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bones with quaternions, and vertex shaders

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I''m thinking of using a quaternion based bone system. Is this an ok way to do things: For each vertex, interpolate the bone quaternions with the weights then convert the result to a matrix. I''ve never used vertex shaders before, but it seems like I need them here. Is having a different matrix per vertex possible/practical? Would I be better off just converting each quaternion to a matrix and then use vertex blending with the weights and matrices? Secondly, I''m thinking of adding a length to each bone which can be animated and constrained for physics just like the rotation of the bone. The idea is to make the bones more versatile. eg. I could have a chest of drawers object where each drawer is influenced by its own bone. The drawer bones could be fixed in orientation (pointing out to the side) but have freedom to change length along a range, so the drawers can slide out. I havn''t figured out IK yet, so I''m just wondering whether the length will complicate things too much. If so would only allowing freedom in rotation OR length help?

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