Archive for October, 2010
Helpful tool for taking vector art from Adobe Illustrator .ai assets and exporting them as html5 with canvas script.
John Nack from Adobe has been presenting Adobe tools exporters to html5 recently. One is a Flash to html5 convertion tool. It looks good for converting flash vector assets to html5, but you could also use the Illustrator exporter to html5 (canvas/svg) for static assets.
This converter doesn’t appear to do anything for scripted animation or code, just exporting assets via old skool timeline. But this is definitely the right idea.
Silverlight launched in 2007 to compete with Flash as a rich media and internet app toolkit. Microsoft had failed before with Liquid Motion competing with Flash back in late 90′s early 2000′s. Now, over 10 years later, Silverlight might be dying as a technology that was another competitor to Flash, due to poor timing and lack of committment.
I asked Bob Muglia, the Microsoft President in charge of the company’s server and tools business, that very question and got what I consider to be the clearest answer yet about how Microsoft is evolving its Silverlight strategy.
“Silverlight is our development platform for Windows Phone,” he said. Silverlight also has some “sweet spots” in media and line-of-business applications, he said.
But when it comes to touting Silverlight as Microsoft’s vehicle for delivering a cross-platform runtime, “our strategy has shifted,” Muglia told me.
Silverlight will continue to be a cross-platform solution, working on a variety of operating system/browser platforms, going forward, he said. “But HTML is the only true cross platform solution for everything, including (Apple’s) iOS platform,” Muglia said.
Silverlight was launched as a competitor to the Flash Flex framework and competing with Flash video most of all. This was before the H.264 battles, right when the mobile scene blew up and changed the game immensely. It was actually nice when it launched because it pushed Adobe on Flash and Flex (Flex was even later merged into the Flash brand to help it be more consistent like Silverlight). This was good for the whole interactive space.
Microsoft is now going with an HTML5 strategy. The odd thing is that the Windows Phone is entirely Silverlight driven, no html5 support. So is Microsoft going to leave their new mobile platfform high and dry due to this change in strategy? It just seems so short sighted and reactionary over at MSFT that everything is wavering. Who’s developing just silverlight for just Windows Phone? The timing of them stating this couldn’t be worse for Windows Phone.
Microsoft’s html5 strategy is hardware accelerated, something that Silverlight only partially has like Flash (though Adobe is changing that). It is apparent that mobile has changed even the rich internet applications game as well as gaming in that we are back to multiplatform, native apps and non browser plugins for web content (mobile devices support no web browser plugins at all let alone Flash or Silverlight). Still for the next 2-3 years limitations in hardware on mobile devices prevents anything software rendered to be fast (including html5 canvas and svg if there is no hardware acceleration), and due to this slowness, not able to compare/compete to compiled native apps that do have hardware access. This has forced Adobe and now Microsoft to change their strategies to get through it. We may see a resurgence of Flash and Silverlight like plugins on mobile browsers but not for years.
The only real place we see Silverlight is over at Netflix (maybe they will go html5 video or Flash video) and on Microsoft shop client apps. It appears with no support from Microsoft it will fall out of favor faster. Microsoft developers are usually forced to go with what Microsoft is recommending as much of it is sold through a business channel rather than developers now. It is good html5 and standards will be more prevalent in that ecosystem as long as they don’t start marginalizing it to proprietary elements. But if you step back and see the rumors a week ago that Microsoft might be interested in Adobe, the mobile surge and strategy shifts at Microsoft, it seems to send out a clarion call that Silverlight is over or the credits are about to roll.
The mobile surge, standards, native, hardware acceleration and cross platform aims of current market leaders, we have the new game, again. It doesn’t appear like Silverlight was, or will be, a success.
It’s about time. Here at drawlogic we have been pushing hardware acceleration in Flash as it died in Adobe’s Director product that is all but history. Director was horribly not useful as a programming tool but Flash and AS3 have become a great environment, the only thing missing was getting past software rendering limitations to use hardware acceleration that have been made more apparent by mobile devices which are like late 90′s early 00′s computers.
With Flash gaming being so huge and competitors like Unity it is surprising it took this long but it seems Flash and AIR development will be kicking up a notch in 2011 with hardware acceleration.
Adobe has finally delivered or will so in 2011 on this pressing need.
It’s a good thing ByteArray (Thibault Imbert – the man inside) got in there at Adobe he has been there delivering killer stuff and presents a video on Molehill on Adobe Labs showing this new tech.
“Molehill” is the code name for a new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs that will enable advanced 3D experiences across screens through the Adobe® Flash® Platform runtimes. These new low-level APIs will provide advanced 3D and 3D engine developers the flexibility to leverage GPU hardware acceleration for significant performance gains. Today, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, renders thousands of non z-buffered triangles at approximately 30 Hz. With the new 3D APIs, developers can expect hundreds of thousands of z-buffered triangles to be rendered at HD resolution in full screen at around 60 Hz. Using the new 3D APIs in Flash Player and AIR will make it possible to deliver sophisticated 3D experiences across almost every computer and device connected to the Internet.
Developers will be able to create content through the upcoming Flash Player beta program starting in the first half of 2011. To leverage the 3D features exposed in Flash Player during the beta period, developers will use Adobe Flash Builder™ or the Adobe Flex® SDK with an updated SWC exposing the required APIs.
More on the capabilities and rendering tech:
Developers were told to expect “hundreds of thousands of z-buffered triangles to be rendered at HD resolution in full screen at around 60 Hz” under the new APIs, compared to “thousands” of un-z-buffered, 30Hz triangles under the current Flash Player 10.1.
The acceleration will rely on DirectX 9 standards on Windows, OpenGL ES 1.3 on Macs and OpenGL ES 2.0 on mobile platforms, and potentially puts Flash more directly into competition with 3D-centric web game engines such as Unity.
We are very excited about this development and what it means to Unity, WebGL and other technologies that have filled the gap. With Adobe making this change and recent tool support for html5 it seems the old Macromedia innovative spirit has been awoken. I only wish it could have kicked into high gear in 2007-2008 when mobile made native and hardware acceleration necessary again and probably for good.
As we learn more and get our hands on it we will be posting much more on ‘Molehill’.
This would probably never fly on the App Store because it executes code or interprets it but is a very nice experiment. More discussion at Hacker News..