The Global Society For Digital Marketing Innovators (SoDA) and Adobe have joined forces to find talented young programmers who can "push the limits of HTML creativity by submitting their most imaginative HTML animation work using Adobe Edge Animate". Edge Animate is part of Adobe's new suite of web design tools that have met with a broadly favourable response within the industry.
The deadline for signing up for the SoDA HTML5-Off Challenge (Student Division) is 20 October (Saturday), and entries are due on 9 November. First and second place each award up to three Creative Cloud memberships per entry, and an iPad is added to the first-prize haul.
We asked Rich Lee, product marketing manager at Adobe, how vital it now was for students to get to grips with web standards when it comes to animation, given industry trends. "Understanding and knowing how to work with web standards gives new graduates a huge competitive advantage," he said. "The demand for HTML-based animation is growing every day because of the need for engaging experiences that can be viewed on virtually any size screen."
Naturally, there's a big software component in the SoDA challenge, rather than it being purely about standards-based animation. On Adobe's tool, Adobe product manager Sarah Hunt told .net that "using a tool like Edge Animate gives power to designers and developers to create web- and mobile-ready content in a native authoring environment". She added that designers often work in an "over-the-fence process with web developers", meaning that it's easy for design to "get lost in the translation to code", something Edge Animate can help with by creating "pixel-perfect content on a WebKit-based stage for HTML export".
Coding purists might take umbrage with that line of thinking. Indeed, Komodo Digital head of design and interaction Dan Edwards asked why you should choose Edge Animate "when jQuery can do it all", arguing that Adobe's software will "appeal to the point-and-click masses, but isn't cutting-edge". However, Flash game developer Iain Lobb said that "animators need a tool with a timeline, and [Edge Animate] brings that paradigm to web standards technologies", and web designer and developer Paul Mist suggested the tool was a suitable answer for those who "would rather not take on the cumbersome task of hand-coding sequences in a non-visual manner".
Ultimately, though, this challenge is about encouraging students to further embrace web standards in some way (a good thing) and be creative (also a good thing). "The SoDA HTML5-Off competition is a very broad, open-ended challenge and that is intentional. We fully expect to be inspired by the creativity of students from around the world using this new motion and interaction tool to create new forms of compelling, interactive content," affirmed Chris Buettner, SoDA's director of operations. "At SoDA, we recognise the importance of spurring continuous innovation and helping to develop the next generation of digital marketing talent. It's a topic of critical importance to the future of our member companies. As such, the HTML5-Off is just one of many initiatives SoDA will be spearheading in the coming months with leading digital marketing programs in Europe and North America."