Flash Conversion to HTML 5 – Swiffy, Shumway, Haxe

A lot of speculation about the future of Flash spawned in the media because Flash support was dropped for mobile browsers and ‘restricted’ on desktop browsers. There are many options for rewriting or converting Flash content to HTML 5, some popular choices being Google’s Swiffy, Mozilla’s Shumway and Haxe.

It’s notable that Flash continues to exist on mobile platforms in the form of apps, remaining a popular platform for developing mobile applications.

Replacement

HTML 5, the latest web-page standard language, is widely speculated to be the replacement of Flash, and over the years, lots of tools have been developed to automatically convert Flash content to HTML5. If conversion is possible and lots of apps favorize it, people might be asking themselves the following question, and for good reason.

Why if Flash still around?

There are some good reasons why Flash still hasn’t retired yet, and here is a list of reasons:

  • Older web browsers do not support HTML5

The latest statistics suggest that the vast majority of Internet users are still utilizing browsers which do not feature full HTML 5 support. Some people are still using Internet Explorer 6.0 (which was released in 2001), so it’s anybody’s guess that mass transition to up-to-date browsers might take quite some time, and the bad news is that even newer versions of Internet Explorer and some versions of Mozilla Firefox have little to no HTML 5 support.

     2) Mobile devices do not natively support Flash

Android devices support browser Flash up to Android 4.0, but iOS devices don’t. Flash has taken a new form and got a new name: Adobe AIR, which can run apps specifically designed for touch screen displays, so if users want to have their Flash software up to date, they have to manually download Adobe AIR from the Google Play Store or from the Apple Appstore.

3) Converter tools are not flawless

Sure, converting Flash to HTML 5 can be a simple job for designated software, but some complex applications might represent big or maybe impossible changes for such software.

     4) HTML 5 is limited

While HTML 5 successfully replaced Flash for online videos, ads and some animations, there are some tasks that Flash simply does better and simpler, especially when it comes to developing complex stuff.

Convertor apps 

There are plenty of apps to choose from when in need of a conversion of Flash ActionScript to JavaScript:

Haxe

Haxe is a cross platform kit similar to ActionScript, and offering a simple conversion solution, especially if used through OpenFL. Haxe can compile to JavaScript, which is one of the core parts of web pages.

Shumway

Mozilla’s Shumway is another solution for conversion, using TypeScript to translate ActionScript. The great part about it is that it already is available as a Firefox extension, and it’s promoted as a definitive replacement for Adobe Flash Player.

Google Swiffy

Unfortunately, there’s no point in talking a lot about Google Swiffy, as it’s discontinued since July 2016, but up until that point it was considered the best available option for completely automated actionscript to javascript conversion.

Goodbye, or maybe not?

Let’s face the truth: while Flash might be officially on its way out, it will always remain popular on mobile devices on its “Adobe Air” form for many years to come. For desktops, however, it was mostly replaced with HTML 5. HTML will just have to constantly evolve to meet the standards set by Flash.

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