Adobe Contributes Flash Script to Mozilla

The Mozilla Foundation, backer of the Firefox browser, will use code from Adobe to make the Flash player more flexible and interoperable with other Web scripting tools, Adobe announced this week.

Mozilla’s use of ActionScript Virtual Machine code, the scripting engine of Adobe’s popular Flash Player, is expected to ease JavaScript functionality in Firefox and give developers more flexibility in their implementation of Flash and other Internet technologies.

Adobe’s announcement was made at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

“It’s a big win for the [user] community,” Burton Group Senior Analyst Richard Monson-Haefel told LinuxInsider. “It helps ensure more consistent use of JavaScript.”

Big Code Benefactor

Following last month’s release of the long-awaited Linux version of Flash Player Version 9, Adobe’s move to open the ActionScript code is the Mozilla Foundation’s biggest contribution to date, said Mozilla’s CTO Brendan Eich, who is also the creator of JavaScript.

With a new, open source project dubbed “Tamarin” — to be hosted by Mozilla — developers will work on a standards-based approach for creating rich Internet applications, the organizations said.

Tamarin will implement the final version of ECMAScript Edition 4, to be used by Mozilla and its SpiderMonkey core JavaScript engine in Firefox.

“This is a major milestone in bringing together the broader HTML and Flash development communities around a common language, and empowering the creation of even more innovative applications in the Web 2.0 world,” said Adobe Senior Vice President and Chief Software Architect Kevin Lynch.

Open Invite

The opening of Adobe’s ActionScript code addresses some of the problems surrounding the Flash scripting software, which some developers have avoided because it is a proprietary platform, Monson-Haefel said.

Crediting the company with making “a really smart move,” he noted that the availability of the code will encourage Ajax programming and expand Flash development, as well as allow the further development of Adobe’s virtual machine technology.

“It actually opens up their platform to developers who may have otherwise avoided it because of the word ActionScript,” remarked Monson-Haefel.

Standard Rich Media

Adobe’s move makes sense on a number of levels, and it gives Firefox users the comfort of rich-clientinterface capability without worry, Interarbor Solutions Principal Analyst Dana Gardner told LinuxInsider.

Adobe’s effort to boost volume distribution of Flash will benefit from the increased development of its technology, as well as bolstered relations with free and open source software communities, said Gardner. In the long term, the ActionScript code contribution could lead to an increasingly standardized approach to rich media on the Web.

“It’s a larger strategic question — whether this kicks off a larger grouping of rich Internet functionality,” he said. “It could be quite interesting now that Firefox has got some significant market share.”

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