Flash may have its critics, particularly in certain smartphone and tablet markets, but Adobe (news, site) is making sure the platform doesn't just fizzle out. Adobe is evolving with the times, and is preparing for when the Web finally adopts the HTML 5 standard. The most recent addition to Adobe's collection of software is code-named Wallaby, which can help developers more easily transition from Flash to HTML 5.
Wallaby is essentially a Flash to HTML 5 converter. Adobe demonstrated the technology preview at the annual MAX event in October 2010, and received positive customer feedback. The software runs on top of Adobe AIR, and will convert Flash professional (FLA) files into HTML 5 format through a drag-and-drop action. Developers can then edit the .HTML output using an editor -- such as Adobe's own Dreamweaver -- or even by hand.
Adobe is confident that Wallaby will help developers reach out to a wider audience, as HTML 5 will enable a wider distribution of Flash artwork and animation, especially on mobile platforms.
The Dynamics Between Flash, Apple iOS
Adobe has particularly pointed out how the technology preview can help developers reach out to platforms such as the Apple iOS. Recall that Apple's Steve Jobs criticized the Flash platform for being a proprietary product and because of security, reliability and performance concerns. Apple excluded Flash support in its iOS platform, citing preference for the HTML 5 standard. This limited Adobe's reach in the smartphone and tablet audience, considering the iPhone's a 27% market share in the smartphone market and the iPad's 90% share in the tablet market.
With Wallaby, developers can convert their Flash content into HTML 5, which is accessible to more devices -- assuming, of course, a browser compliant with current HTML 5 specifications.
Full Flash to HTML 5 in the Works
Wallaby outputs HTML 5 content compatible with Webkit-based browsers, meaning Google Chrome, Safari and the iOS browser. However, the conversion does not fully support certain Flash features, such as 3D transforms, ActionScript, Blend Modes, Button Events, Components, certain filters, Inverse Kinematics, Scale 9 graphics, Sound, Strokes and embedded video. This being a technology preview, Adobe expects to support conversion of more Flash features as it develops Wallaby, and as the development team gets feedback from users.
Development on HTML 5 is ongoing, and the W3C expects the standard to take a few years before completion. Still, certain components of HTML 5 are making its way to modern web browsers, both on desktop and mobile platforms.
Will Wallaby help save Flash, after all? This will probably depend on how smoothly Wallaby will be able to convert Flash content into HTML 5. Wallaby is still limited, at its current preview and experimental incarnation. Adobe is hoping that feedback on Wallaby will help the company better understand the types of innovations needed in Adobe's long-term investments in the Flash and HTML 5 technologies.
Interested in Wallaby? You can download it from Adobe Labs.