How Web Animation Works

By: Tom Harris

Evolution of Web Animation

In its brief history, the Internet has been constantly and rapidly evolving. Part of this evolution has been driven largely by two opposing forces:

  • Internet authors and readers always want to be able to transmit more elaborate sorts of content over the Internet.
  • To reach most users, the file size for Web content has to be small enough to transmit quickly over standard Internet connections (telephone modems).

These factors have forced Internet innovators to come up with a number of clever tricks for delivering complex content over limited connections.


A Flash animation from our nuclear radiation article. This is a fairly complicated figure, but it fits in less than 7,000 bytes!

In the following sections we will look at how each technology and how they handle these competing forces.