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Flash Comes To the iPad Via RipCode

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the around-the-maginot-line dept.

Cloud 117

suraj.sun writes "Texas-based company RipCode has announced a new 'clientless Flash video codec' that will allow Flash content to be streamed on Apple's iPad. This would include sites like Hulu and YouTube, assuming the respective companies don't find a way to block it. According to RipCode's press release, the TransAct Transcoder V6 captures the iPad's request for Flash content and converts it into a special format that the device accepts and plays. This is all done without a local client or user intervention. 'RipCode's Transactional Transcoding platform enables an alternate and immediate solution to this issue, opening up video content to users without requiring the content hoster to move to HTML5 or pre-transcode entire video libraries from Flash to an iPad-accepted container format. By transcoding the content "in the cloud," it is essentially analogous to a network-based Flash to MP4 or MPEG-TS video adaption layer.'"

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This meets all of Apple's requirements except one (3, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843554)

Killing flash.

Thus, I'll expect they'll patch in a way to detect and block this ASAP.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843586)

Who cares really? Even macworld [macworld.com] says the iPhad is crap.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843736)

No, Ben Long doesn't like it. Not what you said

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

ccarson (562931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843940)

If you don't already own a Kindle and an iPhone, iTouch, Droid or Nexus One, the iPad is cool and you should get it. Otherwise, save your money because the aforementioned does everything you want.

The iPad isn't all that revolutionary folks. It's just a tablet laptop.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31844288)

Is it really fair to call it a laptop? I mean with a laptop you can install whatever software you might want.

This is more like a Tablet FucksYourFreedomInTheAss (FYFITA). The new Apple iFyfita, because it has what consumers crave.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844568)

If you don't already own a Kindle and an iPhone, iTouch, Droid or Nexus One, the iPad is cool and you should get it.

You a far cheaper netbook...

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843958)

This one person doesn't speak for MacWorld. He is a contributor (right up there with blogger). If you actually read the piece, he obviously dislikes the small screen. He reiterates that point many times in many different ways, meaning he won't be satisfied with any small screen for regular day to day use. The article is more of a piece about the wasted time trying to do real 'work' on a small screen than a statement about the iPad itself.

As to the article summary, they should realize that YouTube already pushes H.264 to Apple mobile devices.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847134)

This is a total crock. The size of the screen is a very minor complaint for what he talks about. He spent a great deal of time trying to just absorb media on the damn thing, and he discovered constantly that the screen was too glossy to watch video and too bright to read books on. It's a pain in the ass to browse the web because you still have to pinch-zoom in order to get to any links. And that's in addition to how useless it is for doing work. Apple considered the possibility of doing work on the iPad to be enough of a market to port iWork over to it, so don't dismiss its shortcomings there, either.

What Ben Long discovered is that the iPad is useless for anything other than prostrating yourself in front of Steve Jobs, and it's not because of the screen size. The iPad succeeds at being a gigantic iPhone, and nothing else.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847532)

All he discovered is he prefers a laptop. I would imagine some people feel the same about a laptop, a desktop, or a smartphone. To imply his experience will equate to the millions that will be sold is a bit farfetched.

Some of his statements are pedantic to the extreme. "Too much effort" to swipe a finger instead of hitting a spacebar?

"Too much effort to look down"? or somesuch nonsense?

The only thing I read into this, is that he disliked the idea of it before he even tried it, and lo and behold, he found what he expected to see. There is nothing wrong with this as everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. I just find it interesting that someone will place such value in someone else's personal tastes. The parent went so far as to proclaim that MacWorld itself hated the device, which is obviously not the case.

I love Apple products, but I have no use for an iPad. I have a smartphone and a laptop. I have no need for something in between. I dont' want one. Not for any flaw I might find in the device, but it simply doesn't fit my needs. Rather than buying it anyway and proclaiming it was awful knowing it doesn't fit my needs, I simply chose to pass it by. This contributor obviously didn't approach it in that fashion. It is a bit disingenuous to portray an open mind when from the very first sentences, he makes it very obvious he had an intense dislike of the screen size.

"It's just me, my iPad, and an actual usable device, my trusty 13-inch MacBook"
" As always, the page loaded quickly and looked great, for a smallish screen. Oh wait, I forgot, we don't compare the iPad screen to something reasonable like a 13-inch MacBook screen"
"Soon, though, the thrill of the Imax-like-by-comparison-to-the-iPhone screen was tempered by the hassle of trying to compare items on multiple Web pages."
"In addition to not being able to place pages side by side, switching between pages involves multiple taps, separated by a scan of a bunch of tiny thumbnails."
"But even this is a lot of work. A lot more work than merely pressing the spacebar every time I want to advance by a screenful. Instead, I have to swipe, and hope that the screen scrolls far enough, but not too far. "
"Fortunately, there's no TV in my current location, so I don't have to wonder why I would watch a tiny iPad screen instead of a TV."

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (4, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843592)

This could actually hasten the demise of flash (assuming that's actually going to happen at all...), if the format it transcodes into is universally playable.

On the fly transcoding every time a piece of content is accessed seems is a fairly excessive load on the server, so presumably the videos are either pre-transcoded en masse or transcoded on demand and then cached for future access.

In either case, the content provider is left with a pile of flash videos and a separate pile of videos in this new format (site seems to be down, so I can't check what that actually is). If the mystery format is, in fact, playable on non-Apple devices there's no real reason for them to keep hold of the flash versions - why serve two copies if the iPad version does fine for PCs as well?

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843612)

This could actually hasten the demise of flash (assuming that's actually going to happen at all...)

Just like the iPad is already changing the face of the Internet(assuming that's actually going to happen at all...)

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846968)

If by "changing the face of the internet" you mean "can only view web sites that use no Flash at all" then I think you have nailed it right on the head.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (3, Insightful)

mikerz (966720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843720)

Why? All it does is remove any incentive for ad agencies to switch to HTML 5. Again, you need to think bigger than flash video, for the most part digital ad agencies practically breathe flash and very often develop simultaneous desktop/web deployed applications with it (Zinc, AIR).

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843744)

Given that most flash videos are actually mpeg 4 or h264, but wrapped up, it probably wouldn't put major load on a server to "transcode" on the fly –all they need to do is recontain the video.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (4, Insightful)

chdig (1050302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843830)

Flash's demise will have nothing to do with something as inconsequential as RipCode. Let's be clear on what RipCode is: a Flash video replacement. What it isn't: Flash.

You know all those websites created in Flash, with Flash menus and Flash fonts, etc? You know, the ones with something called ActionScript going on deep down where you interact with the website... well, Ripcode doesn't even begin to replace them, it only replaces Flash video.

Now, RipCode may provide a stop-gap solution for displaying video until HTML5 fully arrives, but a Flash replacement it ain't. A strange (on-demand video re-encoding at the server??) temporary solution that will be obsolete in a year, it is.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844020)

Also, the Flash "studio" tool, used to create Flash, will probably be around for a while. They'll update it to output HTML5 and designers will continue to use it.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844334)

Exactly. Many people don't notice, and would be perfectly happy, not to have the flash sites where menus do unexpected things and objects float around and otherwise don't let you get anything done.

And fonts are so 1990. Most of us are so over being wowed by the fact that a site has 10 fonts that should have never been allowed to be on the same page.

About the only two things that most people see as useful flash is watch movies and, maybe, google finance and the like. For kids the flash games are important. Most users would be perfectly happy with the former in a non-flash wrapper, since the only reason it is to provide some primitive form of DRM.

But, really, without the movies flash could go away and many would never notice. Except, of course, for the ad agencies.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31844768)

You know all those websites created in Flash, with Flash menus and Flash fonts, etc? You know, the ones with something called ActionScript going on deep down where you interact with the website...

Yeah, you know, the websites that cause me to reflexively hit the "close window" button on my browser...

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31845066)

> You know all those websites created in Flash, with Flash menus
> and Flash fonts, etc? You know, the ones with something called
> ActionScript going on deep down where you interact with the website.

No, actually, I don't know them. It's been years since I saw a use of Flash that wasn't either Yet Another YouTube Clone, or a chintzy game along the lines of Farmville or Zuma.

People who play Farmville and so forth are, as a rule, either several decades too old to be part of the target market for the iPad, or several years too young to have their own computing device (other than a phone; even preschool kids are running around with their own phones). Young people who are old enough to have their own computing device mostly use installed games that don't require Flash, or consoles, or else they don't play computer games because they're too busy updating their MySpace relationship status.

As far as the iPad is concerned, that leaves YouTube and things like it.

(Not that I think RipCode is particularly relevant. If it's not installed out of the box, people are going to year that "YouTube doesn't work on the iPad", and either they'll care about that or they won't. If YouTube is a big deal to them, they won't buy the device, and if it's not, then they won't need RipCode.)

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (2, Informative)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847114)

(Not that I think RipCode is particularly relevant. If it's not installed out of the box, people are going to year that "YouTube doesn't work on the iPad", and either they'll care about that or they won't. If YouTube is a big deal to them, they won't buy the device, and if it's not, then they won't need RipCode.)

Except YouTube does work on the iPad (and iPhone).

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848002)

Here's why I use Flash on the sites I build:

    audio and video

Everything else (menus, non-web fonts, slideshows, and other eye candy) can be done, quickly and easily, with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These technologies fail gracefully, are readable by search robots and blind people, and don't require a $700 IDE to edit.

So yes, there's a lot of sites which use Flash for user interface and Rich Internet Applications. But cross-platform video and audio playback has been the killer app for a lot of us, and we'll be quite happy to switch to HTML5 media just as soon as MSIE supports it.

(Which reminds me, when will Adobe join forces with Microsoft to cripple IE9?)

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843848)

For a substantial percentage of "flash videos" I would suspect that no real re-encoding is necessary. Ever since Flash 9.something, the Adobe flash player has been able to decode h.264. A fair few "flash based" streaming sites took them up on that pretty quickly. The .swf blob just provides some widgets for playback/volume/time slider, and pulls the video from some URL(usually found in the page source, sometimes obfuscated a bit). Even before 9.something, the prior .flv format, while not as standard s h.264, is publicly understood and playable(just as VLC). In all these cases, and they cover a large area, the only real challenge is working past the weak obfuscation, if any, to find the actual source URL for the video, which is already in a workable format, and just grabbing it. For individual video capturing use, "View source" and a couple minutes of thinking is usually sufficient, with Wireshark and a filter looking for HTTP GET requests waiting in the wings if that doesn't work. If you want to release a product, though, it has to work automatically, preferably without you dedicating employees to manually building per-site rulesets that the app has to pull down on a daily basis. That could be a bit tricky, so it would be interesting to see how they do it.

Adobe does offer some slightly more sophisticated and DRM-y streaming delivery methods, for those delivering their precious "premium content" via flash(and I have no idea what the RipCode guys are planning to do about that, since, even if solving that one is technologically trivial, it is almost certainly DMCA-violating). Most of the guys in the cheap seats don't bother, since just serving a .swf and a .mp4 from any commodity webserver is way cheaper than using Adobe's "secure streaming solutions" and, if you are one of the hundreds of more-or-less-youtube-clones out there, expensive software is a greater threat to your solvency than a few people downloading and watching video offline.

The case that would be technologically tricky(but which is becoming increasingly uncommon) is what people used to mean when they said "flash video", which was a script-driven vector-with-occasional-bitmap-bit-and-a-soundtrack flash object, rather than just lossy compressed video that happened to be played by flash. For the ones that are purely non-interactive, you could basically just do a screen capture, and compress the result into a standard video format; but you'd have to do some sort of fairly clever algorithmic parsing to deal with the ones that were mostly just animation; but had some limited interactivity(even if it was just a start/stop/mute button).

The second main question, aside from "how are they going to process the flash?" is "How is it 'clientless'?". Even when dealing with the most trivial case(.swf player object being used as an embedded player for an h.264 video whose URL is clearly evident in the page source), their software is going to have to get a word in, to rewrite the page, removing the EMBED and replacing it with an HTML5 VIDEO widget with the appropriate video URL. There is Absolutely No Way that Apple is going to approve some sort of plugin for mobile Safari. Is their plan to have people browse through a basic proxy page, controlled by them, that does the rewriting(and a little analytics and spying on the side, just to pay the bills?), or are they going to have an App that uses Safari for page rendering, with their own mogrification sauce for the flash bits?

Press release is slashdotted right now, so I can't get details; but I'm not terribly optimistic for this outfit(unless they have some brilliant insight into the problem that isn't evident from TFS). Pretty much all the sites where automated transformation of flash blobs to iPod-accepted video would be a simple problem will probably make the change themselves in the fairly near future. If you are already using h.264(or even .flv) as a container format, it isn't excessively difficult to release an app that provides access to your videos(as youtube did back in the day), or use user-agent sniffing to deliver an HTML5 video player instead of a .swf one, both pointing to the same video URL. I'm hardly predicting the death of Flash(since, for the majority of client cases, the .swf video player approach works just fine, plus having flash means access to casual games on the desktop, which users generally like); but I would predict that conditionally serving an HTML5 player will become quite common, quite quickly. The media guys know that Apple has one of the largest populations of "People who actually pay for stuff on the internet", so they will bite, any site catering to flash-hating technophiles will do it for ideological reasons, and the bar just isn't very high. That will make these RipCode guys irrelevant.

For the hard cases(Flash games, Flash videos that are actually flash objects, not just flash players for video objects), I would be extremely surprised if RipCode can come up with anything that both works and is accepted by Apple. Worst case(but quite plausible) scenario is that they end up providing a confusing and inconsistent experience, which users hate. Some "flash videos" will RipCode perfectly. Some will fail utterly, some will come out garbled in weird ways or just sit there because the "start" button is no longer interactive. For each case, somebody who knows something about flash could infer why the problem arose; but that won't help much.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31845012)

Apple just approved the Opera Mini browser. Opera could add this plugin, and gain a big marketshare of the iProduct's browsers.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

willutah (556976) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846682)

Excellent comment. I've tried as many SWF converters as I can find on Google, and they are all a mess when trying to output anything but the most basic SWF to video. Most just play back the SWF and then try and run a screen recording process. However, it might be interesting to upload a SWF to Youtube and see what happens- last time I checked they rejected it outright. I don't know if that has changed though.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847110)

I just download the .flv/.mp4 source with a service like ClipNabber, (you can also do it manually or find installable apps that can de-obfuscate the source location for you) then play the file directly with VLC or Mplayer (since those are the only two video players I use on any device, I don't worry about converting).

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847168)

In all these cases, and they cover a large area, the only real challenge is working past the weak obfuscation, if any, to find the actual source URL for the video, which is already in a workable format, and just grabbing it. For individual video capturing use, "View source" and a couple minutes of thinking is usually sufficient, with Wireshark and a filter looking for HTTP GET requests waiting in the wings if that doesn't work.

Wireshark? More like Firefox with one of several user-friendly addons. Flash needs to talk to the browser to fetch the video. At that point it's fairly easy to capture the request (and most decent addons don't even need to do that often because they already know how to deobfuscate many sites' content links).

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

cababunga (1195153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847554)

Flash needs to talk to the browser to fetch the video.

What Flash? The story is about iPad not being able to run Flash.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847960)

Since the GGP was talking about downloading videos (and using Wireshark to make it possible) this subthread is obviously not about any device running iPhone OS. We're talking about capturing Flash video on a PC, which means that Firefox is very much available.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847300)

The second main question, aside from "how are they going to process the flash?" is "How is it 'clientless'?". Even when dealing with the most trivial case(.swf player object being used as an embedded player for an h.264 video whose URL is clearly evident in the page source), their software is going to have to get a word in, to rewrite the page, removing the EMBED and replacing it with an HTML5 VIDEO widget with the appropriate video URL.

Well. The easiest way to do that would be to sell their service not to the end-users, but to the content-providers. "Got flash video content? Want iPhone users to see it? Don't have time to rebuild it as HTML5? Just use this JavaScript library instead of the embedding mechanism you normally use, and..."

It wouldn't let an end-user browse to an arbitrary flash site and see everything. It would let a flash site be browsed to by an arbitrary end-user. That's probably the better business angle anyway, in terms of which party is more willing to spend actual money for this capability. And this also lets them avoid looking bad, by simply not deploying their product for flash that their product doesn't work well with. I bet this is how they end up doing it.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (-1, Troll)

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Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31846226)

Targeted advertising epic fail.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (1)

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Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (4, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843600)

It does.
From what I understand, this reads flash videos without using flash code. There is a difference between flash code and flash codec. One is an insecure runtime that is a blatant hole inside a device's security and allows arbitrary code execution, the other is just a regular video codec that VLC can read.

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843802)

One is an insecure runtime that is a blatant hole inside a device's security and allows arbitrary code execution...

Wait... why don't you tell us what you really think?

Re:This meets all of Apple's requirements except o (-1, Flamebait)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843716)

I'm expecting that if Adobe did produce some workable Flash to HTML5 canvas converter that Apple would ban converted JS or Safari would be patched and mysteriously start suffering timing & memory issues that ruin the playback.

Flash sucks, let it die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31845868)

Flash sucks, let it die. For video you already have formats that are available cross platform and without the menagerie of security problems built into the design.

Takedown in 5... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843556)

4... 3...

Niggerjoke in 5... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843616)

4... 3... 2... 1...

What was missing from the Million Man March? Three miles of chain and an auctioneer.

Now we just need the (0)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843580)

Webcam usb uvc flash support and the ipad can transmit to the world.

Re:Now we just need the (0)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843608)

Webcam usb uvc flash support and the ipad can transmit to the world.

Wheels and you can drive it too. Boobs and it can drive you crazy.

Re:Now we just need the (2, Funny)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843712)

Boobs are the people who already purchased one simply because "it's a new device put out by Apple."

And yes, they drive me a bit crazy.

so the flash runs on another machine (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843582)

How secure is this method of streaming flash?

It'd be nice to run flash on another machine and save my machine from the vulnerability risk.

Ignores the real use of flash (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843596)

Video games, whores, web conferencing, etc.

Killing Flash ? (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843598)

Yay. 'twould seem that a lot of effort goes, lately, into killing Flash - or at least into thwarting its ever wider spread. A good thing ?

Re:Killing Flash ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843646)

Of course it's a good thing, as long as we continue moving towards open standards and away from proprietary lock-in and "black boxes". In the evolution of the web, flash is more of a kludge than a permanent solution, just providing needed funcionality until the real solution is available.

Re:Killing Flash ? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843738)

Of course it's a good thing, as long as we continue moving towards open standards and away from proprietary lock-in and "black boxes".

So you're against the iPhone OS too then?

Re:Killing Flash ? (1)

mikerz (966720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843768)

This is hypocritical, especially considering that the SWF format is totally open and people have written their own interpretters.

Re:Killing Flash ? (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843820)

Do you mean to say "hypothetical", or are you really calling me a hypocrite ?

Re:Killing Flash ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843886)

I think he was replying to the AC.

Re:Killing Flash ? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843818)

'twould seem that a lot of effort goes, lately, into killing Flash - or at least into thwarting its ever wider spread. A good thing ?

Yes. And long, long, long overdue.

The problem is Flash not used properly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31846240)

Flash's greatest strength, vector graphics, is the least used feature. Why? It is difficult and time consuming to create realistic looking animations using pure vector, compared to raster. Instead or sending compact graphic commands, its used to simply serve up bandwidth hogging finished video and audio, what a waste.

creators' 'big flash' will be absolutely viewable, (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843604)

as well as awe inspiring & even frightening to many. coming soon to a stratosphere near you. no gadgets required.

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Flash video can die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843610)

"This would include sites like Hulu and YouTube, assuming the respective companies don't find a way to block it."

The iPad already supports YouTube via a native application, and YouTube also supports HTML5.

And Hulu are writing an iPad app.

This only supports flash video as well, not all of the flash games out there. So flash hasn't come to the iPad, unlike the headline.

So long Flash, now get the hell out (1)

chuckhriczko (1781584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843624)

I'm all for the demise of Flash. It is a necessary evil but let's get rid of it. This could be one way. HTML5 may or may not be the way to go, that is yet to be seen. However this is the open web people. Do we not have enough technology to build something on the web that will do what Flash does and maybe even run Flash content? With this and Gordon it seems we are getting there. The primary roadblock in my opinion will be security issues and accessing the local computer's hard drive. Aside from that anything done in Flash can now be done with current web technologies.

Re:So long Flash, now get the hell out (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843944)

The question of replacing Flash(and a number of other proprietary products, really) reminds me of two variants of the old quip about project management: "90% done and 90% to go." and the quite similar "The first 90% is easy, it's the last 90% that is difficult."

The Flash runtime is a pile of suck; but it also has over a decade of elaboration and refinement behind it(plus Adobe's tools for creating Flash stuff, and the vast body of legacy flash objects already in the wild). Replacing it 100% will be virtually impossible, without cloning its behavior in detail.

However, in observing user uses of Flash, something like 80 percent of their daily Flash use is just Flash-based video players for ordinary video files. That is probably the most trivial of Flash's capabilities to duplicate with HTML5. The rest is flash-based site menu/navigation elements(which could have been done in HTML already, but weren't because Adobe's flash tools make doing it that way easier) and Flash games.

That first 80% should be pretty trivial to replace. The menu/navigation/general site chrome stuff could have been replaced already; but isn't really under the browser maker's control(and basically exists because Adobe's flash authoring tools are popular). Flash games and legacy .swf stuff, though, is likely to be nearly immortal. It will probably become less common over time; but there is no particular pressure driving it out of the market, and no technological solution on the client side, short of complete re-implementation, but without the suck, of the Flash runtime can support those cases.

Re:So long Flash, now get the hell out (1, Interesting)

chdig (1050302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844090)

Flash runs animations far better than SVG, and for the web is the best thing out there to do what it does (or would you prefer Silverlight?) HTML5 doesn't replace Flash, and doesn't even try to. It brings video into html, so it no longer needs to be embedded into Flash, but doesn't remotely replace it. RipCode isn't interactive, and the real value of Flash is its flexibility with interactive content.

Flash is also a platform with almost no limitations as to how you use it, closed-source, but you can run whatever you like -- just like Windows, but free to install. The iPad/iPhone is closed to non-approved applications, making it the least open platform out there. So let me rephrase what the parent posted:

I'm all for the demise of the iPhone/iPad. It is a necessary evil but let's get rid of them. This could be one way. Flash may or may not be the way to go, that is yet to be seen. However this is the open web people.

--

Flash is closed-source. The iPhone/iPad are closed to running what applications you want on them, which to me is as closed as you can get. In this case, Flash may be the poster-boy for open application environments.

Re:So long Flash, now get the hell out (1)

chuckhriczko (1781584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847142)

Right now is Flasg superior? Yes. But that's my point. We as the web development community need to change that. We need to push vendors for better support for newer technologies. We need to make things better ourselves by using these newer technologies. If we work at it, we can get rid of Flash. I think it's necessary. Who enjoys building a website and dealing with Flash? I don't. I'd much rather use Javascript and other technologies.

Look Ma, another layer of indirection (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843630)

Apparently CPU power for transcoding Flash and bandwidth for streaming the result are both free, if the cloud is involved. What's in it for them?

Re:Look Ma, another layer of indirection (2, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843800)

I'm gonna guess, collecting user information and selling ads?

Re:Look Ma, another layer of indirection (1)

Kaki Nix Sain (124686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31845230)

It's a pity the advertisers won (at least they seem to have done so at the moment) the race against micropayments for how to fund "progress" on the web. Great swaths of the web falling into TV2 type drivel seems almost inevitable now. [This comment brought to you by Folgers.]

Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (5, Insightful)

WD (96061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843658)

I don't understand why people mix up Flash and Flash video all the time. The latter is a small subset of the former. Can you really not conceptually tell the difference between a video playing at youtube and the content at http://www.homestarrunner.com/ [homestarrunner.com] ?

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843740)

Your asking common folks to differ between pretty colours on youtube from pretty colours in another website?

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843762)

Yeah, but using Flash for other things than video isn't as widely used anymore. Have a look at, say, Alexa's list of top 500 websites, http://www.alexa.com/topsites , most of those only use Flash as a means to deliver video.

Such websites typically do not work with the limited Flash implementations which are available on non-iPhone smartphones.

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843874)

Sure. Using flash doesn't get used for the majority of content these days. Except for one thing. It does get used to deliver the majority of paying advertisements (besides Google links).

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (2, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844178)

That is if you aren't a Newgrounds user.

Why I play Flash games:

-they work in Linux
-they're free (granted, some aren't)
-there are MANY of them and some are really really good (the gemcraft zero series for example)
-despite lesser graphics, you get an as fun gameplay experience as many modern 100-million costing games
-some are addicting, with features like earning medals, upgrades, etc...
-they load fast
-you can play them while doing other things (waiting for a compile, ...), because it's simply something in a browser, not somthing that takes over your entire PC

Playing Flash games from NG or other sites on any phone would be soooo nice. The only problem would be the controls. Flash games are usually made for mouse and specific keyboard keys and I can't imagine playing them in an efficient way on a small touch screen without keyboard shortcuts.

Different Flash (2, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843776)

Flash - was killed, because it was bad for your Monitor. Or Anti-Monitor.

Golden Age - Somewhat archaic, but did have protective helmet layer.

Kid Flash - Replaced original Flash.

Reverse Flash - aka Professor Zoom. Jobs' alter ego.

Impulse (Bart) - Apparently only useful vs Superboy Prime.

Tornado Twins - um.... no one remembers them.

Lord Savitar - Lord of Speed.

Re:Different Flash (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31844736)

Hey! What about Max Mercury? Or Johnny and Jesse Quick?

Re:Different Flash (0, Offtopic)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844760)

I think a larger question is whether kid deadpool could beat kid flash in a fight.

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (1)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843842)

I was actually hoping it could handle non-interactive flash animations as well. The site is down so I can't tell anything. But that seems like the only useful product here: if this is for video only, why don't website producers just encode these videos in h.264 (+Theora?) and then use HTML5 <video> with a flash player fallback? It's really not that hard. I guess this could be useful as a stopgap until use of the old non-h.264 flash codec is cleared out. *shrug*

Actually, what would be smart is if the mobile Safari scanned the list of parameters being sent to a flash plugin request, try each as a URL and if it gets an video header just start playing the video natively, i.e. HTML5 style, without actually using the plugin...

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844002)

Can you really not conceptually tell the difference between a video playing at youtube and the content at http://www.homestarrunner.com/ [homestarrunner.com] ?

With NoScript installed, they do look pretty much the same ;}
Neither work without the Flash plugin for your browser as well.

To any normal person, that means they are the exact same thing.

Granted though, a slashdotter getting confused is a tad odd and worthy of mocking.

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844230)

No, I cannot, since both require Flash to be installed, and both present interactive graphical elements through which you have to interact to get at the site's content.

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31845460)

I don't understand why people mix up Flash and Flash video all the time. The latter is a small subset of the former. Can you really not conceptually tell the difference between a video playing at youtube and the content at http://www.homestarrunner.com/ [homestarrunner.com] ?

Because for the most part, Flash is used for video. If it wasn't for sites like YouTube, Flash would be 99% used for crap (ads and the like) and 1% used for useful materials (like homestarrunner). But because YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion and the like have Flash Video, it skews the usefulness of Flash upwards. I'm sure the reason people complained about the lack of Flash on the iPhone was not "I need my HSR!" but "I need my YouTube!".

Most people will probably be happy with their video sites working and "not supporting" the rest of Flash.

I've used full mobile flash before, and it's awful. All those flash ads suddenly appear and now your webpage takes forever to render because that ad consumes all the CPU cycles. Scrolling beocmes herky-jerky and random as lack of CPU means your scroll tap takes longer to process (and you probably already tapped several times by then). If your device supports native playback of flash video, then a FLV ad causes the player to start up and you to watch the first second or two of the ad as it pops open the player while you try to cancel out so you can see your web page. If not, then you go to places like YouTube and see dropped frames on the low-quality streams. Or, brilliantly, I went to see a video that locked up the device so badly, the easiest way to get out was to remove the battery (it wasn't hung - it played a few frames every 30 seconds or so, and a second of audio around the same time - a strange codec was used that consumed crapload of CPU cycles leaving none for the OS).

LOLWUT? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847516)

I've used full mobile flash before, and it's awful. All those flash ads suddenly appear and now your webpage takes forever to render because that ad consumes all the CPU cycles. Scrolling beocmes herky-jerky and random as lack of CPU means your scroll tap takes longer to process (and you probably already tapped several times by then).

Full mobile Flash works fine on my N900, even with the stock browser loading every hellspawned flash-based ad in existence (mostly works OK in Iceweasel 3.5 too, although it's running an archaic version of Flash that can be troublesome). I'll admit it bogs down a bit when playing Youtube videos.

Re:Inaccurate title. This is for Flash VIDEO (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847688)

As long as it lets me run ChatRoulette, I don't give a hoot about any distinction :-)

What the hell do they sell anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843680)

Flash can play H264, iPad can play H264, iPhone can play H264. No transcoding needed.

So, looks like someone in RipCompany's PR team has jumped the gun on the iPad/Flash news without thinking this through.

Assuming Youtube and Hulu don't block it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843698)

You mean assuming Apple doesn't block it.

to flash or not to flash (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843760)

Although Apple's (The Steve's) plans are patently capitalistic and really have nothing to do with pushing standards unless they benefit Apple directly, I'd not shed a TEAR if flash went away. It's really hard to boo hoo for Adobe.

Re:to flash or not to flash (1)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843938)

Unfortunately its a local company for me so i would be sad to see it go. It would lose our local economy a few dozen jobs, including mine.

Don't be sad (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847584)

Adobe rakes in metric fucktons of cash with their horrifically overpriced commercial software such as Photoshop, Premier and Connect, your company will be just fine.

Re:to flash or not to flash (1, Interesting)

cpghost (719344) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844130)

I too wished Flash went away, because of Adobe's non-support of FreeBSD. This why such on-the-fly transcoding services are highly welcome here.

Even if it's only for video (1)

virgilp (1774784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843766)

I don't get it, how does it "transcode" the VIDEO PLAYER? The main reason Youtube doesn't deliver all video through the tag is that some videos require overlays (e.g. for subtitles, or ads). The main reason why Hulu delivers video through Flash is (I think) DRM. How do they work around this? It's not about the video stream they need the video player itself (which is written in Flash) - so the only viable solution would be something like what Opera Mini does... but they don't seem to say they are doing this.

Flash isn't just video... (0, Offtopic)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843778)

So it's good for YouTube and Hulu... what about the other 99% of applications Flash is used for? i.e. interactive content? What about flash gaming? Annoying flash websites? My wife is pissed because her favorite games won't play on the iPad I just ordered...

MadCow.

Re:Flash isn't just video... (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844450)

Right. It's limited to those venues for now, but it is a proof of concept that this type of translation can be done without getting Apple's blessing, thereby expanding the usefulness of the device. I can see the possibility of an online proxy service for Flash content that would let users view their Flash content from any device--like Steam for games, but you would actually pay a nominal monthly subscription fee for the translation service instead of paying for the games.

Re:Flash isn't just video... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846056)

So put the C64 emulator on it and play those games. They're much better anyway.

proxy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843792)

According to RipCode's press release, the TransAct Transcoder V6 captures the iPad's request for Flash content and converts it into a special format that the device accepts and plays. This is all done without a local client or user intervention.

So does this mean that they act as a proxy that you run all your web requests through? And if a site happens to contain Flash video, they'll re-encode it (well, re-container it) on the fly to an HTML 5 compliant video stream? If so, no thanks.

Buy a real phone already (2, Insightful)

Kludge (13653) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843852)

I'm getting tired of all these stupid "Flash on iphone" articles. For ****'s sake people, if you want flash on your cell phone, buy a phone that supports flash. Buy a phone where you can install anything you like. Why is this so hard?

Re:Buy a real phone already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31843870)

Answer: nerds with zero self-control.

Re:Buy a real phone already (1)

RepugnantJohn (1492011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843872)

Amen. I'm an iPhone owner and don't miss Flash/Flash video at all.

Re:Buy a real phone already (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846102)

The issue is that there's an increasing number of us who don't have flash on our phones (and generally like it that way), and we're getting increasingly important as a market. This means that lots of people, who are used to doing things in Flash, are facing a large and generally affluent market segment that they simply can't reach in Flash. Moreover, Adobe stands to lose if Flash becomes less important as a platform, and there are doubtless other companies that have tied their fortunes to Adobe.

While there are people who want Flash on their iPhones, I doubt they're the reason behind this.

Flash Proxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31844166)

While this is pretty much horseshit as far as 'replacing flash' goes, it does make me think about an interesting solution to the whole iDevice/Flash kerfuffle. Basically you could theoretically create a thin client proxy that interacted with the flash running on a remote server, sort of in the same way that VNC or RDP works. Maybe allow transparency and javascript interactions...but not executing Actionscript on the client, just passing an receiving messages. Maybe like X11. Could be interesting. Obviously would depend on performance (again).

Re:Flash Proxy (1)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844500)

Or rather than going to all this trouble, you could just recode your site to use HTML5...

Games still no.. (1)

rdtreefrog (1092265) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844368)

Yes, but how does this help me play my flash based games!!

Bad headline (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844950)

This merely unshackles video from the prison of proprietary Flash Video format, and converts the video into a real standard. Hooray for that.

This does not bring "Flash" to the iPad. This does not even bring Flash Mobile Profile to the iPad.
This is not a way to get around Apple's ban on a Flash interpreter on the system.
The headline is *awful* and completely incorrect.

Please... let's NOT confuse "Flash encoded video" with Flash itself.
Doing so only HELPS Adobe and Flash, because it furthers the misconception that Flash made web video "possible" (or even "better").
Things were much better when Quicktime was the web standard (presuming we're not comparing yesterday's codecs to todays of course).
Video is meant to be processed natively and with hardware support.

This is just a Flash video web transcoder... which is in itself a good thing, but it would be nice if the editors here actually *edited* corrections when needed.

Re:Bad headline (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846514)

This is just a Flash video web transcoder...

And this article is also not much more than a press release.

Why so difficult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31845276)

It is almost like they're trying to do things the hard way. Just develop real applications.

iPad already displays all Flash movies.. (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846624)

You just have to use the VNC client and connect to your favorite machine. You can also run all the native windows applications and such. The ipad is a great remote display and interaction device.. it doesn't need to run flash natively.

Caption fail (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846652)

The only thing this "clientless Flash video codec" does is remux the FLV video into a Quicktime or MPEG container. It's like taking an HTML page, adding an XML doctype to the top and calling it an "HTML to XML gateway". Yeah ok, not rocket science.

Tinyogg (1)

i ate my neighbour (1756816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846916)

I use tinyogg [tinyogg.com] for my youtube watching unless I'm in a hurry. What they do is get a youtube URL from you, transcode the video into theora and cache it for a fixed period. Much better service than just recontaining, although you have to wait in a queue.

Tenuous business proposition... (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847984)

It must be a little nerve wracking to build a business plan that depends on a third party continuing to behave terribly.

But then again, the third party is Apple, so perhaps they're safe.

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