Smokescreen, formats, runtimes

SWF file format has had a public specification, like HTML, for over a decade. As browsers’ script-execution improves it becomes possible to read SWF files and render parts of them. As a coding effort, impressive work. As a publishing solution, look at its efficiency.

Folks on Techmeme picked up on Chris Smoak’s Smokescreen a SWF-consuming JavaScript application in similar vein to Tobias Schneider’s Gordon project.

My close to that January essay on Gordon still stands: “There are differences between HTML and SWF, but even a JavaScript engine can understand simple SWF files… nothing mysterious or alien about it.”

The logical error in Techmeme headlines right now is that because some files work, many files work, and work well enough to be practical, if not preferable. Technologies are only tools… you use each where each works best.

Some people do seem to harvest their news mostly from quick newspaper headlines. They’ll pay the cost. But it would be good if the news writers did a little more digging, a little more original thought, before promoting such headlines to their readers. Please, read around a little more… think things through for yourself.

4 Responses to Smokescreen, formats, runtimes

  1. Jensa says:

    What impresses me the least about this is all the sites that claim that this JS lib will enable “Flash Video” on the iPad. It’s amazing to see how many that thinks anything that is moving is video?

  2. Excellent! Just mind blowing jd! I just love your comment “There are differences between HTML and SWF, but even a JavaScript engine can understand simple SWF files… nothing mysterious or alien about it.” Like it just shook me! And your criticism over Techmeme is valid!

  3. clarissa says:

    [ I’m publishing this one, just to show the type of thing I usually no longer publish here… “Clarissa” is the New Jersey guy, a reader of John Welch… no relevance to the topics discussed above, just a collection of weak personal attacks. -jd ]
    I think techmeme should respond to this post with a “I heart Adobe” swf converted into HTML5 using Smokescreen.
    I do think you should do a little digging yourself as well. I looked at your tweets and you claimed that its not a “publishing” solution, but as an advertising company, I’d rather have viewers SEE my ads than not at all. I tried running ads on my iPad and it seems to run just fine. See for yourself. I didn’t notice a glitch.
    Regardless, with HTML5 you have all the benefits of an OSS rendering engine where performance can be improved by individual implementors (eg, Apple improving WebKit on A4/ARM) or groups of developers with similar interests (eg, Google/Apple/other contributors to WebKit for x86). Where as with Adobe’s Flash plugin, you’re pretty much reduced to hoping or praying that Adobe will fix problems relevant to your interests.
    Please check hackernews for more updates. Don’t be a hypocrite!

  4. Chris says:

    I agree that the word that got out there is misrepresented in many places. We tried to be careful explaining the technology when putting up the site. Since then we’ve changed some language to more clearly note Smokescreen’s preview nature and elaborated more on its current limitations. Happy to hear suggestions, too.
    Current limitations don’t necessarily mean limitations in the future, though, and I’m excited to see what people can make this do when we do get the source code out there.
    Thanks for making a great platform to build on top of! =)
    [ Howdy Chris, congrats on the work, and thanks for the confirm here… it’s funny how things get changed once they get amplified into discussion…. 😉 –jd ]