Beg, Borrow or Steal: The Art of Flashing Without Flashing

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Information about Beg, Borrow or Steal: The Art of Flashing Without Flashing

Published on October 28, 2008

Author: spjwebster



HTML5 is awesome. Well, it will be awesome when it\'s finally ready. Probably.

The bad news is that by the time the W3C have finished monkeying with HTML5, I\'ll probably have given up on the web as a whole and taken up meat goat farming.

The good news (for you, me and the goats) is that there\'s no need to wait for a lot of the functionality that HTML5 promises; we can start using them right now. In this session I\'m going to show you how you can steal these features from the Flash Player and use them in your standards-based sites or applications, without even a sniff of Flash on the page.

Beg, Borrow or Steal The Art of Flashing without Flashing

Who am I?

I am a blogger

I am an author

I am a Yahoo! Senior Front-End Engineer on the Front-End Architecture team Catalyst for this talk - standards vs. Flash.

I am an idiot

I am misleading

This session should have been...

HTML5 Features you want desperately and can use TODAY! Based on Ian Hickson’s Google presentation

So what’s wrong with HTML5?

Lots of nice features Video and audio support Push-technology (Web Sockets) Many other great features

Not ready until 2022 2022 date taken from WHATWG roadmap Some HTML5 features supported in bleeding-edge nightly build browsers Still won’t be suitable for general use for a good few years

But you don’t have to wait that long

You can borrow features from the Flash Player

How does this all work?

How does this work? HTML HTML lives in browser-land Limited in functionality by the browser’s capabilities

How does this work? SWF HTML SWF playing in Flash Player has access to advanced features How can we get the two to communicate?

How does this work? SWF HTML JavaScript JavaScript is can interact with HTML/DOM

How does this work? Text SWF HTML JavaScript We need to find something to communicate between JS and SWF

How does this work? Text SWF HTML alInt erface Extern class JavaScript The ExternalInterface class provides a Flash-to-JS bridge Available since Flash Player 8

How does this work? Invis ible Flash SWF HTML alInt erface Extern class JavaScript Now the Flash content doesn’t even have to be visible on the page. Show ’01 ExternalInterface’ demo

Great, so what can we do with it?

Video playback In HTML5 this is implemented by the <video> element YouTube etc. have been using Flash for video for years Use out-of-the-box solution like JW FLV Media Player

Audio playback In HTML5 this is implemented by the <audio> element Latest WebKit nightly also has Audio JS class for pure JS audio Scott Schiller’s SoundManager library uses Flash to play JS-controlled audio

Multiple file upload Part of Web Forms, but missing in HTML5 spec Flash-based solutions include SWFUpload and YUI Uploader Flash Player 10 introduces clickjacking security restriction that means file browse dialog can only be invoked by a click on the Flash movie itself (not through ExternalInterface) YUI Uploader allows creation of transparent overlay on links to get around this Used on the current Flickr Web Upload page

Cross-frame communication HTML5 introduces window.postMessage method and ‘message’ event Flash allows LocalConnection objects to communicate Using LocalConnections in conjunction with ExternalInterface allows HTML5-like functionality NOW Show ’05 Cross Frame Comms’ example and code

Offline storage HTML5 introduces localStorage object and methods Different to cookies - not sent to/from the server Flash has has Local Shared Object for client-side data storage, so it’s easy to build emulation layer Show ’06 Offline Storage’ example and code

Socket-based communication Client side, comet is a mess of browser hacks - a virtual house of cards HTML5 introduces Web Sockets for bidirectional communication Flash has both XML and raw (byte-based) socket support Show ’07 Sockets’ example and code

Thank you!

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