Playing Flash in Java

Summary: No news here, just some historical context on current events.

Ran across a press release today, titled “Java Application to play Adobe Flash Contents on low cost mobile phones without Adobe Flash Lite”. I went to the website and downloaded PDFs, but didn’t learn which parts of the SWF were rendered.

It’s a reasonable initiative… lots of people are already comfortable creating SWF, so a licensor of a Java implementation can add to their pool of content developers by interpreting SWF. JFlash is another such SWF-in-Java project. I don’t know of anything preventing anyone from writing a translator from SWF to JavaFX, XAML, SVG or whatever.

The key question, of course, is the subset of SWF functionality which would be translated. I didn’t immediately see a list at either of the above sites. It’s like writing an Ajax app; you’d have to test your instructions atop each variant runtime engine. Not impossible, just a little extra cost.

Macromedia distributed a Java runtime ‘way ‘way back… I think it was towards Flash Player 3 days. There was pretty good fidelity (for the limited feature set 😉 but it was dropped from the distribution catalog when features like alpha transparency and .MP3 support pushed too hard at the edges.

While searching for links still live on the web I came across this 2003 press release, about how Sun would be distributing Macromedia Flash Player in Java Desktop System. Now you can win trivia contests with your friends…. 😉

(btw, there are some other news articles today about BSQUARE porting “Flash technology” to Android-driven phones. It’s a little unclear to me… I know BSQUARE has worked with Macromedia and Adobe on specific porting projects (look! a 2001 press release!) but I don’t see them in the list of current partners at the Open Screen Project. I’m not sure of the BSQUARE details, but do know that work to get the current Player 10 on Android and other devices is still proceeding.)


Update, May 1: Closing comments on this entry… it’s apparently high in the search engines on “Why is my Android mobile so late?” or such. (Related: an old entry on a desktop runtime for a television show which continued to attract dozens of commenters who didn’t know where they were, and didn’t bother to check.)

11 Responses to Playing Flash in Java

  1. Mike K says:

    Hi JD,
    Has anybody at Adobe given thought to building compiler that lets AS3 run on an iPhone?
    Mike
    [jd sez: There’s been a great deal of thought about different angles, but I don’t know it all. Funny though, this morning I woke up wondering whether Apple allows Mac Flash Projectors in their App Store.]

  2. Cosmin says:

    I was puzzled myself when I read the news, however here’s what I read
    “Late last year, during an appearance at the Adobe MAX developer conference in San Francisco, Google’s director of mobile platforms Andy Rubin and Adobe Systems CTO Kevin Lynch announced the firms are collaborating to bring Adobe Flash technology to the Android OS, illustrating their progress with a demo of Flash running on a HTC G1 handset”
    http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/story/bsquare-port-adobe-flash-android/2009-03-26

  3. Dave G says:

    Where’s adobe flash player 9 for my tmobile g1
    [jd sez: Won’t be. We’ve had Flash Lite for mobile, but are now going direct to Player 10 on smartphones.]

  4. Brad Neuberg says:

    I used to play with Flash before Macromedia bought the startup company that made it, when it was called FutureSplash. I thought I remember that the first two versions actually used Java to do all the rendering rather than a binary plugin. Is that correct?
    Best,
    Brad Neuberg
    [jd sez: Hi Brad, I’m not sure. There was SmartSketch, but before that there was drawing on tablets (Newton? Go?). SmartSketch later added animation and became CelAnimator and FutureSplash. There was OS-neutrality in its DNA, so it’s plausible Java was there very early. I’ve got a copy of FutureSplash in a box in the office somewhere; will put it on my to-do list to dig it up and check its docs.]

  5. don ahl says:

    Hello again, well I’m starting to get really frustrated. If I had flash for my g1 I would no longer need to bring my laptop along with me to veiw all content I need every day. I know it must be close. I would be more than happy to run a test version. Has flash for g1 been givin a release date I keep checking adobe dot com but am only finding blog about it with no real news. WELL FOLKS I’M READY

  6. vegas says:

    When will the tmobile g1 get flash

  7. peter says:

    When will flash 10 be available to download for my Android OS HTC G1?

  8. John Dowdell says:

    Hi folks, I understand the frustration of not being able to use the full Web, but the best word on new hardware releases come from the hardware manufacturers themselves. (Adobe just creates cross-environment publishing capability.)
    jd/adobe

  9. kwodes says:

    I am annoyed that I can not use the g1 full potential..are we holding back critical resouces for later inventions down the line?..I guess I would need to buy the latest model g2.g3 etc.

  10. the editor says:

    Well I think this means that the G1 don’t have the hardware for flash. It’s not fast enough? I,ve seen some old laptop that can’t keep up with the graghics.
    [jd sez: I’m publishing this, even though no one really cares what conclusion some anonym may have reached. It would be better to bring novel data into the conversation so that others have better evidence when making up their own minds. ]

  11. sonya says:

    So is their a adobe flash for the G-1 T-mobile phone? If not then when? Because I only had this phone for 8 months now and there are too many sites that I can not view because I am not able to download a application, what are you doing to fix this problem?
    [jd sez: By now I hope Sonya has read the info above, and has realized that a quick web search may not always direct her appropriately.]