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Sencha Pushes HTML5 Ads With Animator

Startup challenges Adobe with 'very different' perspective

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Sencha, a startup offering tools for creating content in the HTML5 format, is taking aim at mobile advertising with its latest product, Sencha Animator.

As its name suggests, Sencha Animator allows customers to create animated online content—for example, in banner ads. Aditya Bansod, Sencha's senior director of product management, says the launch expands the company's audience. Animator should be usable by designers at advertising agencies and elsewhere, rather than the more technical developer audience that Sencha has been courting thus far.

It's probably not a coincidence that Sencha is making this announcement at the same time as Adobe's big MAX conference in Los Angeles. HTML5 is often billed as an alternative to Adobe's Flash technology. Flash content, which powers many banner ads, doesn't work on mobile devices, and is famously not supported on Apple's iPhone or iPad. Adobe recently announced its own product for HTML5 ads, called Edge.

Bansod previously worked as a product manager at Adobe, and he says that both Edge and Sencha Animator are trying to tackle similar problems, but with "two very different perspectives." Edge relies more heavily on JavaScript, while Sencha Animator uses more CSS, which Bansod says should result in more consistent animation across devices.

Sencha plans to launch more products aimed at designers while continuing to release new versions of developer products like Sencha Touch. The company says its products are used by more than 1.2 million developers. Some of them use Sencha to build business apps, while others create services for consumers. The uniting factor, Bansod says, is a desire to offer "a complete story" for developers, rather than rebuilding content for each device. That story will get even more complete with Sencha Touch 2, which allows customers to repackage their HTML5 websites for smartphone app stores.

"What people really want out of the app store is not so much the native capabilities, but rather an alternate form of distribution," Bansod said.