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Smokescreen, a JavaScript-Based Flash Player 356

Posted by kdawson
from the now-to-optimize dept.
Tumbleweed writes "How to make Steve Jobs your mortal enemy: Smokescreen, a 175KB, 8,000-line JavaScript-based Flash player written by Chris Smoak at RevShock, a mobile ad startup, and to be open-sourced 'in the near future.' From Simon's blog: 'It runs entirely in the browser, reads in SWF binaries, unzips them (in native JS), extracts images and embedded audio, and turns them into base64 encoded data: URIs, then stitches the vector graphics back together as animated SVG. ... Smokescreen even implements its own ActionScript bytecode interpreter.' Badass!"
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Smokescreen, a JavaScript-Based Flash Player

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  • Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:19PM (#32421500) Homepage Journal

    Very impressive! However, given Flash's performance issues even when compiled natively for mobile devices, this is more of a proof of concept then something usable.

  • by opencity (582224) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:20PM (#32421524) Homepage

    This sounds better than the actual Flash player! I've been playing with canvas in an effort to get away from Actionscript but this, especially open sourced, sounds like the best of both worlds.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:21PM (#32421540) Journal

    Hey, now those flash ads can bog you down EVEN MORE, and just in case you left Javascript on with flash uninstalled, you get the benefit of it as well!

    Honestly, I think this will force most people to turn Javascript off if nothing else.

  • by gearloos (816828) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:22PM (#32421550)
    I just wonder how efficient it will be for the rendering times. Some flash is already bordering on bloatware. Add in taking it apart and re-rendering and I start to wonder if its worth it to wait that long.
  • by mveloso (325617) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:24PM (#32421576)

    Jobs doesn't care about flash content, he cares about flash. If the flash content can be used without flash itself, well, that'd be great.

    Not sure why, but slashdot's headline writers are starting to sound more and more like tabloid writers. Why not say "Smokescreen to Adobe: flash off!"

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:26PM (#32421602)

    most people or most nerds? I don't think most people even get ABP, even if they run Firefox, let alone actually know what Javascript is or that its something that can be disabled. Turn off JS these days, and practically nothing works. better would be a plug-in which just prevents Smokescreen from being loaded in particular.

  • by RLBrown (889443) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:26PM (#32421606) Homepage
    My take is that this proves, perhaps to a significant degree if not completely, that Javascript/HTML5 can do anything that a native Flash engine could do . So why build in Flash? Go straight to Javascript/HTML5. I do not think Steve Jobs will be unhappy about this at all.
  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:28PM (#32421632) Homepage

    A certain sort of video (the kind you can't find on Youtube) comes primarily in Flash format. This sort of video seems to drive the adoption of new technology. If this can bring said video to the iPad, sales are certain to engorge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:28PM (#32421644)

    This is fantastic news for Intel and AMD. Crap like this is why we need to buy a new computer with a faster processor every year, just to do the same shit we were able to do last year.

    You know, I could watch streaming video just fine back in 1995 using RealPlayer on my old HP-UX workstation. That workstation probably has less computing power than a shitty clamshell phone today. But times change. Now it's 2010, and my computer from last year will barely have enough power to suitably run this JavaScript video player monstrosity.

    It's not that we can do something that we couldn't do 15 years ago, it's just that we take an absolutely moronic approach these days.

  • by famanz (1447895) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:31PM (#32421686)

    Jobs doesn't care about flash content, he cares about flash.

    Sorry but that's just not true. Did you miss the recent uproar about the new iPhone SDK agreement [slashdot.org]? The new agreement bans any applications that were not natively written in C/C++/Objective C. This updated agreement was released only weeks before Adobe CS5 was to debut with advanced tools that would allow the porting of flash apps to the iPhone. If flash itself was the problem then such a clause would not have been added.

  • Why on apple.*? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@g m a il.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:34PM (#32421740) Homepage
    Other than Apple's non-support of Flash on the iPad, this has nothing to do with Apple. This is an Adobe Flash emulator written in JavaScript.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:34PM (#32421744) Homepage

    On a side note, why are people suddenly so in love with the term "infographic"? Can't we call it a "graph" or "chart"?

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Twillerror (536681) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:43PM (#32421894) Homepage Journal

    Bog down? And an 8000 line JS program isn't?

    Are you running a lappy 386 like in the video?

    I don't know about you, but I go to sites with lots of flash and it doesn't bog me down...maybe your on dialup or something....

    You can be annoyed with Flash ads sure...but on a free content site like this one STFU...it's free...just ignore them. Bunch of cry babies out there.

    And like it our not Flash has brought me and millions countless hours of enjoyment thru YouTube, Hulu, etc. Even strongbad was cool in it's day. In the words of John Kimble....stop whining!

    Btw, I don't see the webcam tag in HTML 5...or microphone tag....so Flash isn't going anywhere at least for a few years. Heck HTML is barely out.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by God'sDuck (837829) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:47PM (#32421950)

    On a side note, why are people suddenly so in love with the term "infographic"? Can't we call it a "graph" or "chart"?

    It is because your boss's nephew knows how to make graphs and charts. Never word anything in a way that might cause you to be replaced by your boss's nephew.

  • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:47PM (#32421954)

    I don't buy your take on things.

    I think it has a lot more to do with being the gatekeepers for content (and continuing to get a cut of the profit) than with flash content itself. They don't want people using apps and games on their platform that you didn't buy from the app store, hence no Flash or Java on the i-devices.

  • by Jer (18391) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:52PM (#32422030) Homepage

    Why should Adobe care? As far as their history goes, I think Adobe would love it if they didn't need to support a flash plug-in. They certainly don't seem to want to invest a lot of time/money into keeping it up-to-date.

    Adobe makes their money on Flash development tools. They give the plug-ins away for free to sell more dev kits. I could see them kicking up a fuss over open source compilers, but not interpreters.

  • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:23PM (#32422440) Homepage Journal

    If apple was being honest about the reasons for not including flash, things like problems with sandboxing and concurrent app access etc, this probably inciodentally solves those problems so Steve may not actually care.

    And it's a EULA btw.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oasisbob (460665) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:06PM (#32423018)

    On a side note, why are people suddenly so in love with the term "infographic"? Can't we call it a "graph" or "chart"?

    First, infographics isn't a new term, it's a been around since the early 1990s, at least.

    Second, infographics is a more inclusive category than charts or graphs. Charts and graphs tend to be quantitative in nature. A good example of an infographic is a map: calling a subway map a chart is a stretch. (Yes, I'm aware of nautical and aeronautical charts.)

    So, when Dan suggests that Flash has legitimate uses for infographics, I think that's a perfectly legitimate use of the term.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:21PM (#32423244)

    This is true... there's so much good stuff on the Internet these days that uses JS, it's not something that anyone would want to turn off, unless they're some kind of paranoid nerd who's probably only surfing on his text-only internet browser anyways.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:23PM (#32423288) Homepage

    Times I've used a webcam or mic on flash: 0

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:24PM (#32423308)

    who cares how crappy it runs. all i want to see it do is load flash, and then bring a idevice to its knees. steve will either give in and allow binary flash, if adobe will even write it for them now, or he will keep his ways, and every single website out there with flash ads will make the browsing experience on the idevices so useless people will ditch them. LMFAO

  • by ChefInnocent (667809) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:37PM (#32423536)
    Like others have said, you are confused about JS. It is a beautiful language that has been cursed by the browser. The only features I'd like to add would be (explicit) multi-threading, and typing beyond var. JS is a truly object oriented language that offers dynamic scoping and functions as first class objects. I understand there are some command-line interpreters that actually allow those, but I've only used it in the browser. If any of those languages you mentioned had made their introduction via the browser, you'd hate them equally or more so.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cream wobbly (1102689) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:53PM (#32423776)

    Almost everyone doesn't use noscript, thanks.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:08PM (#32423988) Homepage

    Maps are considered "infographics"? That's crazy. Why aren't maps just "maps"?

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mike260 (224212) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:11PM (#32424012)

    It dares to have different key bindings to Firefox, and it actually renders pages as intended?

    Unacceptable!

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spewns (1599743) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:11PM (#32424014)

    most people or most nerds? I don't think most people even get ABP, even if they run Firefox, let alone actually know what Javascript is or that its something that can be disabled. Turn off JS these days, and practically nothing works. better would be a plug-in which just prevents Smokescreen from being loaded in particular.

    Disabling javascript at the user's will? Forget ABP, that's where noscript comes in! And who doesn't use noscript?

    I used NoScript for awhile, but it became annoying and I couldn't really identify any real benefits for myself to use it. ABP is enough for me in terms of making the web bearable. Whatever security benefits I allegedly get from running NoScript become meaningless when confronted with the fact that I don't browse around bizarre and obscure websites in the first place.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @09:54PM (#32426748) Journal

    It's much, much simpler to just install Chrome and not have to worry about javascript performance.

    The day one doesn't have to worry about javascript performance is the day we all have infinite computing resources. Until then, there's always someone out there writing either too much or too badly javascript, most often for a pointless (to me) reason. This latter part is a big reason to disable javascript. The other two? Annoying ads and malware (which might well be residing in said annoying ad). Of course noscript. flashbock, cookie safe, etc aren't silver bullets--there's still visited site tracking, meta-refresh, and lots of other possibly nasties (like buggy image, video (with html5), or html processing code). But, reasonably, even if I had infinite resources to run whatever random javascript (or flash or java) some web site wants ran, why would I aid what is still overly heavily used as a mechanism to spam myself?

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @12:36AM (#32427812) Homepage
    Yeah, but even that is mostly a graph, I think. A clever graph. A graph with funny little things thrown in.

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