Smokescreen alternative to Flash

Although Adobe’s Flash technology is still incredibly popular among website designers it is facing a bleak future as developers move to newer HTML5-based media formats. On top of that Apple’s Steve Jobs has declared Flash a complete no-go on any future iPhone and iPad products.

Which leaves Adobe in a difficult position. Flash will continue to live on through the many millions of websites that already use it but new websites are likely to look for alternatives to ensure that they are compatible with as wide a range of devices as possible.

There are already a number of Flash alternatives available to users, including the promising open source Lightspark and Gnash players.

The most interesting alternative, however, is not a replacement Flash player but a separate technology that converts existing Flash content into HTML5 and Javascript, on the fly.

Called Smokescreen, it is open source software and it does away entirely with the need for a Flash plugin to play Flash content. Instead of simply playing Flash content, Smokescreen converts the content into a combination of HTML, CSS and Javascript. The resulting content can be played on devices such as the iPad which don’t support Flash.

Smokescreen reads the Flash binaries, decompresses them, extracts the video, audio and image components and recomposes them as animated SVGs, or scalable vector graphics. SVGs can be viewed on most modern browsers.

According to the developers Smokescreen can be used by developers for any type of Flash content such as banner advertising and other animated content.

The advantage of Smokescreen over other alternatives is that users don’t require a plugin to view the content. And yet, developers can still create the content in Flash and convert it to HTML5/Javascript. For developers this means that they don’t need to learn new skills to produce the same content.

Smokescreen demonstrations can be viewed on the Smokescreen site.

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Smokescreen alternative to Flash