Shumway looks to replace Flash with JavaScript

Mozilla has launched a project that aims to create a JavaScript-backed implementation of Flash's SWF format.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Chalk another one up to Atwood's Law — which states that any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript — as Mozilla Research launches Project Shumway.

By offering a JavaScript and HTML implementation, Shumway is able to render SWF files on devices where Flash is not available. Even though Flash is being increasingly replaced by HTML5, there is still a large amount of legacy Flash content on the web.

A live demo is up to give users a taste of the experience that Shumway offers — if their browser is modern enough to handle it.

Flash gaming in JavaScript thanks to Shumway. (Screenshot by Chris Duckett/ZDNet)

In tests we ran, performance was fine on desktop versions of Firefox and Chrome — but on a Samsung Galaxy S II, the latest Firefox beta could only get 4 frames per second in live demo, and Chrome could only handle 1 frame per second. Clearly, a bit more work needs to happen before Shumway is usable on the type of mobile devices where this project would be useful.

Users can download a beta build of Firefox and install a Shumway extension to test Shumway as the primary SWF renderer.

As with any project in its early stages, users are warned that Shumway is "very experimental, is missing features, contains many defects, and is evolving rapidly."

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