swiffy logo Google releases tool to convert SWF files into HTML5 compatible content

When you've got certain OEMs making sure that their bestselling products are designed not to play nice with the current online standard known as Flash, what is a socially responsible corporation to do to ensure that users will still be able to enjoy much of the web's beauty? Simple: release a tool which converts the offending code into nice HTML5-compatible instructions. Which is exactly what Google's new Swiffy tool is all about.

Read on to find out more about Swiffy…

Pundits may claim that Flash is well on its way to becoming irrelevent soon while pointing to the introduction of the new HTML5 standard as the basis for their convictions, but the truth of the matter is that, despite its capabilities and potential, it will still take some time before the world is ready to migrate to a web that is powered purely by HTML5. Until then, there is little to be gained from turning one's back on well-established standards which are widely used in the dissemination of online content today, such as Adobe's Flash platform.

However, if for some reason you have chosen to drop Flash completely in your daily web-browsing needs, fret not. Google has, in its typical "Don't be evil" fashion, released a tool which allows users to convert SWF files into viewable content written in HTML5 code so that they can continue to enjoy their online experience without having to feel left out over their decision to do so.

swiffy Google releases tool to convert SWF files into HTML5 compatible content

This tool, which is known as Swiffy, has been described by Google as one that as originally built by an intern by the name of Pieter Senster as a means to explore how the company could find a way to get Flash animations working on devices which do not support the standard. Apparently, Google was so impressed by Senster's efforts that the company decided to not only hire him as a full-time staff, but also assembled a team to commence work on the project, which resulted in the birth of the Swiffy tool that is now currently available for use as a Google Labs feature.

For those who are wondering how Swiffy works, here's how it is done as described by Google's Marcel Gorden, who is also the product manager for the tool:

Swiffy uses a compact JSON representation of the animation, which is rendered using SVG and a bit of HTML5 and CSS3. ActionScript 2.0 is also present in the JSON object, and is interpreted in JavaScript in the browser. This representation makes the Swiffy animations almost as compact as the original SWF files.

That being said, we should probably point out that Swiffy does not play very nice with Internet Explorer, as the tool insists that only a WebKit-based browser will be capable of displaying the results of the conversion accurately. Still, the introduction of such a tool will definitely be good news for users who want to view Flash animations on devices that do not support Adobe's Flash platform.

Source: Swiffy, Google Code Blog