JavaFX 2.0/Flash 3D: WebKit/HTML5 like

Posted: March 2, 2011 in IT/Dev
Tags: , ,

While Adobe is trying (or pretends to in order to keep its user base) to save Flash by announcing upcoming support for harware accelerated 3D (while still migrating its core engine to HTML5), Oracle presents expected new features in next Java FX 2.0 :

Bindings APIs, Sequence, Observable List, and Observable Map APIs, Hardware Accelerated Graphics, High Performance Animated Transitions, CSS Animations, WebView Scene Graph Node, Low Latency Audio, Full Screen Video, etc.

As with Adobe, it is then all about catching up with WebKit / HTML5 (CSS Effects, tags audio et video, Canvas, WebGL), Native Host/Cappuccino and Cocoa (WebView, bindings). We may then ask about justification for two additional proprietary implementations of these features, since WebKit has become the defacto standard (and was the source of inspiration for the specification), and Adobe still started some months ago to migrate Flash’s low level layers to these foundations.

Even Google finally discontinued O3D and focused to WebGL.

All these UI-fancy came from iPhone (UIKit based on Core Animation, WebKit’s CSS Effects based on Core-Animation – the iPhone was the first smartphone to provide hardware accelerated transitions/transforms).

Finally, as I previously said, all is about Core Animation framework, first demonstrated by Scott Forstall during Apple’s WWDC2006 (August, 7).

This is probably the reason why Scott is commonly being seen as next Apple’s leader (is more and more present, notably in iPad2’s presentation video, since Jonhatan Ive is willing to go back to England – and Apple refused remote work, probably for security reasons).

  1. John Dowdell says:

    ? You’re saying that Player is being rebuilt atop WebKit? That’s a new one on me, care to substantiate it?


    • Hi John,

      In fact I was saying/supposing (sorry if I’m wrong, I just noticed you work at Adobe so you are obviously more aware than me !) that Flash engine’s lower layers are being rewritten to use HTML5 drawing capabilities (Canvas, CSS animations, and perhaps WebGL).
      So Adobe may be preparing for both scenarios : next proprietary Flash plugin, and a new browser-specific plugin (for example a Safari plugin for this browser, etc.) based on HTML5 features, that could read Flash format without requiring a rewrite/convert (that is a fallback).

      You have to admit that Adobe first released WebKit based extensions development tool for Creative Suite, then Edge HTML5 animation designer, and recently LiveCycle for non Flash clients (including HTML5 clients, iPhone, etc.)

      At least Google ported O3D to WebGL :

      I really think that Adobe provides great design tools and has a strong/long experience in user interfaces. These won’t be lost during the HTML5 transition, in the same way Microsoft is migrating Silverlight to HTML5.

      For me Adobe, Apple and Microsoft have strong resources thanks to their long experience, whereas Google is amateurish (does not care to provide completed products – they prefer releasing beta versions for free).
      I remember early 90’s, when Adobe invented many user interface concepts (on mac’s System 6/7) that we are still using, that was even before Windows 3.

  2. John Dowdell says:

    Hi, thanks for the followup. Player is native-code. AIR does include WebKit for creating AJAX apps.

    Adobe’s also doing work to make it easier for content creators to publish to various formats (see “Wallaby”, eg), and hopefully submitting WebKit improvements as well.

    Hmm, maybe one other way this confusion could have arisen was with Player’s early adoption of CoreAnimation in recent Safari versions:

    Summary: Player is native-code… orthogonal to the flavors of WebKit runtimes.


  3. Hi, thanks also for your answer.

    In fat I was aware about Flash 10.1 using Core Animation on OSX to speed up 2D rendering (in the same way it uses Direct2D on Windows) :

    I mentioned Core Animation as the basis for iPhone UI paradigms and current focus to animating from all followers companies (Microsoft in Windows, Sun/Oracle in JavaFX 2.0, etc.) However I never said it had to do with Flash migrating to HTML5. And I obviously know that Flash plugin is full native.

    You may be right, a Flash embeded object that uses native drawing APIs found on each platform (that are hardware accelerated) is about the same as a Canvas tag using the same native APIs. The DOM is only used to attach these complex object, and not about layout (all rich desktop frameworks use a single html page as bootstrap).

    I may read again Cappuccino’s Window Platform bridge. However CP UI objects wrap a DOM node each, while Flash relies on a single embeded object, and is then even farther from document paradigm (most people admit HTML5 should never have been named such that, as most of its features – expect those related to documents like sections, etc. – aren’t document oriented).

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