What's a Wallaby? Adobe's Flash-to-HTML5 Converter garners some attention.

What's a Wallaby? Adobe's Flash-to-HTML5 Converter garners some attention.

If there’s one thing I love it’s a good Flash vs HTML5 blog post… the sarcasm doesn’t translate well, but rest assured I’m rolling my eyes. Some are very passionate about their preferred platform, where as others tend to view the argument as futile as the ol’ Mac vs PC debate. I tend to fall into the latter camp, however it’s intriguing that lately even Adobe looks like they might be hedging their bets with the beta release of ‘Wallaby‘, an experimental software which supposedly converts Flash files to HMTL5 – effectively making them indexable by search engines and viewable on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad.

 

Adobe would never admit it of course, most likely responding with some corporate mantra about how they’re in the business of providing all manner of solutions yada yada yada, but we may soon see them start to edge away from another defunct proprietary platform (anyone remember Cold Fusion?) There’s no question Flash has allowed for some amazing innovation in the realm of rich media web and desktop applications, I shudder to think where we would be without it. But taking the long view of things, it makes sense that this type of rich media web development would take the form of a more open standard. With the HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript cocktail, one can develop a fully indexable rich media website or application which is virtually indistinguishable (almost) from a full on Flash site, and without the need for proprietary plugins.

 

One of the issues however is the investment in time needed to design and develop projects such as full browser sites which incorporate complex animations or interactions, due in part to the fact that HTML5’s Canvas element, the procedural model which allows for dynamic and scriptable rendering of 2d shapes and bitmaps, has no user interface or scene graph. At this point in time it’s all custom written code. And here’s where Adobe, and no doubt a few others, may see an opportunity. If it is the collective will of the designers, developers and engineers who propel the internet forward, to move towards an ‘Open Web’ standard, it would behove Adobe to get on board sooner rather than later. Flash isn’t going anywhere in any immediate timeframe, that much is clear. But if HTML5 proves to be as powerful as it sounds, Adobe may be positioning Flash/Wallaby as a next generation HTML5 Canvas development tool, and they can finally give it a rest with telling me I need to ‘upgrade to the latest Flash player’.

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