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  • Writer's pictureSteve

The Resurrection of Flash

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Flash is back from the dead

The above animation was made in Adobe Animate and exported as AS3. No code though.


Some History

Flash was created by Jonathan Gay and his team at FutureWave Software in 1995. The software was initially released under the name "FutureSplash Animator," but FutureWave was acquired by Macromedia in December 1996 for $16 million and rebranded as "Macromedia Flash." Adobe Systems later acquired Macromedia in 2005 and continued to develop Flash until its end-of-life in 2020.


The original program that eventually became Flash was called "SmartSketch" and was developed by FutureWave Software. The program was later renamed "FutureSplash Animator" before being acquired by Macromedia, which ultimately became part of Adobe.


In the early days, Flash faced a lot of resistance from the web community due to its proprietary nature and slow performance on early internet connections. However, over time, Macromedia (which was later acquired by Adobe) worked to improve Flash's performance and add more features that made it more attractive to developers and designers. They also worked to build relationships with browser makers and other key players in the web community to promote Flash as a web format.


One key factor in Flash's success was the development of ActionScript, which made it possible to create more complex and interactive applications and games using the platform. Another factor was the rise of video on the web, which created a need for a reliable and efficient way to deliver video content.


Overall, it was a combination of technological innovation, marketing efforts, and partnerships with key players in the web community that helped Flash become an accepted and popular web format.


And then the party ended in 2010

Steve Jobs was the CEO of Apple, and in 2010, he wrote an open letter titled "Thoughts on Flash," in which he criticized Flash for being insecure, power-hungry, and not suitable for mobile devices. Jobs argued that HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript were better alternatives to Flash for building rich web content and that Apple's mobile devices would not support Flash. This was significant because Apple was a major player in the mobile market and had a significant influence on the direction of technology. As a result, many other companies followed Apple's lead, and support for Flash declined. This was a major factor in the decline of Flash as a technology. Link to Letter PDF.


Ruffle allows Flash content to be played in the browser using WebAssembly technology. This means that Ruffle does not rely on the Flash Player plugin that was previously required to play Flash content, which had security concerns that made it less desirable for use in the browser. With Ruffle, Flash content can be played directly in the browser without the need for a separate plugin, which makes it more secure and compatible with modern web standards.


Additionally, over the years since Steve Job's letter, most websites and services have migrated away from Flash and adopted other technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript. However, there are still many legacy Flash animations, games, and other content that have not been updated to these newer technologies. Ruffle provides a way for these older Flash files to continue to be used and played, without requiring users to install a potentially vulnerable Flash Player plugin.


Along came Mike Welsh

Mike Welsh is a software developer who created Ruffle. Welsh was inspired to create Ruffle when he learned that Adobe had announced the end-of-life for Flash, and he was concerned that a lot of valuable content would be lost. Welsh wanted to ensure that people could still enjoy Flash content even after it was no longer supported by modern browsers.


Ruffle was initially released in 2019 and has since been developed and maintained by Welsh and a small team of contributors. It uses WebAssembly to convert Flash content into a format that modern browsers can understand and display. This conversion process is done entirely in the browser, so there is no need for users to install any additional software or plugins.


Ruffle supports a wide range of Flash content, including ActionScript 2 and a limited subset of ActionScript 3. Welsh continues to work on improving Ruffle's functionality and compatibility with different types of Flash content. Overall, Ruffle has been well-received by the community and has been seen as a valuable tool for preserving old Flash content for future generations.


Ruffle gained popularity largely through word of mouth and online communities discussing the need for a solution to play Flash content without relying on Adobe's Flash Player. The project was also covered by various tech news outlets and websites, such as The Verge, ZDNet, and TechRepublic, which helped to spread awareness and interest in Ruffle. Additionally, Ruffle's development is open-source and hosted on GitHub, which allows developers and enthusiasts to follow its progress and contribute to its development.


The future after 2023

Get ready to bring back the glory days of Flash animation! Animators, rejoice! No more struggling with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to create animations for the web. With Ruffle, we can easily create beautiful, interactive, and engaging animations with ease and simplicity. No need to learn a whole new coding language or interface, just create your animation in Flash and let Ruffle do the rest. Say goodbye to the clunky, cumbersome HTML5 and JavaScript code, and say hi to the smooth, seamless experience of Flash animation.


Some of my examples of AS2 Flash.


AS3 creates a warning and all Animate files use AS3. THIS IS FLASH BELOW. DO YOU HAVE A PLUGIN? NO. Yet it plays, right?

Windermere Logo

Mouse over logo below for animated colors fly outs.


Resize in WIX window test below for mobile.

Code below with working version. For normal embed see code further below.

<script>
    window.RufflePlayer = window.RufflePlayer || {};

   window.RufflePlayer.config = {
	"autoplay": "on",
	"splashScreen": "false",
	"unmuteOverlay": "hidden",
	"wmode":"transparent", // removes background color
	};

    window.addEventListener("load", (event) => {
        const ruffle = window.RufflePlayer.newest();
        const player = ruffle.createPlayer();
        const container = document.getElementById("container");
        container.appendChild(player);
        player.load("your-movie.swf");

        function resizePlayer() {
            var width = container.offsetWidth;
            var height = container.offsetHeight;
            player.style.width = width + "px";
            player.style.height = height + "px";
        }

        window.addEventListener("resize", resizePlayer);
        resizePlayer();
    });
</script>
<script src="https://unpkg.com/@ruffle-rs/ruffle"></script>
<div id="container" style="width: 100%;"></div>


Full webpage embed code outside of WIX platform (Normal HTML site)

Copy and paste into index.html page and change the swf file name to yours. AS2 Flash will play with no buttons or logos first. AS3 files, if they work, will display a play button.


<html> 
<head> 
<script src="https://unpkg.com/@ruffle-rs/ruffle"></script> 
<style>
html, body {
  margin:0px;
}
</style>
</head> 
<body> 
<script>     
window.RufflePlayer = window.RufflePlayer || {}; 
//Below code forces autoplay, no splashscreen and allows sound 

window.RufflePlayer.config = { 
"autoplay": "on","splashScreen": false,"unmuteOverlay": "hidden","quality": "medium" }; 
// End custom configuration code above     
window.addEventListener("load", (event) => {         
const ruffle = window.RufflePlayer.newest();         
const player = ruffle.createPlayer();         
const container = document.getElementById("container");         
container.appendChild(player);         
player.load("index-2023.swf"); 
player.style.width = "100%";
player.style.height = "100%";   
}); 
</script> 
<div id="container"></div> 
</body> 
</html>


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