Adobe Delivers 'Wallaby' Flash-to-HTML5 Tool

Adobe Systems has made a new experimental tool that converts Flash content to HTML5 available to users via the Adobe Labs site.

Adobe has come up with a new Flash-to-HTML5 tool, known as "Wallaby," that can enable Flash developers to build apps with even greater reach.

As the emerging clash between technologies such as Adobe's Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight versus HTML5 continues to gain steam, tools such as Wallaby are likely to become more important to developers looking to create applications for a wider variety of devices. Yet both Adobe and Microsoft have ongoing efforts to continue to support both their proprietary technology in Flash and Silverlight as well as to strongly support HTML5.

Adobe introduced the technology codenamed Wallaby in a demo at the Adobe MAX 2010 conference last October and released it on the Adobe Labs site on March 8 as an experimental technology for developers to try out. Adobe customers called for a closer look at the technology following that MAX demo.

In a March 8 blog post, Adobe's Vanessa Rios said Wallaby is an Adobe AIR application that allows designers and developers to convert Adobe Flash Professional files into HTML5 with a simple drag and drop of the mouse, quickly and easily expanding the distribution of creative content across platforms.

Wallaby converts the artwork and animation contained in Adobe Flash Professional (FLA) files into HTML. This allows developers and designers to reuse and extend the reach of their content to devices that do not support the Flash runtimes. Once these files are converted to HTML, developers can edit them with an HTML editing tool, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, or by hand if desired.

"Wallaby has a very simple UI and provides a path for users to input existing .FLA files and export HTML5 code," Rios said. "Users can then leverage their programming skills to further edit or optimize the code generated. Wallaby's conversion to HTML5 allows content created in Flash Professional to be viewed within browsers running the WebKit rendering engine, including Google Chrome and Safari on iOS devices iPad, iPhone and iPod touch."

Adobe's release of Wallaby to Adobe Labs is a way for the company to garner user input on the technology.

"We invite customers to download Wallaby, try out the code it generates and provide feedback on how they are using it to create simple animations like banner ads and translating graphical content," Rios said. "User response to the Wallaby technology preview will enable us to better understand how we can continue to support customers who want to reduce their learning curve for HTML5 development while leveraging the tools and skills they have today and reach users across more devices than ever."

Meanwhile, Adobe notes that not all Flash Professional features are supported in the HTML5 format. The Wallaby Release Notes describe what features are supported, what differences Adobe has discovered between the various browsers, what device variations have been found, and any currently known issues.

"Wallaby is a glimpse at the type of innovations we are making in Flash and HTML5, both imperative technologies that we will continue investing in for the long-term," Rios said.