March 07, 2011

“Wallaby” Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool now available

Adobe’s job is to help you solve problems, not to get hung up on one technology vs. another.

Millions of people have honed their Web animation skills in Flash, and now their customers want content that can run anywhere, including on non-Flash-enabled devices. Accordingly Adobe’s releasing “Wallaby,” an experimental Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool. For now it’s aimed at WebKit-based browsers (notably Safari & Chrome):

The focus for this initial version of Wallaby is to do the best job possible of converting typical banner ads to HTML5. Wallaby does a good job of converting graphical content along with complex, timeline-based animation to HTML5 in a form that can be viewed with browsers using a WebKit rendering engine. Supported WebKit browsers include Chrome and Safari on OSX, Windows, and iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod).

Wallaby’s design goal was not to produce final-form HTML ready for deployment to web pages. Instead it focuses on converting the rich animated graphical content into a form that can easily be imported into other web pages in development with web page design tools like Dreamweaver.

The tool is new & presently limited (e.g. no ActionScript conversion), but the team welcomes your feedback on how it should evolve.

Having come here specifically to build standards-based Web animation software*, I’m delighted to see this release and a ton of other HTML5 initiatives from Adobe. As long as the company puts solving customer needs ahead of politics, I predict good things.

Update: Here’s the original demo from Wallaby’s sneak peek back in October:

* Back then, in 2000, we were assured that widespread SVG support was *riiiight* around the corner. Sometimes it takes a while for reality to catch up with on-paper standards; c’est la guerre.

10:56 PM | Permalink | Comments [18]

A candid look at Photoshop CS5 development

From planning to chaos (“We’re screwed”) to literal tears of joy, Photoshop team members talk about the single toughest cycle in the app’s long history. Just watching it is an emotional roller coaster for me, bringing back first heartburn & then the great pride and gratitude I have to have been associated with this team. I think you’ll find it time well spent.

My own minor footnotes:

  • Having our names on the splash screen is a big deal to the team, going way back. After my name first appeared there, my mom carried a printout for years until it finally disintegrated in the depths of her purse.
  • Many of the engineers in the video have long associations with Apple, some having worked there. Russell Williams, who talks about Carbon vs. Cocoa, was a Mac OS system architect before joining Adobe.
  • At one point during conversion, the splash screen was literally drawing upside down. You can’t make these things up.
  • Designer Neven Mrgan got after Photoshop for its disparate range of UI sliders. That’s one of the things we intended to rectify via the too-ambitious “AHOD” process described in the video. Such controls include a great deal of subtle, custom behavior upon which customers depend, and it just wasn’t feasible to swap them all out in one release.
  • In case you’re wondering, AHOD wasn’t a rewrite effort that would make Photoshop magically twice as fast, etc. Rather, it was aimed at architectural changes that would make the codebase more efficient to develop. Such work remains underway, just not in a do-or-die, one-cycle shot.
  • 3:27 PM | Permalink | Comments [22]
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