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November 9, 2010 / davebirss

Flash saves its arse

Let me share with you a very lo-fi YouTube film from a recent Adobe presentation. It shows a utility called ‘Wallaby’ that converts Flash files into HTML5 code. I’m not exactly quick on the uptake here. I saw this film a couple of weeks ago, tweeted about it and let it go. But it’s come up in several discussions since then and thought that I should maybe write a few words about it.

I think this is an amazing development. For several years I’ve tried to fight against flashterbation and the lazy use of Flash as the default route to an ‘engaging’ web experience. Unfortunately, agencies have been filled with Flash designers so that’s been the route they would normally choose.

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate Flash. I just think it’s been used for the wrong things and it often leads to experiences that get in the way of the content. I prefer things to be HTML based. And the amazing developments of HTML5 and CSS3 make that all the more attractive.

If you can’t be bothered watching the film, the basics are that you drop your Flash file onto the Wallaby utility, it then converts it into HTML5 code – and gives you a run down of all the elements that haven’t worked properly. It seems that it currently can’t do animated masks, filters or actionscript – but I’m sure they’ll be working on those issues. And I’m sure it will be frustratingly glitchy when it launches.

But this isn’t just an application – it’s a statement. It says that Adobe realise that HTML5 is too big a shift to fight against and they know that they have to adapt to survive. And this is a great interim solution before they build the export feature into Flash itself.

I’ve tried to find out more on the Adobe website but there’s nothing there. However, it’s caused quite a bit of discussion amongst designers and developers. We just all want to know when we can get our hands on it.

Fancy some Beta testers Adobe? Give me a shout.

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