it (and dbn), but didn't realise it could be used to generate dynamic images.

i've also turned up ming, which looks like it might be relevant and/or lead to new leads (i'm not at all bothered about a gui - emacs is just fine).
posted by andrew cooke at 2:26 PM on August 8, 2004


and swftools.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:32 PM on August 8, 2004


and javaswf. sorry for posting before looking this hard. i thought there would be a more obvious solution (none of these seem that popular).
posted by andrew cooke at 2:42 PM on August 8, 2004


Wax is a freeware video postprocessor that can generate some types of SWF files. Be sure to give it a spin - it's fun, easy to use and learn and fairly powerful.
posted by magullo at 2:45 PM on August 8, 2004


ming is pretty cool but bugilly buggy. I am using the perl version of ming for a relatively large project, and it's indispensable but I am fixing more bugs than I'd like to as I go along.
posted by neustile at 3:20 PM on August 8, 2004


and finally openswf.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:20 PM on August 8, 2004


ahem. I would never suggest that those pricey tools you mention—Flash and Shockwave—could be acquired for free. Of course, it isn't a crime to use someone elses computer and if that computer happens to have this software installed that is a bonus. Of course, there are also free trials available. The only thing you sacrifice when you don't own the software you use is the support.
posted by Grod at 5:09 PM on August 8, 2004


How about Swish? Several options, all under $100. Good luck!
posted by davidmsc at 5:37 PM on August 8, 2004


you can do alot with SVG and a text editor. oh, and javascript.
posted by darkpony at 6:41 PM on August 8, 2004


is svg going anywhere? i got the impression it hadn't caught on. swishmax does look good, and within my price range, though i'll probably try the other options first.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:09 PM on August 8, 2004


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