back to article Adobe releases Wallaby to jump Jobsian Flash ban

Adobe execs don't want their customers to fret over the company's recent spat with Apple over its decision to make its iPad and iPhone products a Flash-free zone. The result? Adobe has birthed a prototype piece of software, dubbed Wallaby, that is a Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool. Initially, Adobe is making the software …


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  1. It wasnt me
    Thumb Down

    What a waste of time.

    I've said it before, and ill say it again. Jobs hates flash not for any of the reasons that he states, but because the technology is a threat to the app store empire. If allowed it would enable applications to loaded from web pages and bypass the app store, completely severing his walled garden revenue stream.

    Now it HTML 5 enables similar rich apps to be created, then Jobs wont allow that any where near his precious cash cows.

    Its not about the technology, despite what his silly open letters say. Its pure protectionism.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Protectionism, but not pure

      You're partly right, it may be protectionism but let's be honest Adobe did made Jobs life easy by the monster that is the flash plugin. It was bad in all platforms but left unchecked would be a disaster for tablets. Adobe even managed to do the same with their PDF reader.

      All this publicity actually forced Adobe to finally start to care about performance, and we've seen some improvements but I wouldn't say they're there yet. Maybe by the time they get it right Apple will be in a position to reconsider.

      1. Bill B

        Apple reconsider?

        I don't see that happening whilst Jobs is involved in the company. His 'Flash' letter effectively painted Appple into a corner. Flash could be completely rewitten to provide a low power, highly reliable tool and Apple still wouldn't be able to use it because Jobs put the stakes so high.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        "Monster" plugin

        There are some very good technical articles that explain why Flash traditionally sucked on OS X and mostly they were to do with the browser, the APIs and the lack of hardware acceleration the plugin had to work with.

        Potted summary - the Windows flash plugin usually runs in it's own native window (though it can also be windowless in some cases) which means it can render whenever it likes without begging for a repaint from the browser. It can also tell when it is hidden / visible to throttle repaints. In OS X all plugins are windowless and at the mercy of the browser for rendering so if the plugin needs 30 repaints a second it must ask the browser. Multiply by 3 or 4 plugins and 3 or 4 tabs and it's easy to see how stuff bogs down. Additionally, until Core Animation, the plugin couldn't even benefit from hardware acceleration for it's purposes so video performance really suffered.

        So yeah Flash sucked and if we were to apportion blame then Apple would take its fair share. Note that I said traditionally above. Most of the issues have been resolved by Adobe engineers working in conjunction with Apple engineers which is why Flash performance is so dramatically improved.

        All of which is by the by. Flash has been demonstrated to work more than adequately in a range of phone operating systems before and after iOS. The only reason it was left out was protectionism. If Flash (specifically AIR) ran on iOS, it would allow Adobe to hive off their own ecosystem which was OS independent. Users visit Adobe's app store to run an app and it wouldn't make any difference if they switched to Android because the same runtime would be there too.

        Google seems to have taken a more pragmatic approach that most people use what their phone supplies out of the box (power of the default) so there is little point actively preventing a small % of users from installing some other runtime / browser. Doing so just antagonizes people, and probably scares off more prospective users than it would gain by locking them in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          > If Flash (specifically AIR) ran on iOS

          It does. There are 10K's of Flash Apps in the App Store and none of the original ones from CS5 Beta developers were removed before the policy was relaxed either. Its what makes the performance argument so lame.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            You are all wrong, and here's why

            #1 If you'll recall two items from history: first, web app development in HTML was actually officially encouraged by Apple prior to the release of the (then-)iPhone SDK. That, and Apple was instrumental in giving HTML5 a kick in the ass in the first place with working on WebKit, which then became (at least the basis for) the de-facto mobile browser. So the argument that web apps make Apple bristle because they're a threat to its app ecosystem is, on its face, ludicrous.

            #2 Apps that were authored in Flash and compiled down to iOS apps do not represent "Flash running on iOS". They are running native code, crummy as it may be, which is different than a SWF playing in an interpreted environment via a browser plugin.

    2. Volker Hett

      No 30% cut from free apps?

      yes, he must be scared!

    3. Franklin

      A title is needed

      "I've said it before, and ill say it again. Jobs hates flash not for any of the reasons that he states, but because the technology is a threat to the app store empire. If allowed it would enable applications to loaded from web pages and bypass the app store, completely severing his walled garden revenue stream."

      Well, not really. It's still possible for developers to code Web apps that "get around the walled garden," simply without Flash. I'm actually exploring doing just this for one of my apps, which my users have been asking for an iPhone/iPad version of and which would never be permitted on the app store (it's a sex game).

      It'd be easier in Flash than as an HTML5 Web app, sure, but some of that might just be because I know Flash better than I know HTML5. :)

      I actually thought that sacrificing Flash would be a big deal, but as an experiment I've removed Flash from my main desktop browser a while back, and I actually haven't missed it. Life without it is rather easier than I expected it to be, in all honesty.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Banner ads?!

    How the hell are annoying banner ads going to placate anyone? Personally, I hope Jobs comes back to stick the other boot in, and fast. If it did something useful, that would be placating.

    Now, how do I remove flash completely from chrome? Flashblock suddenly feels.. inadequate.

    1. A J Stiles

      You miss something

      "How the hell are annoying banner ads going to placate anyone?"

      The advertisers are the *real* customers. You and I are merely the product that is being sold to them. Anything that allows more advertisements to be displayed is going to be seen as a good thing.

    2. Oninoshiko


      Oh but html5 is going to make the world a happy place! Now you understand one of the major drivers for it: you can block flash, but can you block html (and still have a functional web)?

      1. A J Stiles


        You can't block HTML without hacking and recompiling your browser. But you *can* block the sources of the adverts at the nameserver level. Well worth learning a bit about BIND for, IMHO.

  3. Adam T


    The irony being, it's banner ads that nobody wants. All the useful stuff Flash can do (games, interfaces) is where the problem lies.

    Perhaps it's a strategy to poison HTML5. "See - HTML5 comes with loads of annoying shit too! And you can't uninstall it!".

    Hey, maybe they have a point...

  4. Wibble

    Praise be for AdBlock

    > currently only converts typical banner ads to HTML5

    Blocking flash is only one thing that's needed. Blocking adverts is essential. If they up the ante, then blocking all JavaScript comes next.

    Animated adverts are probably the most loathsome aspect of the intarwebs.

    1. Mike G

      You can pay instead

      Instead of a few harmless ads perhaps you can pay to write all the content and host all sites like this one, that rely on advertising. Sure nobody likes ads, but what's the alternative? Paywalls?

      Whiny freetards are probably the most loathsome aspect of the intarwebs.

  5. MikeSM

    Both ways?

    One thing I've observed but never see mentioned in the 'Apple vs Adobe' Flash wars:

    IT professionals are the first to grumble when they come upon a website that relies heavily on Flash for its functionality. Yet whenever a discussion about iOS comes up, they are also the first to point out the lack of Flash as a weakness in the iOS environment. So which is it? Does Flash suck or not?

    In the interest of full disclosure, I do use an iPhone as my everyday mobile device. I have not found the lack of Flash in Mobile Safari to be a major hindrance to the use of my device. It seems most Flash-dependent sites have either developed a native app or an HTML5 equivalent by now.

    I do realize this is a reflection of my browsing habits as well and may not represent all users.

    That being said, I honestly just don't understand why this is still news.

    1. Zephyrus Spacebat

      Too much of a good thing

      The reason why IT professionals complain when a website relies on Flash is that it just plain renders it unusable. Example, the IdeaCom website - - blocking Flash makes FF position the blocked flash header over the top of the buttons to choose the language. This is detrimental to the user experience.

      However, sometimes I *do* want to use Flash on a mobile device - eg, the (Australian) ABC's iView. I do not know of a way to use iView on an iPhone - there isn't an app, as far as I remember (haven't had my iPhone for a year now).

      Flash does suck, but it is getting better. Slowly, but it is.

      (Also, assuming most Flash-dependent sites have HTML5 versions/apps for your phone is rather naive, don't you think? As far as HTML5 <canvas> websites go, I've honestly seen nothing that isn't a proof of concept or gimmick.)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @bothway.. and my grumble

      In our place I grumble like feck about Flash sites, mainly because our central networks team have banned flash/swf/... from the network.

      So my grumble on that side is it is blocked but the sites that my users use need Flash, so there is an endless back and forth between users and central networks defending why site A,B,C and X.Y,Z are to be opened for flash, and all the politics involved.

      On a pesonal side, I use flash sites a lot iPlayer,games etc, so do need a device to do it (although iPlayer now does via ipad/pod/phone). So there is a two way grumble

  6. Steve Taylor 3

    *Animated* ads.

    "Instead of a few harmless ads perhaps you can pay to write all the content and host all sites like this one, that rely on advertising."

    So did you not read the bit where Wibble says "*animated* ads are the most loathsome..."? Guess not.

    I am perfectly happy to have the internet supported by advertising - as long as said advertising doesn't animate, blink, talk to me, scoot around the page, pop up new windows, doge the cursor, hide under the current window or any other loathsome tricks.

    1. Joel 1

      It was the animated ads that made me jump....

      It was the animated ads on El Reg (particularly that annoying BT woman who shot across the screen on her wheely chair) that made me decide to install Adblock Plus. I wasn't particularly bothered by the ads when they stayed in their allocated area, even if the flash animation sucked CPU cycles.... But when they realised that they were simply being ignored, the advertisers decided to jump around the screen to get in my face.

      Upshot, I installed Adblock Plus, and they were sent to bed with no supper.

      Anyone remember the X10 camera popup ads? They added impetus to the development and uptake of browsers blocking pop up windows.

      Advertising is a contract between the viewer and the advertisers. They need to entice, not bludgeon. If the advertisers step too far over the mark, they get blocked.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Adobe ...

    Ya should've stuck with PostScript.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ahh, postscript...

      ...You've gotta love a protocol/format that can turn a quarter page of plaintext into 50mbytes of crap. I'd love to know how they managed it.

      On the other hand, it was always kinda cool to see pkzip do 99.95% compression.

      1. Tom 13

        True, but at least it always gave you

        the same page layout regardless of whether you sent it to the cheap(er) office printer, or the press shop's Linotronic.

        As for how they managed it, go back and read the history of the language. It was designed around both plotters and laser printers. That makes things a bit more difficult than an already bloated Word doc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          PS was actually ...

          A plotting language (similar to Forth) originally for drawing the hull of boats in a CAD style on display devices -- these could be either a screen or a plotter or a laser printer.

          And PostScript isn't bloated at all ... hand crafted PS is actually VERY sparse and efficient.

          I love it,

      2. A J Stiles


        Some of us still actually handcraft PostScript. Even I used to, till I wrote a perl module to do it for me .....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Yup ...

          So do I.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Jobs - a Flash in the pan

    What's that you say Steve? Flash on the iPhone, over your dead body?

    Give it time...

  9. Ian Ferguson
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    ...Adobe and others should have a long think about the content they're publishing as Flash, and whether it really needs to be published as Flash, if they can make it display quite happily in HTML5.

    Adobe are kind of shooting themselves in the foot here and hastening the redundancy of Flash. No bad thing.

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