Google rolls out Swiffy Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) quietly introduced Swiffy, a web-based tool for converting Adobe Flash-based SWF animation files to HTML5 for playback across devices without native Flash support--most notably, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad. According to Google, Swiffy converts SWF files in two phases: A compiler processes the file to generate a JSON file, and from there, a client-side JavaScript runtime loads the JSON file and renders it via HTML, SVG and CSS. Swiffy renders common SWF features like vector graphics, embedded fonts images and timeline animation, and supports basic ActionScript 2.0 code; browser support extends to Webkit-based platforms including Safari (both desktop and mobile) and Chrome.

"Don't expect to convert your favorite Flash game yet," Google's Swiffy FAQ warns. "In general, Swiffy supports most of the features in Flash 5, so exporting your file as a Flash 5 will give the best results. The Swiffy compiler will warn you when unsupported SWF features are encountered." To trial Swiffy, click here.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs' animosity toward the Adobe Flash multimedia platform is well-documented--Jobs has long maintained Apple's iOS mobile platform will never support Flash content, privately dismissing Adobe Systems as "lazy," blaming Flash as the culprit behind most Mac crashes and forecasting Flash will face extinction as the world moves to HTML5. In April 2010, Apple even rewrote its iPhone developer agreement to mandate that all applications must be written to run directly on the iPhone platform, effectively banning cross-compiler translation tools like Adobe's Flash Professional CS5.

Roughly six months after instituting the cross-compiler ban, Apple reversed course, easing restrictions on the creation of iOS-based applications. "We are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code," Apple said in a statement. "This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need." The changes enable developers to design and build apps in Flash, then convert their efforts to Apple-approved code--consumers still cannot directly access Flash-based web content via iOS-based devices, however.

"Adobe is pleased to see the Flash platform extended to devices which don't support the Flash player," states the Swiffy FAQ. "The result is that anyone creating rich or interactive ads can continue to get all the authoring benefits of Flash Pro and have the flexibility to run the ad in the Flash Player or HTML depending on what's available on the system. Google and Adobe look forward to close collaboration around efforts like these."

For more:
- read this CNet article

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