Flash to HTML converter: Adobe release!

Adobe has unveiled an experimental application that converts Flash animations into HTML5 files. It’s codenamed Wallaby, and at this stage the files it generates are compatible with WebKit-based browsers only. It’s intended to make it easy for Flash developers to get their content on to iOS devices.

The release notes tell us that for now, Wallaby is intended for converting banner ads to HTML5, and there’s no conversion of ActionScript, movies or sound. In the short term, it looks as though it might help solve the difficulty of getting Flash ads to work on lots of devices, but it’s less clear what its impact will be beyond this area.

HTML5 guru Bruce Lawson emphasised the importance of making it work with other browsers: “I hope they don't only produce -webkit-prefixed CSS in the final version,” he says. “It would be ironic if, sore from being excluded from iOS, Adobe excluded any other browser implementing CSS animations in the future by not using cross-browser, future-proof CSS3.” (You can see a post on this from Bruce here)

Seb Lee-Delisle of digital media company Plug-in Media told us that it could be useful for those niche types of content where Flash is still king. “I think that Flash is very good at things like games and kids’ content, so Wallaby could be useful for those very specialist areas that Flash still excels at. The fact that you can export animated characters might be good if you wanted to make a JavaScript game, but it’s very early days right now. In a year’s time, when this is production ready, the whole landscape will probably be massively different, so it’s difficult to predict how it will fit into things then.”

Asked about Adobe’s strategy to get Flash onto iOS devices, he replies: “Of course Adobe is working on lots of different technologies to get Flash stuff to work on lots of different devices. But their mantra of “write once, deploy anywhere” to me seems a little bit optimistic. All of the devices require specialist care, and if you want the very best experience you’re better off doing something very customised for that particular platform."

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