Hype 1.6 makes HTML5 animation creation even easier

Tumult on Monday released Hype 1.6, a significant update to its tool for authoring and animating HTML5 creations that don’t require Flash. The new iteration of Hype adds support for CSS filter effects, improves the software’s action system, and introduces support for Retina-display Macs.

Tumult co-founder Ryan Nielsen told Macworld that by adding support for CSS filter effects, Hype continues its tradition of supporting “the bleeding edge of Web standards,” claiming that “Hype is the first app which natively supports” such effects. Those effects make possible “a whole new world of possibilities for HTML 5 animations,” Nielsen said.

The enhancements to Hype’s action system are numerous: One significant addition is the introduction of Timeline Actions—animation events triggered at specific times. Previous versions of Hype only allowed users to program events to occur in sequence or after specific user actions (like mouse clicks or key presses). With Timeline Actions, users can script more nuanced interactions.

Actions can also be chained together in sequence, allowing multiple actions to execute in sequence, which Nielsen says “eliminates many reasons [Hype] users needed to resort to JavaScript to build complex animations.” And Hype 1.6 adds new actions—for pausing or resuming playback and for jumping to specific points on a timeline. “These new actions unlock entirely new ways of composing animations,” Nielsen said.

Hype 1.6 adds new JavaScript APIs as well. “While one of Hype’s goals is to try and ensure users never need to code JavaScript to create their desired animations,” Nielsen said, “we also know that a rich set of JavaScript APIs enables users who know JavaScript to create wonderful and complex animations.”

The new version of Hype is also sandboxed, as a requirement of remaining available in the Mac App Store.

Other new features in Hype 1.6 include a Capo tool, layout guides, a document head editor, and a Resource Library.

Hype’s pitch to Web developers and designers hasn’t changed much since the software’s initial introduction: Flash avoidance. And that’s truer now than ever: “The biggest reason to purchase Hype is that Adobe has basically discontinued Flash, and Flash isn’t viewable on most smartphones and tablets” anyway, Nielsen said. To create what he calls “engaging and beautiful Web content” that works across all modern browsers and devices, HTML5 is the only option, and Nielsen said that of course Tumult believes that “Hype is the best HTML5 creation app.”

Of course, Hype’s developers feel that developers and designers aren’t the limit of their target audience. “Anyone who knows how to use Keynote or PowerPoint will feel at home with Hype,” Nielsen said. “With every Hype release, we try hard to eliminate any code needed,” he added, explaining his belief that Hype’s interface offers the ability for users to create complex animations without using code—animations he says are more complex than non-developers could create with competitor Adobe Edge.

Speaking of Edge, Nielsen unsurprisingly believes that Hype bests it and other competitors (like Sencha Animator) in a number of ways, with special emphasis on browser compatibility. Different browsers display the same Web code differently, and working around or accounting for those differences is a challenge for all Web developers. “Hype is the only HTML5 animation tool which strives to support every browser,” Nielsen said. “We poured a ton of energy into making Hype content look great on all browsers, including IE 6.” And when compatibility is simply impossible, Hype warns users that the content will look different in certain browsers.

Hype 1.6 is a free upgrade for existing customers via the Mac App Store, and $50 for new buyers. A free trial is available from Tumult’s website. The app requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later.

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