Adobe Launches Flash-to-HTML5 Conversion Tool

OREM, Utah — Adobe Systems has released a free experimental Flash-to-HTML 5 conversion tool that allows users to convert Flash Professional output (FLA files) to HTML5 via a simple drag and drop.

Called “Wallaby," the software is a cross-platform Adobe AIR application from Adobe Labs that can be edited using any text editor or authoring tool like Dreamweaver.

Wallaby’s main thrust is for developing simple banner ads and other animation.

The product reportedly made its first appearance last fall at Adobe's Max 2010 developer conference and now at the FITC Flash show in Amsterdam.

"We are making this available free on Adobe Labs as experimental technology; it's something we hope to continue to iterate and get feedback on from customers," said Tom Barclay, senior product manager for Flash Professional.

He added, "I'm interested in how useful this output is, what people intend to use it for, and whether this is something we should be supporting longer term in Flash Professional as another output option or publish setting."

The Apple community is particularly interested in the release because it would make some content previously unavailable on the iOS platform viewable on the iPad and iPhone. Apple has resisted supporting Flash on its iOS devices claiming that Adobe’s technology is vulnerable to hacking, uses too much battery life and crashes too often.

But Adobe has countered Apple’s criticisms and said the ban is overly restrictive and hurts users and software developers.

Despite the positive buzz, Wallaby has limitations.

Barclay pointed out that not all elements from the Flash files will translate into HTML5. Although users get the benefit of improved design and motion graphic animations, blend modes and filters along with audio, video and ActionScript are not supported in the translation.

Adobe explained that the beta version of Wallaby is simply a starting point that includes a combination of HTML, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and CSS.

Wallaby does supports Flash Professional features that include vector art and images, classic text, keyframes, MovieClips and graphics, classic, motion, shape tweens, rollover buttons and instance names.

The software doesn’t support Flash Professional filters (except simple alpha), blend modes, dynamic masks, some TLF (Text Layout Framework) text, 3D transforms and 3D tween, audio and video and ActionScript.

For more sophisticated development Barclay advised that content be brought into Dreamweaver and add interactivity using JavaScript and JQuery.

Wallaby has reportedly been tested mostly in WebKit-based browsers such as Safari and Chrome and some conversions in Firefox, Android and Opera browsers, but the latter versions are not yet available.

Although not confirmed, speculation is that Wallaby will be added to a future versions of Flash Professional.