How to make Flash work on your iPhone, iPad

Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 10:33 by Tech Correspondent

Adobe and Apple have been at loggerheads for decades now.

Apple refuses to support Adobe Flash because its CEO Steve Jobs is convinced, and justifiably so, that Flash uses too much processing power, and keeps crashing, causing system failure continually. Despite the skirmish between Jobs and Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch last year over Flash technology, we were really hoping to see Flash support in the recently-released iPad 2.

But as Apple remains adamant about its dislike for Flash, Adobe has caved in and developed a program that converts Flash files into HTML5.

adobe flash photo

Photo: Adobe Flash

The experimental technology, codenamed “Wallaby,” converts the artwork and animation contained in Adobe Flash Professional (FLA) files into HTML, which can then be viewed over supported browsers or an iOS device. We first saw this drag-and-drop tool at the Adobe MAX2010 conference last year.

Though Wallaby is quite limited in its feature-support right now, it covers basic aspects of Flash, such as, button, fills, images, text, layers, etc. However, the content we’d really like to see work on iOS devices – interactive games, embedded videos and sounds – is still unsupported. Suggested read: Flash Player 10.2 said to be 34 times more efficient

It seems like Wallaby’s main focus at the moment is to get Flash banner ads work on iPhones, iPads and iPods. With Wallaby’s help, designers can migrate their designs to these non-Flash HTML-compatible devices.

Wallaby uses Webkit CSS3 tags and therefore is only compatible with Webkit based browsers. This means the Wallaby HTML5 output is not compatible with Mozilla Firefox, just –released Internet Explorer 9, or other non-Webkit based browsers. The only supported browsers at this time are Chrome and Safari on OSX, Windows, and iOS (iPad, iPhone and iPod).

Click here if you want to try the prerelease version of Wallaby from Adobe Labs.

At the eve of Wallaby’s prerelease, Adobe principal product manager John Nack wrote in his blog post that Adobe’s job is to help people 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.”

Google’s Android OS supports Flash, but apart from watching videos, we wonder how much is that going to help a user, because Flash applications don’t anyway gel well with touch-based interface. It’s time Adobe geared up for a “post-Flash” world of mobile computing, where HTML5 would spearhead the technological revolution.

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