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Adobe Brings Flash-Free Flash To iOS Devices 178

Posted by timothy
from the extreme-front-loading dept.
CWmike writes "At long last Adobe Flash has come to an iPad or iPhone, writes Jonny Evans. Adobe appeared at Europe's NAB equivalent, IBC, this week to introduce Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 and Adobe Flash Access 3.0. Adobe's solution repackages content in real-time, changing the protocol to suit the target device, HTTP Dynamic Streaming or HLS, for example. This should mean that iOS devices will get much of the advantages of Flash video support, without the processor degradation and battery life cost of the format in use on other devices. 'With Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5, media publishers now have a single, simple workflow for delivering content using the same stream to Flash-enabled devices or to the Apple iPhone and iPad,' Adobe says."
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Adobe Brings Flash-Free Flash To iOS Devices

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  • by petsounds (593538) on Friday September 09, 2011 @11:29PM (#37359850)

    This is a silly, biased article and summary. This does NOT bring Flash to iOS devices. This is merely Adobe spinning out a new version of their video serving software with a new protocol option than plays nice with iOS devices.

    The things Flash is really good at -- multimedia experiences that can be delivered to a wide audience via a ubiquitous plugin -- are not emulated here. But way to go timothy for trolling! You wear your bias on your editorial sleeve.

    • by bradgoodman (964302) on Friday September 09, 2011 @11:46PM (#37359944) Homepage
      Correct.

      It merely takes the Flash video that an Adobe Flash Media Server would send out via Flash's proprietary RTMP (or HDS) protocols, and does some real-time repackaging of the video, so it can be streamed out via an Apache server which is co-installed on the box. The Apache server streams the content out via HTTP as individual MPEG-TS fragments, compatible with Apple's HTTP Live Streaming.

      Since both HDS (Adobe's HTTP Dynamic Streaming) and HLS (Apple's HTTP Live Streaming) use H.264 video - there is no transcoding involved, only a simple dynamic repackaging to convert between formats.

      • So... it does what Slyfire [skyfire.com] has been doing for... what? 2 years now?

        • No. Definitely not. That is a user-oriented "service" where you can email the URL to a flash video, and it transcodes it for you.

          The Adobe solution is meant for deployment by services who wish to provide (a single) video for Flash and iOS platforms. More of akin to what YouTube does, maybe.

      • Sounds like it'll make downloading streaming videos easier. I'm all for it - Messing with rtmpsuck and the like is definitely annoying for those sites that you can't just get the url from the source...

    • So the set is Zero (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday September 09, 2011 @11:49PM (#37359954)

      The things Flash is really good at -- multimedia experiences that can be delivered to a wide audience via a ubiquitous plugin

      The thing is, Flash SUCKS at that. Can you name a single site that really does that well? The only thing I can think of off hand is the MINIUSA configurator. But even there the site is rife with all the things that make Flash a terror - I can't copy text from just anywhere, sometimes the loading goes wrong, and the site bogs down my DESKTOP never mind what would happen to a mobile device.

      Pretty much every other site I've seen that relies heavily on Flash for a "rich multimedia experience" is just awful, non-intuitive and performs very badly. So many sites trying that kind of thing would be so much better serving users simplifying the site into something that would work with DHTML, never mind HTML5 and canvas stuff...

      • by sunspot42 (455706) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @12:15AM (#37360060)

        Thanks, I was about to say something similar but you beat me to it.

        Every single "multimedia experience" I've encountered on the Internet since day-one has been a sucktacular piece of shit. Flash is one of the leading reasons for that, but the whole concept of using a web browser to deliver "multimedia experiences" is idiotic, and every implementation I've seen has been a sad, buggy, bandwidth and CPU hogging joke.

        Browsers. Aren't. Built. For. That.

        No "plugin" will fix it.

        Use a dedicated app, fools.
         

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          I don't want a dedicated app for every website. It would be a pain in the ass to setup, cause a lot of wheel-reinventing, and be a security nightmare. Flash is a jack of all trades. Able to do most anything you want, but never really good at it.

        • by tepples (727027) <tepples@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday September 10, 2011 @06:59AM (#37361342) Homepage Journal

          Use a dedicated app, fools.

          Would you want to have to download and install an app for Homestar Runner, an app for Weebl and Bob, a separate app for every single video or game uploaded to Newgrounds, etc.? And would you want to have to buy a copy of Windows to run those apps?

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Not all flash is evil. Gmail uses it for some background stuff to keep the ui responsive.

        • by Xest (935314)

          You seem to have a more brutal experience on the web than I've ever had in the last 17 years or so.

          Do you tend to buy really really cheap shitty low end PCs or something? My PC was upper mid range about 3 years ago, and this is a similar pattern for all PCs I've ever owned, yet I've never even come close to such problems with Flash. In fact, there are literally millions of people right now sat happily playing games like Farmville on Facebook using Flash without an inkling of a problem, and they'll hardly ha

      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        Out of curiosity, I just tried a few flash games on an Android phone. Maybe I was just lucky, but the first 3 I tried worked fine.
        • by Nerdfest (867930)
          Sorry, responded to the wrong comment ....
        • Sure they will run, but if they require keyboard presses how do you control them?

          What if they require a cursor hover...

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            Most don't require a cursor hover, and for keyboard presses, I just press the keys on my phone's keyboard. Although a HUGE number of flash games don't require keyboard or hover.
            • I just press the keys on my phone's keyboard.

              Not all Android devices have a physical keyboard (indeed, not many these days). What then?

              If they don't require keyboard, how do you control them? Very few Flash games I've played over the years did not require a keyboard.

          • Just as Flash can require a hover, HTML can also require a hover. Otherwise, why would the HTML DOM have the mouseover event and CSS have the :hover pseudoclass? It's a question not of the technology but of what navigation style the developer chose.
      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @12:45AM (#37360180) Homepage

        Troll mods, eh. There are Adobe fanbois?

        God have mercy on their heathen souls.

      • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @02:15AM (#37360448)

        Lately, I've been absolutely amazed at the amount of detail Flash games have gotten... my girlfriend plays Facebook games every now and then, and things like The Sims actually look better than their standalone counterparts - full screen native res and everything.

        The games peg the CPU, of course, but hey, it's smooth ;)

        Video playback, when it works, is also alright. Youtube's implementation works well... others... meh, often not so much. It even works well on my smartphone, so watching TV/Movies off of streaming sites at the gym is a favorite...

        Now "Flash multimedia experiences" (i.e. Flash web sites) on the other hand, are atrocious - that's something that just absolutely needs to go away - but those seem to be limited to private sites and maybe just a few businesses these days (like restaurants... what is it with restaurants and Flash?). If these go away completely and the rest stays the way it is (OK, maybe a bit better hardware acceleration for the games, so the CPU doesn't need to work as much), I'll be more or less satisfied with my experience - on a year-old smartphone and a 3-year-old subnotebook, no less!

      • Thats mostly a problem of the so called web designers who think they can do everything with flash. HTML5 wont change that you will get the same shit experience but without extra plugin.
        Flash shines in other areas, video, or real data centric uis in Flex.

      • If I had mod points, I'd mod you up.

        You know what I do when I happen upon one of those super-awesome flash sites? I navigate away as fast as possible. Because as you say - they *suck* (And that's being kind).

        Luckily, I can usually hit the back button before they finish loading the "intro" and not have to suffer through whatever it is that's about to display on my screen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The problem is not with Flash, but with how it is used and the purposes for which it is used, specifically:

        - The braindead decisions and taste of the people who designed those pieces of crap - for example, the text on Flash CAN actually be selected and copied if the developer makes it so - but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. In fact, I suspect many people use Flash mainly to prevent you from copying text and other resources.
        - The stupid thought that something designed to be used with

      • So many sites trying that kind of thing would be so much better serving users simplifying the site into something that would work with DHTML, never mind HTML5 and canvas stuff...

        Let me know when Strong Bad Emails play in an HTML environment with usable performance.

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        Can you name a single site that really does that well?

        Dofus.
        They also use Flash-derived techniques to make anime.

      • by petsounds (593538)

        Multimedia is defined by the Oxford Am. dictionary as -- "(of art, education, etc.) using more than one medium of expression or communication." It does not equate to "company website." I used multimedia as a catch-all for what Flash is good at -- merging different visual and aural elements together, whether that be a game, an art installation, content creation tool, etc. Flash has become a really good development platform for games. It's become a great way to deliver complicated A/V tools over the web -- au

    • The author adds a note at the end directly contradicting the title of his own article. It must be hard being a "journalist" these days...

      NOTE: ... This does not mean Flash is directly supported on your device, just that the media server will be able to export Flash assets as an HTML5-supporting format, for example, so you should eventually be able to access such content, but only as publishers deploy the new Adobe software.

    • The things Flash is really good at -- multimedia experiences

      That's a long-winded way to say "porn".

    • Great intro topic; lets see if we can order them:
      1. Leaving your machine open to all sorts of opportunistic malware.
      2. Attempting to see how much heat your machine can actually generate [ bonus points for 'while actually doing nothing ' ]
      3. Bringing a really crappy experience to a larger audience.

      I was working for Sun (now Snoracle) when they way dissed the macromedia/flash experience. As an employee, I thought they were being little shits since it got in the way of experiencing the really slow alte

      • Well, Adobe blames flash problems with Macs on Apple's API lacking any sort of low level access to the graphics card. Flash doesn't seem to be a source of instabilities on non-Mac PC's, nor does it seem to cause performance issues.

        On the other hand, I would have to uninstall Flash if I didn't have NoScript to keep it off when I didn't specifically turn it on.

        • Well, Adobe blames flash problems with Macs on Apple's API lacking any sort of low level access to the graphics card.

          That lack is a feature, not a bug.

        • by mevets (322601)

          Flash uses big loop style programming to poll all the conditions to take action on. This a good model for a small control system where RM analysis has been properly applied; but really sucks as a general programming model.

          There are lots of ways to make crappy code, and Adobe doesn't have the market cornered by a long margin.

        • Well, Adobe blames flash problems with Macs on Apple's API lacking any sort of low level access to the graphics card. Flash doesn't seem to be a source of instabilities on non-Mac PC's, nor does it seem to cause performance issues.

          On the other hand, I would have to uninstall Flash if I didn't have NoScript to keep it off when I didn't specifically turn it on.

          A) Yeah, that's why every Flash game existing is slower on Flash 10 than on Flash 9 - because they suddenly need a 3D graphics card to work. B) Sure, Flash never crashes on PCs. Nor will it gobble up CPU cycles And I also have a bridge in New York to sell...

    • by oji-sama (1151023)
      And what the hell is processor degradation? "without the processor degradation and battery life cost of the format in use on other devices"
  • If this is really better for video on mobile devices then will it work on Android also? And why not use it on laptops too, they can always benefit from better battery life.

  • by Tharsman (1364603) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @12:59AM (#37360256)

    Adobes only goal here is to stop the slow but steady adoption of html5 video formats. By offering this upgrade they tell their clients they no longer have to work in a transition to target the huge and growing iOS user base.

    This is good for Apple as most video services are just a server patch away from providing video content to iOs users, drastically diminishing the "it cant play flash video" bashing competitors like to use.

    Flash gaming may not be available still, but most iOS users are far from game starved. It's video content most iOS users actually complain about.

    So, good for Apple and good for Adobe. Who is it bad for? Web standards, and perhaps Android users. Adobe still wants flash to be required anywhere that it can run so it's likely they won't offer the same HTML5 video streams to Android devices. Many of the handsets out there still can't handle flash properly and the ones that do do so with heavy battery penalties.

    With this available, it's very unlikely content providers will bother pursuing web standards for the sake of low end Android handsets or users that refuse to install flash in their computers.

    It's likely that sooner or later Adobe will provide the capabilities for all clients, but I doubt they have any intentions to do it soon. I do hope im wrong though.

    PS: unsure if it's related but have been streaming blip.tv episodes of the Nostalgia Critic on my iPad all night so I guess at least they (blip.tv) already updated.

    • Apart from Flash video and Flash games, there is a third category of vector animations, which I covered in this comment [slashdot.org].
    • by sunfly (1248694)

      Who is it bad for? Web standards, and perhaps Android users.

      Flash is not a web standard, but a proprietary format owned by Adobe. The sooner it dies the faster we can move to something that is an open standard.

      This is actually only good for Adobe, as it slows the death of flash. Without this, content providers would simply send everyone html5 video. What is wrong with that?

  • by Kagetsuki (1620613) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @02:21AM (#37360460)

    Seriously, the HTML5 video tag works - just start using it. The problem here is of course dynamic streaming (and a few other things) but the thing is Flash can stream mp4 files just fine - internally it's the same stuff with just the flv container being different. Transcode your video into mp4, if Flash loads play it in Flash (or even better give the user an option), otherwise use an HTML5 fallback. If both of those cases fail direct your users to download a browser that doesn't suck or something.

    Oh, and the whole process I just outlined is something you can do easily with a variety of libraries and modules, just search for it. Oh, and cut out the whole trying to stop people from downloading video by wrapping it in 8 different concentric SWF interface wrappers - if you don't want someone downloading your video then don't put it on your website in the first place.

    • by Dwedit (232252)

      The best player for video on the internet is still embedded Windows Media Player. It's just a shell around DirectShow, but DirectShow stuff is very well optimized, especially when using good third-party codecs. Nothing else comes close. Flash video is slow as hell, and Firefox's playback of HTML 5 video is even slower, especially when it is not played at 100% size.

      So we have a 10-year old browser plugin outperforming all the newest software, and that's insane. Only goes to prove that software quality go

      • My Firefox loads gstreamer, so I have no speed issues. Try changing what player is loaded for HTML5 video or grab a player that's embeddable.

    • Rental (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday September 10, 2011 @07:17AM (#37361396) Homepage Journal

      Transcode your video into mp4

      Convert vector animation to compressed pixels and it'll become ten times bigger. See this comment [slashdot.org].

      if you don't want someone downloading your video then don't put it on your website in the first place.

      Then how would you recommend that the publisher of a video provide an electronic service with a revenue structure similar to video rental?

      • 1. I was referring to video like that on YouTube - normal video. Not vector animation.
        2. DRM like WMDRM. This is one of the cases where it's a good solution. It's already used by video rental services and you can watch the video in an actual video player at a very high resolution - whereas 1080p video drops frames and looks like crap in a Flash player.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      . The problem here is of course dynamic streaming

      I would consider eliminating dynamic bitrate selection a huge upgrade... it bites me in the ass all the time.

      Yes, I have the bandwidth for your super high-def Flash video stream... No, my phone can't play it to save it's life, the CPU power just isn't there with Flash being so nightmarishly inefficient.

      The Youtube model just works... Anybody that wants ultra-high bitrates can set it in their preferences, or per-video, and will get it. Those that want sup

      • I agree with you on dynamic bitrates, but what I meant about dynamic streaming was being able to load and play the video from a particular portion and not having to cache the entire video to play it - just a portion. This basically doesn't exist in HTML5 video with any of the players I've used, but it's not like it couldn't. In fact some players may support it and I just don't know about it.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @02:23AM (#37360470)

    This should mean that iOS devices will get much of the advantages of Flash video support, ...

    And what are those advantages, actually? As far as I can tell, the "advantage" is mainly to content producers who haven't updated their skill sets since around 2002. And these tools cost a pretty penny.

    Seriously, why bother? This probably isn't going to work for those Flash ads that seem to be 90% of the Flash usage on the web (no loss there!); and for video you can simply encode in h.264 and tell the Flash plugin to pretend it's Flash video for those browsers that can't handle h.264 (Firefox, IE 8, Chrome if Google ever actually follows through). With the proliferation of Android and iOS devices that do h.264 quite nicely, I'd think it's smarter to go that route - which is basically the opposite of the one Adobe is trying to sell here.

    • No, it's actually exactly what Adobe is trying to sell here. Read again. This is about server software serving up non-flash video to devices which do support flash, and flash to everyone else.

    • by Cyberllama (113628) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @04:15AM (#37360804)

      Erm, I meant that the other way around. Serving Flash to devices that support it, and non-flash video to those who don't. In other words, Adobe's own server software doing exactly what you suggest it should do.

      And what are those advantages, actually? As far as I can tell, the "advantage" is mainly to content producers who haven't updated their skill sets since around 2002. And these tools cost a pretty penny.

      The advantage is that HTML5 video tags do not support anything with DRM, and sadly there are many content producers who will not allow their content to be available without DRM. As a result, there is always going to be video content exclusive to Flash that iOS devices miss out on. I don't actually know how Adobe expects to get around there here (since they are effectively serving up HTML5 video in h.264), but I suspect sites that are concerned about DRM simply won't use this feature.

      P.S. I need to go to sleep.

    • for video you can simply encode in h.264

      I mentioned a drawback of that in another comment [slashdot.org].

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      Flash video is way more prevalent than that. In fact it seems ads have already adopted html5 standards to do their annoyance, but that's anecdote based off my iPad web browsing.

      Also, transitioning to web standards my re-encoding everything is not that easy of a task.

      It is indeed smarter to go pure web standards, but it's easier to just upgrade flash streaming servers.

  • by 0ld_d0g (923931) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @05:07AM (#37361000)

    But I like that they are a disruptive force in the industry. They force change in others - sometimes for the good. I think its healthy when entrenched companies are forced to change their ways. Firefox/Chrome with IE, etc. I predict that if/when Windows goes 50% market share that we'll start seeing some interesting changes in microsoft.

  • A week away from the RIM earning call, and you are spouting about the ability of the iPhone to use flash.

    I swear the lot of you are barely classified as functionally retarded, and don't realized when you are being used.

    This article should have been tossed in the bin.

    Twats.

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