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Hype 2.5: Tumult's 'love letter' update to its users is a triumph

Serenity Caldwell | Feb. 14, 2014
As someone who despised WYSIWYG software for most of her life, I found myself rather shocked to be enjoying Tumult's HTML5 web and animation software, Hype, when it first came on the scene in 2011. Our initial review praised the software for its excellent HTML5 animation and website-building tools, and the app has only gotten better over the last few years. Its latest update, which Tumult calls "a love letter to our users," makes an already fantastic piece of software downright essential for anyone who is interested in building complex, scaling HTML5 animations but is lacking in HTML, CSS, or Javascript expertise.

As someone who despised WYSIWYG software for most of her life, I found myself rather shocked to be enjoying Tumult's HTML5 web and animation software, Hype, when it first came on the scene in 2011. Our initial review praised the software for its excellent HTML5 animation and website-building tools, and the app has only gotten better over the last few years. Its latest update, which Tumult calls "a love letter to our users," makes an already fantastic piece of software downright essential for anyone who is interested in building complex, scaling HTML5 animations but is lacking in HTML, CSS, or Javascript expertise.

All hail flexible layouts
I had my first foray into building a website with responsive design back in 2012. From that experience, I learned far too much about scaling, device-widths, and all sorts of fun CSS rules that start with "@" and end with lots of pounding on a keyboard at 2:00 A.M.

In contrast to all that, Hype's responsive controls are almost laughably simple. To enable them, just check the Scale box under the document inspector, then use the Pins & Sizing controls under Flexible Layout. You can also adjust the way your elements scale when a window is resized by adjusting the Scaling Behavior dropdown: Choose to stretch your element, or preserve its aspect ratio by shrinking to fit or expanding to fill.

If you're an iOS developer, you might recognize the style of Hype's responsive design implementation; in fact, Tumult openly acknowledged taking a card from iOS's "Springs and Struts" model when building Hype's responsive tools. "Our users create all kinds of different content, from infographics to children's books, so we wanted a system that had been proven to work well on a wide range of documents," co-founder Jonathan Deutsch told Macworld in an email. "From a user interface perspective, the notion of pinning to sides seemed very straightforward, and with the example area users can immediately see how the element will behave."

That aforementioned example area is an excellent touch, and typical of the care and respect Tumult has for Hype's users. The app doesn't expect you to be familiar with responsive design or "Springs and Struts"; even if you've never dealt with it before, the example area quickly helps you start working responsively. The tools aren't perfect for every task — in the test animation I built, for example, I had trouble getting an absolutely-positioned element to scale but stay in the same place as the window was resized — but they're great for the majority of your basic responsive projects.

Not just for the Web anymore
From the start, Hype has been a pretty nifty program for building basic animations, but it was an HTML tool first and foremost; if you wanted to display your creation, you needed to host it online, and varying CSS browser standards meant that your viewers might not always have seen what you intended. This is no strike against Hype; the app tries very hard to make sure your project is fully cross-compatible for all computers and browsers. But depending on what you've built, it may not always succeed.

 

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