Shumway: Mozilla's Take on an Open Way to Translate Flash Content

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 05, 2012

If you've followed the long and winding history of the Flash format, you know that despite countless ways that Adobe has annoyed users with its Flash policies over the years, it's still true that about 80 percent of online video content is Flash. As just one example of an instance where Adobe's Flash policies have annoyed users, earlier this year, Adobe drew a lot of criticism from the Linux community as it announced that it had partnered with Google on a "modern API for hosting plugins within the browser, " which would effectively require that Linux users use Google Chrome if they want updated versions of Flash.

That's why it's good news that Mozilla is apparently experimenting with a technology that might interpret Flash files using standard technologies including HTML5 and JavaScript. Here's more on the effort.

Mozilla has a project hosted on GitHub called Shumway, which is described as "a Flash VM and runtime written in JavaScript." Flash files are SWF files, and Shumway is also described as "an HTML5 technology experiment that explores building an SWF renderer in JavaScript."

There is a Slashdot discussion going on about the technology that includes this description: "Shumway is an HTML5 technology experiment that explores building a faithful and efficient renderer for the SWF file format without native code assistance. Shumway is community-driven and supported by Mozilla. Our goal is to create a general-purpose, web standards-based platform for parsing and rendering SWFs. Integration with Firefox is a possibility if the experiment proves successful.'"

Now that would be something if Firefox automatically included a method for translating SWF files on the fly with more open, standardized technologies. There are, of course, other applications that translate Flash for the iPad and various devices, but they don't always work dependably. If Mozilla can come up with an open way to translate SWF-based content on the fly, that earns a big thumbs-up.

By the way, why is the project called Shumway? You can find out here