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Mozilla's Open Source Project Shumway To Translate SWF To HTML5

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the why-don't-you-render-off-site-and-pay-for-it? dept.

Graphics 57

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla currently has an experimental project on github called Shumway to try to interpret SWF (aka Flash files) using browser-standard technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript. All I can say is please and thank you! 'Shumway is an HTML5 technology experiment that explores building a faithful and efficient renderer for the SWF file format without native code assistance. Shumway is community-driven and supported by Mozilla. Our goal is to create a general-purpose, web standards-based platform for parsing and rendering SWFs. Integration with Firefox is a possibility if the experiment proves successful.'" It's not the first such attempt; here's a post from a few years back about one called Smokescreen, and another about QuickTime programmer Steve Perlman's subscription-based workaround for iDevices.

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Shumway? (3, Funny)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218549)

ALF, is that you?

Re:Shumway? (2)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219505)

My first thought.

Re:Shumway? (1)

LiroXIV (2362610) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219849)

My first thought.

Hosse hosse hosse from here to Kandahar!

Re:Shumway? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221575)

My friends, I am here to announce a terrible thing: the world is out of good codenames [albinoblacksheep.com] .

Re:Shumway? (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221933)

The only good cat, is a stir fried cat.

-- Gordon Shumway b.k.a ALF [wikipedia.org]

Yeah right.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40218569)

>efficient
>without native code

Hahaha... what?

Re:Yeah right.... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218691)

Efficient is relative. Flash isn't native code anyway.

Re:Yeah right.... (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219335)

Don't forget to translate the occassional hang which plugin-container was made for.

Re:Yeah right.... (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219381)

Quite funny how Steve Jobs decided not to support Flash on iOS because it was such a resource hog, consuming way too much processor power, and now people are going to try and get around that restriction by... making a flash interpreter in html5 :-)

Re:Yeah right.... (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220087)

Quite funny how Steve Jobs decided not to support Flash on iOS because it was such a resource hog, consuming way too much processor power, and now people are going to try and get around that restriction by... making a flash interpreter in html5 :-)

Except it's a lot easier for a browser to control resource usage by controlling its renderer and interpreter than blindly giving cycles to a black box plugin (which is how plugins worked - by sending periodic events to embedded plugins to let them process).

And a browser has a lot finer grained security and privacy controls - if you say a site may NOT store a cookie (like Google DoubleClick), they can always use Flash as a workaround to that because Flash doesn't have easy support for it (it's all cookies, no cookies, or "annoy the hell out of me"). In the browser, you say no and the browser ensures it. Flash fixed that but it's still ages behind modern browsers.

Heck, a browser can also let you "do not run any javascript or other crap from doubleclick" but Flash will just happily load it up if the SWF references it.

Re:Yeah right.... (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220223)

RequestPolicy will happily prevent a SWF from sending requests to an outside domain.

Google Swiffy (5, Informative)

aaron44126 (2631375) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218589)

Google has a project going along these lines, called Swiffy [google.com] . Looking at the demos [google.com] , it appears to work pretty well.

Re:Google Swiffy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40218623)

Is already abandoned as it does not involve Google+ and social ads, which is the only thing Google cares about now.

--
Sundar Pichai is the utter asshole whose incompetence has resulted in the shut down of Google's Atlanta office.

Re:Google Swiffy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40218727)

Latest version was released less then 1 week ago. I think that you need to farm some trolling levels before you come here.

Re:Google Swiffy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40218667)

Swiffy is a service that "compiles" into a json file that a browser plugin can then use. I would imagine a closed source server side solution is even less appealing to mozilla than a closed source client side solution... It is to me at least.

Re:Google Swiffy (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219921)

Huh? There's no browser plugin involved.

Games and movies (2)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218645)

If it can translate every game and movie on e.g. Newgrounds, and be playable, then it's awesome!

Re:Games and movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40218735)

If it can translate every game and movie on e.g. Newgrounds, and be playable, then it's awesome!

Bah, some of them aren't playable as flash

10 percent are not crap (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219709)

True, 90 percent of Flash animations and games on Newgrounds are probably crap. But just because 90 percent of works in any medium are crap, as Theodore Sturgeon observed [wikipedia.org] , doesn't make the other 10 percent worthless.

Still pretty alpha (2)

yincrash (854885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218669)

The racing demo is the only one that worked for me. The other two examples did not work. Still pretty neat

Re:Still pretty alpha (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221219)

Does your browser actually support HTML5 completely?

Re:Still pretty alpha (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221599)

Please define "completely". I use Chrome 20.0.1132.17 beta-m

Good thing API's are safe (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218675)

I guess it's a good thing API's can't be copyrighted or this would have been DOA. Perhaps Adobe could get behind this as well. What could be better than still being able to sell your developer tools for Flash and not have to create clients for all the different platforms anymore.

Re:Good thing API's are safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40223539)

It's a good thing Flash is open-source too, I suppose.

It makes it so much easier to design emulators / JIT converters for.

Shumway... (2)

jspenguin1 (883588) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218713)

I can't wait to watch Shumway [albinoblacksheep.com] on Shumway...

Re:Shumway... (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222183)

I was about to post that exact flash! So here's the link to watch it on Newgrounds [newgrounds.com] , as uploaded by the original creator.

Yet another one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40218751)

Another one? I think there are couple of dozens already... Sadly I am yet to see one that translates a good flash game in to html5...
JSAS3 and HTML5Flash, you can fit one in to another. You can go and compile browser written on C++ in to Flash. You can go and compile same C++ browser in JS/Canvas combo. Why? Cuz JS is scripting language, its not all purpose programing language like C++, and its not even close to such a limited language like AS3 which Flash uses...

Anyways, best I seen so far is Jangaroo http://www.jangaroo.net/applications/
At least it does not fail to translate such complex things as C++ Box2D port to Flash that then is ported with it to HTML5

Still I am waiting for JS to evolve in to a more all purpose programming language with proper OOP, proper low level efficient types so that C++ like code can be compiled in to it without loosing shitloads of performance... Some optional layer of strict typing over it for those who need it in large front end projects.
Then we will see, until that HTML5 is just light front end overyhyped gimick that fries your computers better then Flash ever was able to...

Adobe has been working on something similar (1)

Calsar (1166209) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218795)

http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2011/03/flash-to-html5-conversion-tool-on-adobe-labs.html [adobe.com]

Despite everyone's hatred of Flash, it exists because there was no other way to get that type of functionality on the Web until relatively recently. I remember when FutureSplash came out in 1995 and it was very impressive compared to state of what you could do on the Web at the time. When Macromedia added the programming capability it was even more impressive. However, the time has come to move on to next great thing. Such is the way of technology.

Re:Adobe has been working on something similar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40218973)

Damn, I forgot completely about FutureSplash. You have an excellent memory

Mozilla, those crazy idealists (4, Insightful)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40218957)

Whatever you think about Mozilla's products, experiments or strategies, they are working for a free web.
It's more than admirable, it's good for the web to have them around.

Re:Mozilla, those crazy idealists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220717)

True.

Re:Mozilla, those crazy idealists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221221)

As long as Google keeps paying them...

HTML5 just doesn't do enough (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40219041)

There's still quite many things that can't be done in HTML5 + JS. I've been hosting a real time web audio application since 2005. It's implemented in Java, and I've been waiting for a low-level JS audio API ever since I made the app, but the API offering is still a bunch of non-standard hodgepodge. And the JS performance isn't quite there for real time audio. Until the API offering is good enough, I don't understand the drive to port stuff from working plugin-based solutions to broken HTML.

Eventually, we're going to have a fancy VM running inside our browser, which will look surprisingly much like Java or Flash (but likely is even more messy).

Re:HTML5 just doesn't do enough (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222185)

It doesn't matter if the browser can natively do everything. It just matters whether or not it can do everything you need it to do in a particular case. Most SWFs are well within that range.

Re:HTML5 just doesn't do enough (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40227775)

GWT + bst-player has worked well for me. I bet it would suit your needs just fine (albeit, not to the degree that a plugin solution would). You will at least be able to abstract any kind of media interactions from the browser. Also, GWT is what google uses for all their web apps, so the technology should be relatively sound.

Great (3, Insightful)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219137)

Now we only need a project that converts HTML5 to something that can be rendered uniformly on all major browsers.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40219347)

*You* need that project. The rest of the world just uses a browser that can handle HTML5.

Re:Great (3, Funny)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219447)

Now we only need a project that converts HTML5 to something that can be rendered on IE

There, FTFY

Google Chrome Frame (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40219807)

Now we only have a project that converts HTML5 to something that can be rendered on IE

FTFY^2: Google Chrome Frame [google.com] is a browser helper object for IE that allows web sites to tell iexplore.exe to render them in Chrome's version of WebKit instead of Trident.

Re:Google Chrome Frame (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40224313)

might just as well ask users to install chrome and collect a fee from google.

"that can be rendered in ie" obviously refers to something that gets rendered on ie natively by ie with ie's built in browser engine.

Re:Google Chrome Frame (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#40227925)

yes, that was the implication. Thank you

Re:Great (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#40229145)

Now we only need a project that converts HTML5 to something that can be rendered uniformly on all major browsers.

PDF? ;-D

Converts to... HTML5? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220395)

Wow, how does it play flash in a markup language?

Flash is impressive (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220497)

The Macromedia Flash interpreter gets more done with less code than almost anything else in computing today. Until a few years ago, the executable was under 1MB. The file structure allows execution before the entire file has been read in. The timeline and assets stream organization makes this possible. It's an elegant little system for doing animation with a low-bandwidth stream. Yes, today it tends to be used mostly for its video codec, but that's an artifact of YouTube. (And the fact that Apple turned the QuickTime plug-in into a way to force people to install iTunes.)

The Flash format isn't even proprietary. There are third-party Flash interpreters. They're widely used for the 2D interface components of video games.

Re:Flash is impressive (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222145)

Scaleform?

http://gameware.autodesk.com/usage/games [autodesk.com]

The one thing I think all of these games has in common: a terrible UI. Coincidence? I think not.

Re:Flash is impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40229759)

Scaleform?

Unreal Engine uses Flash for its menus. Unreal is a pretty popular engine for 1st/3rd person games.

It may even use it for the HUD in some games.

commercial versions already exist (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220975)

I thought they had commercial versions of these up and running in special web browsers for iOS devices.

Re:commercial versions already exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40268451)

The closest they have is an intermediary transcoder for Flash video.

Let me guess (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221507)

Are they going to call it SWF.js?

I hope it ends up being a few orders of magnitude faster than PDF.js is at rendering.

Performance? (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222151)

From what I've seen, the built-in HTML 5 video of Firefox performs very poorly, nowhere near the performance of the Windows Media Player plugin, and is even worse than Flash, especially when a page is scaled.
Since Flash itself does a decent job at rendering vector animation, I wonder if Firefox can reach that level of performance? Flash itself is still slow, and has much room for improvement, so the sky is the limit to making a better Flash player.

Re:Performance? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40227469)

The flash people already donated Tamarin to Mozilla, which uses NanoJIT in their current JavaScript VM. So speed should be similar to the flash plugin.

Re:Performance? (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40227855)

The flash people already donated Tamarin to Mozilla, which uses NanoJIT in their current JavaScript VM. So speed should be similar to the flash plugin.

Yeah, it's unfortunate the Tarmin license was incompatible with Apache. I didn't realize it went to Mozilla though. It seems like it would be some interesting code to tinker around with. I might have to go pop into Mozilla's neck of the woods and check it out.

Re:Performance? (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40229403)

Actually, Mozilla stopped using NanoJIT with Firefox 9 when they dropped their tracing JIT.

you lose 1 geek cred (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40223159)

"using browser-standard languages like HTML5 and JavaScript"

Fixed it for you.

Stop using "technology" for things when you don't know what they are. It makes Slashdot sound stupider.

Re:you lose 1 geek cred (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40228015)

"using browser-standard languages like HTML5 and JavaScript"

Fixed it for you.

Stop using "technology" for things when you don't know what they are. It makes Slashdot sound stupider.

Technically, it would be more correct to say, "using a browser-standard language like HTML5." Unlike previous versions of HTML, HTML5 refers to the whole stack.

Why? (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40228153)

Why waste time on this, instead of contributing to Gnash/Lightspark.

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