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The Shumway Open SWF Runtime Project 99

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-there-are-four dept.
theweatherelectric writes "Mozilla is looking for contributors interested in working on Shumway. Mozilla's Jet Villegas writes, 'Shumway is an experimental web-native (Javascript) runtime implementation of the SWF file format. It is developed as a free and open source project sponsored by Mozilla Research. The project has two main goals: 1. Advance the open web platform to securely process rich media formats that were previously only available in closed and proprietary implementations. 2. Offer a runtime processor for SWF and other rich media formats on platforms for which runtime implementations are not available.'" See also: Gnash and Lightspark.
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The Shumway Open SWF Runtime Project

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  • by gagol (583737) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:33PM (#41963241)
    I will put my efforts learning to do great things in html5.
    • I will put my efforts learning to do great things in html5.

      Blank pages are the only thing you can do with HTML5 right now in many browsers. Some people, preferring not to wait, have taken the unusual step of working with what's available now. I know, it's a weird concept in IT... I prefer to time travel to the future too, but my TARDIS is busted, and worse, infested with a red-headed scottish girl with a terrible welsh accent. You wouldn't happen to have one I could "borrow", would you?

      • Re:No thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gagol (583737) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:00PM (#41963473)
        Please define "many browsers". Also, kudos for you if you want to contribute, just my cup of tea to work on stopgap measure when a new standard is getting supported in ALL mobile browsers and most desktop one too: http://html5test.com/results/desktop.html [html5test.com].
        • Please define "many browsers".

          There are many PCs whose primary user lacks the privilege to install a browser. And on mobile, a lot of deployed Android devices are still stuck at 2.2/2.3, hence no Chrome.

      • Blank pages are the only thing you can do with HTML5 right now in many browsers. Some people, preferring not to wait, have taken the unusual step of working with what's available now.

        Well, yeah. Fundamentally, I agree. But if you're waiting for slow, incremental change? The internet isn't really the best place. You're probably better off looking in politics.

      • Blank pages are the only thing you can do with HTML5 right now in many browsers

        yeah, well.... at least they load fast!

      • my TARDIS is busted, and worse, infested with a red-headed scottish girl with a scottish accent

        FTFY

        Anyway, there's a new companion now.

      • I will put my efforts learning to do great things in html5.

        Blank pages are the only thing you can do with HTML5 right now in many browsers. Some people, preferring not to wait, have taken the unusual step of working with what's available now. I know, it's a weird concept in IT... I prefer to time travel to the future too, but my TARDIS is busted, and worse, infested with a red-headed scottish girl with a terrible welsh accent. You wouldn't happen to have one I could "borrow", would you?

        I wish I could borrow someone's Amy...

      • The project is targeting HTML5 capable browsers, this will not work in IE8, or whatever crusty browser you're still using in the hinter land.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      HTML5 still does not come close to what Flash can do with at least 10 times less cpu usage.
      The HTML5 was presented as a Flash replacement but it is even lacking basic functionality like timelines and animation.
      That is what made Flash so popular.

      • Also, some years ago there was buzz in Slashdot about HTML5 video replacing Flash, but even today the HTML5 video players are complete garbage: they take monstrous amount of resources and the controls are glitchy.
      • I think the idea was supposed to be that HTML5 would allow third parties to implement timelines and animation with JavaScript and the 2D <canvas>. Does Flash Builder (not Flash CS) have timelines and animation?
    • by caspy7 (117545)

      End-game-wise, this will help to transition users and developers away from Flash and to HTML5.
      I'd say that's pretty great.

  • Bugs in the demo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HatofPig (904660) <clintonthegeek@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:36PM (#41963267) Homepage
    In the race card demo [github.com] the "best lap" time is actually just your last lap. And when you finish all 10 laps the clock doesn't stop, so your "final time" keeps increasing. I wonder if this is a bug in Shumway or the game itself. And I only get around 7 FPS on average, on Firefox in Linux/x86.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:44PM (#41963341)

      In the race card demo the "best lap" time is actually just your last lap. And when you finish all 10 laps the clock doesn't stop, so your "final time" keeps increasing. I wonder if this is a bug in Shumway or the game itself. And I only get around 7 FPS on average, on Firefox in Linux/x86.

      Sounds like the app has a... (puts on sunglasses) race condition. YEEEEEEEEEEaaaaaaah!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I get ~22 FPS, on Chromium in GNU+Linux/x86_64

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      In the race card demo [github.com] the "best lap" time is actually just your last lap.

      At least it loads for you. In the current version of Safari (OS X), I just get:

      TypeError: Attempting to change value of a readonly property. kanvas.js:49

      • by BZ (40346)

        Sounds like a JavaScriptCore bug. There are no readonly properties in sight around that line...

    • In the race card demo

      It's quite saddening to see Mozilla playing the race card. However, I'm glad to report that I'm getting ~22 FPS using Firefox 16.0.2 on OS X 10.7.5.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:39PM (#41963285)

    http://swfdec.freedesktop.org/wiki/

  • by alostpacket (1972110) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:45PM (#41963345) Homepage

    I love the Free / OSS nature of something like this, but one of the absolute best** things about Flash is the ActionScript language (specifically AS3) (and to a lesser extent flex).

    Since it is based on ECMAScript, it offers nearly everything JavaScript does and more. Classes, Inheritance, Polymorphism, both dynamic and static typing, etc, etc. And some things I find truly awesome such as the EventDispacter pattern and DisplayObject event bubbling.

    So what are the chances of ActionScript being considered for something like this? Are there legal hurdles that make it a non-starter?

    Also, how does this compare to other OSS flash players like Gnash? Conceivably this could solve the biggest problem with Flash, the lack of security involved when the player is proprietary.

    **Yes, Adobe stagnated and got lax about security as well as bundled toolbars with the plugin as well as other privacy implication with SharedObjects. However, as a scripting and vector animating platform, Flash was amazing tech. And it makes damn nice RIAs and did great for video for its time. However it's clear that time is over due to some serious missteps on Adobe's part. So please don't get me wrong, there are many valid criticisms of Flash, but it was an innovative technology (and still is to a much less extent).

    • by alostpacket (1972110) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:46PM (#41963359) Homepage

      Sorry to reply to myself, but it seems I'm tired and wasnt thinking -- Big clarification: The Shumway player does support AS -- as it support SWFs, and thus naturally, AS3.

      • by quetwo (1203948)

        Not all SWFs are AS3 -- quite a few of the older ones out there are still AS2 -- and all but two of the demos they've provided are AS2.

        By looking at the code, it looks like they've implemented maybe half of the opcodes in the SWF spec for AS3. They got the easiest ones for graphics, but they are missing all the networking ones, most of the effect, and a lot of the event handling. They still have a LONG way to go before they can say they run even a portion of the Flash apps out there.

        On a side note to thos

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget autobinding, vector animation, and a consistent, usable, extendable (if flawed) UI framework that displays correctly in any environment.

      HTML5 is great, except I have to write 5-6 different versions of my program, with 10x the code.

    • by drkstr1 (2072368) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:00AM (#41964567)
      We got our first "no flash" order on a project awhile back, and I have cried a little on the inside every day I have worked on it. My first introduction to flash was compiling SWFs in Linux using the MXMLC compiler. In fact, I even wrote the Actionscript 3 syntax highlighting rules for KDevelop (Kate) 3.5, because that's what I had available on my system to use. The flash platform is an AMAZING technology stack, and it is sad to see it go to waste behind a wall of patents wielded by a bafoon of a company.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        So, how long have you been working for Adobe? Flash and SWF are terrible technologies. They're slow, they're buggy, they're insecure. Most of the time when my browser crashes it's because of one of those two technologies.

        I wish you could say who the no flash order was from, because they deserve my business. Flash was one of the worst things to ever happen to the web.

        • by drkstr1 (2072368)

          So, how long have you been working for Adobe? Flash and SWF are terrible technologies. They're slow, they're buggy, they're insecure. Most of the time when my browser crashes it's because of one of those two technologies.

          I wish you could say who the no flash order was from, because they deserve my business. Flash was one of the worst things to ever happen to the web.

          I can promise you flash is only as slow and buggy as the flash developer. Unfortunately, there are hordes of the sluggish variety mucking about. Security is a non issue. In fact, flash is one of the easier things to get clearance on in our government contracts. I will however be the first to admit the platform would do much better if the whole thing were given to Apache. The problems with Flash are political, not technical.

          • Having the flash plugin is just more more attack vector on my system who's sole purpose is to essentially display advertisements, youtube videos, or horrible "I wish I was a real application" user interfaces. I can't tell you the number of times we have had to rush to update flash because of the threat of infections.

            I can live without it. If it can't be done with html and javascript it probably is best not done in a web browser.

            • by makomk (752139)

              Don't worry, soon all those CPU-hogging animated advertisments and horrible "I wish I was a real application" user interfaces will be implemented as native HTML 5.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            I can promise you flash is only as slow and buggy as the flash developer.

            If that were the case, the only way to explain the extreme shittiness of flash apps would be that flash attracts shitty developers. Why is that?

          • That's the problem though - Adobe couldn't exactly dump all those "developers" still using AS2, so they kept backwards compatibility. I'd wager a lot of AS3 "developers" are of the same calibre as AS2 "developers" - that is, artists who have diversified a little into scripting but don't really have a good understanding of programming or optimisation. The end result is as you said, loads of flash applications that murder your machine when they run. Also it took Adobe till Flash CS5.5 to make an IDE even remo
        • There are just as many horribly buggy, slow, and insecure Javascript/HTML sites. I've done some Flex work, and AS3 is a very solid platform. Mozilla's original Javascript JIT was an offshoot of the AS3 JIT, and I'm sure some AS3 features had a lot of influence on web standards such as WebWorkers. Now if the browsers could only agree on a standard for an efficient binary serialization format with object references like AMF....
  • by grouchomarxist (127479) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:59PM (#41963457)

    ...it's gotta be good.

  • Without the need for a plugin?
  • Oh, boy! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:07PM (#41963525)

    Having experienced just how slowly pdf.js renders documents longer than a page or two - I can't WAIT to see how well implementing swf in javascript goes!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is simply not true.
      I read New Yorker magazine in pdf.js, every file is ~100MB and ~100 pages and it's not slow at all.
      In chrome, I should add.

      • by FithisUX (855293)
        I second your opininion. I use it for my pdf needs more and more. I use Sumatra only for local files. PDf.js is used for previewing or online documentation reading. Much more convenient than adobe.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I won't get to know.

      I block flash and I block javascript. I only whitelist js for certain sites but mostly, its all blocked.

      (and nothing of value was lost...)

      • Re:Oh, boy! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@ w o r f.net> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:58AM (#41964551)

        I block flash and I block javascript. I only whitelist js for certain sites but mostly, its all blocked.

        Which is why a browser-based method is better than a plugin-based method for stuff that Flash does. After all, if you allow Flash for one site, who knows what sorts of Javascript and resources it pulls from other sites?

        But a browser based version or HTML5 means site-specific restrictions are honored - a Flash video that wants to pull in javascript from ad trackers can do it via the Flash plugin, but if it was in HTML5 or a browser implementation, will still remain blocked.

        • by bipbop (1144919)
          You do. RequestPolicy happily blocks cross-site requests made by the Flash plugin.
      • I won't get to know.

        I block flash and I block javascript. I only whitelist js for certain sites but mostly, its all blocked.

        (and nothing of value was lost...)

        I can't understand how you can get by. The modern web is too painful to use with JS blocked by default.

    • by Daltorak (122403)

      Having experienced just how slowly pdf.js renders documents longer than a page or two - I can't WAIT to see how well implementing swf in javascript goes!

      Implementing SWF in Javascript can't possibly be more complicated than implementing A Javascript x86 emulator that boots into Linux and can run gcc [bellard.org] .... could it?

  • Don't get me wrong, I love illustrator, and I don't think I could live without InDesign.

    But I do REALLY like the idea of html5 instead of flash. Sure, it was funny for awhile to call apple products crippled because they couldn't have a full web experience, but I've been having problems with Shockwave / Flash products for years.

    It does need to remain supported, I agree. And opened up? Great!

    But developed? Encouraged? Promoted? No thank you. I'd rather see the [blink] tag supported in facebook.
  • Just what we need, an efficient swf interpreter that doesn't have any memory issues!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    You have one ECMAScript spawn (JavaScript) interpretting another (ActionScript), talk about redundancy.

  • by fishnuts (414425) <fishnuts@arpa.org> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:13AM (#41964321) Homepage

    Does this mean developers might actually implement 'MUTE', 'FORCE STOP', or 'RESTART' context menu items for shockwave apps? I despise going to read a page with ads and other shockwave sidebar widgets that make noise or chew up CPU cycles and have no way to pause/mute/stop them. It also bugs that you must reload the entire page to get a flash app to restart.

    It's beyond me why Macromedia/Adobe never wanted us to have those essential controls. The only thing we get, in some rare cases, are the ability to prevent the app/player from looping, or to turn down rendering quality.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      adblock, noscript, flashblock

  • Shouldn't emulation of legacy game platform go to MAME instead?
  • but the main reason people are all jumping on the bandwagon is because with html5 there is at least a light at the end of the tunnel. sure it's missing a bunch of features but at the same time it eats into flash's feature set it fixes a bunch of the flaws with html4/xthml. Also it's not the complete cluster fuck that is flash.
  • Just when people want to ditch the old format and move over to html5... but then again, webpages are becoming more bogged down with useless junk which only means you'll have to wait until a page is loaded for like 5 minutes.. When will we actually go and try to optimize webpages and make them blazingly fast and not memory hogs like they are becoming, so we can actually enjoy our new fast hardware instead of having the same speed with new pages as we had on our old hardware with the old pages..
  • the whole reason for doing it natively is to gain the speedup from decompression of all fft-based formats (jpeg,mpeg,mp3,etc.) in hardware instead of in software. If you lose that, then flash has no point.
  • I sit here wondering why I still need to see an update to the Flash plugin, much less an alternative way to play a flash file. No thanks.

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