UPDATED 12:57 EDT / MARCH 08 2011

Adobe Meets Apple Head On with HTML5, Releases Flash Converter

html5-logo Apple has been at war with Flash for some time now—in fact, it’s persona non grata on iOS devices in lieu of hardware-accelerated, Johnny-come-lately HTML5. As a result, Adobe’s Flash gets left in the dark when it comes to iPod Touch, iPads, and iPhone and the graphics software company cannot have that. Recently, they’ve unveiled Wallaby, an experimental Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool.

“Wallaby” is the codename for an experimental technology that converts the artwork and animation contained in Adobe® Flash® Professional (FLA) files into HTML. This allows you to reuse and extend the reach of your content to devices that do not support the Flash runtimes. Once these files are converted to HTML, you can edit them with an HTML editing tool, such as Adobe Dreamweaver®, or by hand if desired. You can view the output in one of the supported browsers or on an iOS device.

We’ve already seen them respond to the proliferation of HTML5 in the past by releasing an HTML5 pack for Illustrator CS5—but this is the first news of a converter. Flash is an extremely powerful language with a great deal of capabilities; but last year the war for mobile visualization went on the rampage. Silverlight vs Flash vs HTML5 and Apple decided to dump Flash for HTML5 which left Adobe and Microsoft a bit in the dark. Even Microsoft decided to ditch Silverlight (their baby) and start looking further into HTML5 development.

This has become something of a mixed bag.

Flash isn’t going anywhere—even on mobile—it’s still embedded in Google’s Chrome and it has pretty much flooded the web. It’s the perfect platform for programming interactive advertisements and it’s now so deeply entrenched that Apple only managed to prize it out because mobile is a novel platform for delivering apps and ads.

HTML5 has broad adoption now, especially thanks to Apple pushing it for mobile, and while it was initially met with a bit of skepticism it has been earning its keep on those platforms.

From the looks of it, Wallaby will likely promote further use of Flash by permitting developers who have lucrative jobs using Flash to migrate their work also to HTML5 so that they can spread it to more platforms. The translation differences between the two platforms will likely cause a bit of loss-of-functionality in translation; but it will prevent Flash developers from being discouraged from reaching into iOS devices and at the same time continue to promote hotter development across the board.

This could be just as good for Apple as it is for Adobe in the end.

As for technical specs for Wallaby’s capabilities, ReadWriteWeb has a good write up:

As for Wallaby itself, the tool is an Adobe AIR application that works on both Mac and Windows computers. After you drag and drop (or browse for) a FLA-formatted file, Wallaby spits back output containing HTML, SVG, CSS and other files. This file is meant to be a starting point that can then be edited with other Web development software programs.

For the technically-minded, Wallaby translates the following:

  • Vector graphics to SVG
  • Bitmaps to <img> elements and JPEG files
  • Text to <p> elements or SVG text
  • Flash timeline to a group of CSS animations
  • ActionScript, Sound, Video and other assets are discarded.

Now we’ll just have to see what the Flash developers think.


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