Bring Your Graphics to Life
By Jon Kaufthal (07/31/96)
ABC QuickSilver, from Micrografx, allows interactive vector graphics created using Micrografx Designer to be displayed on the Web. If you're tired of static graphics, download QuickSilver--it may be just the thing to bring your Web page back to life.
QuickSilver, which comes as both a Netscape plug-in and an ActiveX control, uses vector graphics rather than traditional raster graphics, resulting in several significant advantages. Because vector graphics are generally smaller than their rasterized counterparts, they make for quicker downloading. Additionally, vector graphics can be resized instantly (without help from the Web server) and without loss of image quality. One important disadvantage, however, is that vector graphics are typically less detailed than raster graphics.
In addition to its use of vector graphics, QuickSilver allows for interactivity within a Web page. Much like Macromedia's Shockwave plug-in, QuickSilver can make graphics change dynamically as the user hovers or clicks the mouse on certain areas. In addition to making visual changes to graphics, "hot" areas on a graphic can function as hyperlinks that take the user to new Web sites.
QuickSilver's capabilities are useful for creating interactive content. Diagrams can be configured to display relevant information when the mouse pauses above a particular area, or they can show frame-by-frame animations, whose pace is controlled by the user, without having to wait for the server to update the graphic.
For limited purposes, and for those comfortable with Micrografx Designer, QuickSilver will get the job done with ease. Still, it is far less powerful than the Shockwave plug-in, which remains the tool of choice for interactive Web graphics.
List price: Free
Requires: Windows 95, Netscape Navigator 2.0 or later, or Internet Explorer 3.0 or later