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Shumway: Mozilla Does An Open-Source SWF Runtime

Mozilla

Published on 14 November 2012 04:58 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Mozilla
22 Comments

Mozilla announced Shumway this week, a new research project that seeks to create an open SWF (Adobe Flash) run-time environment to make Flash more open and for exposing SWF capabilities to platforms where the Adobe file-format wasn't backed by an official Flash Player.

Shumway is still very experimental and not working for all SWF content, but it's moving along and evolving rapidly. Shumway should be especially interesting for mobile devices where Flash Player support tends to be lacking. The Shumway implementation comes down to five components: Core, AVM1, AVM2, Browser Integration, and Testing/Demos.

The Shumway Core is made up of the file-format parser, rasterizer, and event system. AVM1 is a JavaScript interpreter for ActionScript versions one and two Bytecode, and AVM2 is a JavaScript interpreter and Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler for ActionScript 3 Bytecode.

Details on Mozilla Shumway were announced in this Mozilla Research blog post. The code is currently being hosted on GitHub where it's described as, "Shumway is an HTML5 technology experiment that explores building a faithful and efficient renderer for the SWF file format without native code assistance. Shumway is community-driven and supported by Mozilla. Our goal is to create a general-purpose, web standards-based platform for parsing and rendering SWFs. Integration with Firefox is a possibility if the experiment proves successful."

This non-native implementation is what differentiates Shumway from the other open-source SWF / Flash Player projects like Gnash and Lightspark.

Shumway can be built as a JavaScript extension to Mozilla Firefox on versions 18 and later of the popular open-source web-browser. Shumway might be ultimately integrated into Firefox if the project moves along enough and reaches a stable point.

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